A PROGRAM has helped more than 300 children and young people across Gloucestershire who are struggling with their mental health get involved in a new sport.

The program is called Activity on Referral and was launched by the Active Gloucestershire charity.

This scheme is running for its third consecutive year and aims to support the mental health of young people through community-based activities. 

It provides young people with access to a diverse range of activities that foster social connection and many opportunities to develop resilience.

In the program Gloucestershire’s Integrated Care Board funds the first 12 weeks of activity.

After this period, participants may choose to continue with the activity provider and become a paying member.

A spokesperson for Active Gloucestershire said: "Activity on Referral recognises physical activity as one of the five pillars of wellbeing. 

"Young people are at the heart of what we do and what matters to them shapes the activity they get to try out.

"Referrals come from many different professionals working with children and young people; schools, Young Minds Matter, social prescribing link workers and other voluntary community sector organisations.

"So far 320 children and young people have been referred into the program and 74% have completed their referral."

Lisa Kankowski, children’s and young people’s mental health lead at Active Gloucestershire, said: “Supporting young people who are struggling with their mental health to access these opportunities and feel the benefits of physical activity on their health and wellbeing is very meaningful work.’’

Amin Khan from Truth Boxing Club, which is situated in Westgate Street in Gloucester, also recognised the positive impacts of this program.

He said: “You see the young people change over time.

"You see their confidence improve, their body language changes, they change as people.

"It’s just really rewarding to see the changes in them.”

For more information about this program visit wecanmove.net/Activity-on-Referral