Changing Lives with Community Strides

27th August 2019

In November 2018, jogscotland was delighted, along with our partners SAMH, to receive funding from the Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity Fund to set up the Community Strides project. The aim is to increase the number of people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities benefitting from jogscotland’s programme of fun, friendly jogging groups. Since then, jogscotland’s two Community Strides Coordinators, Laura Kirkland and Andrea Gavin, have been working hard to help people from BME backgrounds get active. We asked them to tell us more about what’s been happening.


“I’ve been working with the team at Dundee International Women’s Centre (DIWC) to establish a running class at the centre. I’ve been going along to the centre regularly to learn more about the needs of DIWC and get to know the women who come along. DIWC have a variety of classes on offer and they each promote mental wellbeing, supporting the women to interact with each other and improve their confidence and self-esteem. Establishing a running class as part of the fitness and wellbeing groups offered at the centre seemed like a great opportunity.

“I held taster sessions first, with simple exercise routines and discussions. We started indoors and slowly built up confidence within the class to venture out on to the surrounding streets for a jog. For many of the women taking part, it was the first time they had exercised in public. It was a big leap for many of them, which has taken courage and a sense of adventure, but around 15 women are now active in the newly established running class, and they’re loving it. One participant said to me she feels so much more energized after running and it clears her head. Another lady said she always thought running was for thin people and not someone like her. It’s brilliant to be able to show people that getting active can be for anyone.”


“I’ve been working with Shettleston Harriers, an athletics club based in the East End of Glasgow, an area with a diverse population which is reflected in the club membership. I’m delighted to say that Shettleston FIT Club is now up and running – a jog group with six new jog leaders, aiming to be inclusive to everyone in the local area. We’ve also linked in with a new running group, The Charter International Run Crew. They meet at Tollcross International Swimming Centre, run through Tollcross Park and then meet back at The Charter afterwards for a cuppa and a chat. The group supports everyone from different communities and circumstances, including those who are asylum seekers/refugees.

“In Edinburgh I’ve been working with the Saheylia hub based in Leith, a wellbeing centre that supports women from BME communities. The women are taking part in indoor sessions based on games and drills. We’ve also included some mindfulness breathing activities into our sessions, to explore the link between positive mental wellbeing and physical activity. It’s been really rewarding to hear the small and large ways that the women feel getting active has benefited them. One told me her back had been so sore the morning of the session but felt much better afterwards, and little things like that can make a real difference to someone’s wellbeing. Another lady told me that the sessions made her feel better for days afterwards. It’s so good to be able to give people the tools to make a lasting difference to their life like that.”

  • jogscotland is the nation’s recreational running network, with more than 450 supportive, sociable jog groups – complete beginners welcome! Find out more at
  • Changing Lives Through Physical Activity and Sport is a fund from The Robertson Trust, Scottish Government, sportscotland, and Spirit of 2012.