Children get on their marks for an initiative aimed at inspiring them to become more active. Picture: Chris Watt Photography

An initiative to encourage youngsters in north Glasgow to take more exercise and physical activity has been awarded more than £12,000 by a major city employer.

Allied Vehicles Charitable Trust is giving a total of £12,500 to On Our Marks, which aims to improve health and wellbeing in the area.

When Allied owner Gerry Facenna launched the charitable trust at the beginning of the year, he identified as one of the priorities being improving the health and wellbeing of people in north Glasgow.

Allied was established and is still headquartered in Possilpark, and he sees this project as a way of achieving that development.


“It’s very important to me to put something back into the community where we remain based after nearly 30 years,” said Gerry.

“Possilpark and north Glasgow is an area of multiple depravation with limited opportunities for youngsters to become involved in sport and physical activity.

“The pandemic made that even more difficult, but I hope that by promoting an initiative like On Our Marks we can build on what we’ve already done through our charitable trust to encourage more sport and physical exercise.”

Allied has a track record of investing and supporting the north Glasgow community with the Peugeot Ashfield Stadium, home of the Glasgow Tigers and Ashfield FC, as well as a project to help establish a football academy at Milton.

Accessing physical activity has been challenging for many families because of the pandemic and its lingering effects, with cost, travel and low awareness resulting in slightly over half (54%) of people in disadvantaged areas achieving recommended guidelines. This compares to 74% in more affluent areas.

University of Strathclyde research has shown that children from more disadvantaged areas are nearly three times less likely to be involved in sport. They are also more than twice as likely to be classed as obese by the time they are in P1, with less than a quarter likely to have safe outdoor spaces to play in.

On Our Marks is delivered by the charity Winning Scotland, with support from north Glasgow housing association ng homes and now, Allied Vehicles, and activity programmes have been running since 2005. A range of positive outcomes have been reported amongst the children who have taken part.

In February, many P1 and P2 pupils struggled with tasks such as shuttle runs and catching a ball, but now they can complete multiple tasks without difficulty – as well as having fun doing them.

This year, On Our Marks has delivered 46 after-school physical activity sessions for 160 pupils across eight primary schools in north Glasgow.

Winning Scotland CEO Zahra Hedges said: “Our mission is to build confidence and resilience in children and young people, and we know that improving levels of physical activity is an important part of that.

“In a short time, we’ve already seen direct evidence of children becoming more confident physically – this means they can enjoy PE and playtime more than before and is also contributing towards better classroom engagement at school.”