Dance has become a thriving sport for all ages of people across Scotland with inspiration coming in various forms across television and the media. Now, the OSS is training its research spotlight on the role community dance is playing in supporting physical and mental health in teenage girls.
In partnership with Highlife Highland and the University of Highlands and Islands, we will investigate how a ‘Movers and Shakers’ dance programme is seeking to tackle mental health challenges, social exclusion and inactivity in girls in the north of Scotland.
This initiative uses dance leadership courses to improve girls’ mental wellbeing and confidence, working with girls enjoying little sport activity and helping them develop skills to become community leaders. The programme has been one of the most popular across Highlife Highland’s portfolio and the leisure trust and Highland Council are keen to explore how and where the programme supports children and young people, how it can be improved, and how it can be scaled up and replicated across the Highlands and Scotland.
This research is part of the OSS’ focus on the barriers to sport activity and challenges faced by children and young people, with a particular focus on girls and women, and people with disabiliities and from deprived backgrounds. Research tells us that the loss of sport and physical activity from the daily and weekly life of a child through teenage years has a long-term physical and mental health impact. Conversely, the ability to take part in fun activity on a regular basis through the transition from childhood into adulthood has a significant immediate and long-term impact on the physical and mental health and wellbeing, not only of the person themselves but also those around them. If sport activity has been part of that transition it is far more likely that a person will go on to enjoy an active lifestyle.