Irvine youngsters are using the power of sport to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of others.

Declan MacDougall and Jamie MacDougall have formed part of a 20-strong group of wellbeing ambassadors for the last six months as part of an initiative led by Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) which has been created with £61,205 from the Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity fund.

After listening to young people’s views on mental health, they designed bespoke workshops and have helped other young people realise that there are times when they will have low levels of mental health and wellbeing.

Declan said: “It’s a great programme that helps build confidence and opens doors for anyone who is needing any help. It’s been great to help raise awareness about mental health and wellbeing and I am delighted to be a part of the project.”

The joint programme is among 17 projects to benefit from the £1m fund with the aim of changing lives and creating a more inclusive and healthier nation.

The SSF and SAMH project has promoted positive mental health for young people and has tried to address the stigma and discrimination felt by those with mental health problems.

During the project the ambassadors have already delivered mental health and wellbeing focussed workshops to over 1,000 young people for organisations such as Basketball Scotland, Scottish Disability Sport, sportscotland and an NHS Glasgow East workshop is planned for November. They also ran sessions at the Sports, Fitness and Nutrition Expo in Glasgow this month.

Chief executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said: “We see time and again that sport has the power to change lives and being physically active is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health.

Robert Nesbitt, SAMH head of physical activity, said: “Being active isn’t just good for our physical health; it also has a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

“Young leaders have a really powerful role to play in starting mental health conversations across the country.”