Active Scotland Delivery Plan

Plan setting out actions that we and our partners are undertaking, working together to encourage and support people in Scotland to be more active, more often.

Outcome 1: We encourage and enable the inactive to be more active

Alongside the many benefits of physical activity for both physical and mental health, physical inactivity has serious consequences for individual health and wellbeing and on the development of children, resulting in significant costs to society and to the NHS. With a range of factors contributing to more sedentary lifestyles, and with particular challenges in supporting people living with other health problems to be more active, co-ordinated action focussed on encouraging and enabling the inactive to be more active is more important than ever.

It is important to recognise the extent of the challenge physical inactivity poses on a global scale, and why this is a priority for the World Health Organization and others. There are no easy answers or quick fixes, and the consensus is that a wide range of actions involving multiple partners is essential to achieving results on the scale required.

The Scottish Government and a wide range of partners have focussed efforts on identifying those at most risk of becoming physically inactive, and providing targeted support to enable those groups to overcome the barriers to taking part in physical activity and sport, and develop the necessary underpinning skills.

We are therefore seeking to create a culture in which physical activity is the norm, which we are working to achieve through a focus on increasing opportunities for active play, PE in schools and Active Schools. This also means using the power of sport to inspire and motivate, through initiatives like Football Fans in Training [4] , as well as supporting those who work with people facing particular challenges in being active, such as older people living within care settings. More widely, all partners will work to increase knowledge and awareness of the benefits of sport and physical activity.

Key Achievements

  • The Scottish Government's 'Programme for Government 2017-18' [5] contained a commitment that Scotland become the first 'Daily Mile Nation'. Over 800 primary schools regularly take part in the Daily Mile, with a growing number of secondary schools, further and higher education institutions signing up. Public sector organisations as well as private sector businesses are also rolling out their programmes amongst their staff.
  • We published a National Walking Strategy [6] in 2014 and the National Walking Strategy Action Plan [7] in 2016. Both aim to create a culture of walking, develop better walking environments and support easy, convenient independent mobility for everyone. This work is managed and promoted by Paths for All on behalf of the Scottish Government. Walking participation has risen from 57 % in 2011 to 67% in 2016.
  • We have established the Women and Girls in Sport Advisory Board to drive female sports participation.
  • We have put in place record investment in Active Travel, doubling funding to £80 million in 2018-19.

Our Actions

1. We will encourage and support access to enjoyable, free, accessible and social physical activity and sport by:

  • Ensuring that Scotland becomes the first 'Daily Mile Nation', with roll out to nurseries, schools, colleges, universities and workplaces across the country (Active Scotland);
  • Supporting Paths for All to deliver our National Walking Strategy Action Plan, which champions walking and highlights its benefits as well as coordinating action across organisations, sectors and disciplines to ensure that activities are complementary and mutually supportive (Active Scotland).

2. We will promote and increase understanding of the many ways everyone can participate in sport and physical activity through a range of communication activity including:

  • Facilitating the work of the Women and Girls in Sport Advisory Board in its endeavour to challenge and recommend what more Scotland can do to provide the culture change necessary for women and girls to have opportunities and feel empowered to be physically active and stay physically active throughout life (Active Scotland);
  • Driving forward with the Women and Girls in Sport Advisory Board the importance of the visibility of role models from different walks of life, from local to performance internationally, for women and girls at every stage of life no matter their aspirations (Active Scotland);
  • Raising awareness of the importance of physical activity in delaying the onset of frailty through our 'Take the Balance Challenge' and the '400 yard challenge' campaigns (Scottish Government Allied Health Professional Unit);
  • Providing more people from under-represented groups with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and reap the physical and mental health benefits of physical exercise and contact with nature, through co-ordinated efforts involving those with a role in promoting outdoor activities or who own or manage land (Scottish Natural Heritage);
  • Develop the concept of Our Natural Health Service to promote common messages on the benefits of physical activity in the outdoors (Scottish Natural Heritage);
  • Ensuring that the promotion of the benefits of physical activity and sport is a feature of appropriate future Scottish Government marketing strategies (Active Scotland).

3. We will increase active travel and recreational walking and cycling by:

  • Using our Smarter Choices Smarter Places initiative and our other behaviour change programmes (Energy Saving Trust, Cycling Scotland, Sustrans, Cycling UK) to encourage less use of cars and more journeys by foot and pedal cycle, including those as a multi modal public transport journey. This will include programmes to enable older people to enjoy travelling more actively (Transport Scotland);
  • Increasing our investment in active travel infrastructure to £80 million in 2018-19 to make our towns and cities friendlier and safer spaces for pedestrians and cyclists (Transport Scotland);
  • Expanding the Health Walks programme, delivered by Paths for All, to increase effectiveness and provide targeted support to those who need additional help to become active, including those with long term conditions such as cancer and dementia (Active Scotland);
  • Encouraging social prescribing initiatives which refer patients from the NHS to community-based interventions to support increased physical activity and healthy weight in line with the ambitions of Realistic Medicine (Active Scotland and NHS Scotland).

4. We will address barriers faced by those groups at risk of inactivity by:

  • Engaging with girls and young women to encourage leadership and participation in sport and physical activity through our Active Girls programme including addressing issues around body image and confidence (sportscotland);
  • Engaging with children and young people who face barriers to participation to support their inclusion in activity through our Active Schools programme [8] (sportscotland);
  • Encouraging and supporting clubs and communities to engage people who are at risk of inactivity through Community Sport Hubs, Sports Governing Bodies, Regional Development Posts and Direct Club Investment (sportscotland);
  • Supporting opportunities for sporting participation and physical activity for people with learning disabilities and autism, through the Keys to Life strategy and the Scottish Strategy for Autism (Learning Disabilities team, Scottish Government).

5. We will continue to support the delivery and development of healthy living interventions as a treatment through the NHS and the third sector, such as the innovative Football Fans in Training programme [9] which supports football fans to lose weight, have a healthier lifestyle, and get fitter (Active Scotland).


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