According to former jogscotland Communications Officer Kirsty Anderson,
Junior jogscotland uses fun, running-based games to get children on the
move. “It’s not about making them run 10 laps. They get movement and
athletic games, the kind of games their grandparents would have played,
which are fun and help to build general fitness.
“As they get fit, the children can join their local athletics clubs and feed into the elite system, but those who do not want to follow that route can continue to exercise with jogscotland groups.”
The jogscotland programme is part of scottishathletics, the regional body of the national athletics federation, UK Athletics. The programme encourages running/jogging groups by providing advice through its website www.jogscotland.org.uk, qualifying training leaders and staging a series of 5km challenge events in different locations.
The Junior jogscotland programme, which is sponsored by a national grocery chain, is currently delivered at the local level by more than 800 schools, youth groups, athletics clubs and other recognised organisations. It is now established in all but two regions of Scotland, with more than 25,000 children signed up so far. Workshops and resource packs are made available to local training leaders from the participating organisations.
“The idea of a recreational running programme initially met with some fears on the part of the clubs that elite-level athletics would be neglected,” says Anderson. “This has not proved to the case and the benefits for the clubs of increased numbers of kids are now being clearly seen.”
Establishing jogscotland was a key priority for the Scottish Government, which wanted to use the programme to improve general health in the country. Membership is at three levels – joining is free but members can purchase additional services through an annual fee. In the longer-term, the aim is to make it self-funding through sponsorship and member contributions.
Anderson says that an important success factor has been support from local authorities and sponsors. Her advice to others planning a similar programme is to prepare carefully to ensure the organisers are ready for the high volume of work involved to ensure the many demands of the customer groups can be met.
|Target Group:||Children 3 to 12 years old|
|Participants in 2008:||25,000|
|Venues:||More than 800|
|Support: ||Scottish Government, Sport Scotland, local authorities, local sponsors |