A LIVE Borders programme has seen engagement rise to pre-coronavirus levels for the first time since 2020.

The Active Schools programme, run by Live Borders, supports children and young people to be "healthier, happier and stronger" through participation in a range of extracurricular activities, sports competitions, festivals and events.

The programme's team at the leisure and culture charity has seen last term's performance reach levels not reached since the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Live Borders' figures 5,751 children and young people from P1-S6 engaged in Active Schools activities (equal to 39 per cent of the school roll), marking a six per cent rise (800 children) from the same period in 2022. 

The Live Borders Active Schools team have also celebrated breaking an annual average in just one term. The programme's annual national average for 2022/23 was 38 per cent - the same has been achieved in the last term.

Graeme Murdoch, head of active communities for Live Borders stated: “This is a fantastic achievement for the Active Schools team.

"The value of partnership we have with Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and sportscotland to enable the programme is demonstrated by the impact and reach of our activity, and how important it is to making our young people healthier happier and stronger”.

According to the charity's figures, pupils made 72,915 visits to 294 blocks of activity in term one, a 3 per cent increase on 22/23.

The Active Schools programme has also marked that pupil participation in activities in equally split between boys and girls.

The range of activities on offer from Live Borders would not be possible without its teams of 458 volunteers in its network working to deliver opportunities with parents, teachers, senior pupils, coaches, janitors and college students.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, executive member for developing our children and young people at SBC, added: “Live Borders are to be congratulates on the success of the Active Schools programme.

"This growing offering of extracurricular activities is so important for young people, and reaches children in the most deprived areas of the region.

“The programme develops an infrastructure of coaches and volunteers, supporting school to club and community links, and uses the power of major events and role models to inspire lifelong involvement in sport and physical activity.

"It is great to see we have as many girls as boys participating and I look forward to seeing the ongoing success of the Active Schools programme.”