AN innovative new scheme is under way at Inverclyde Sports Centre to offer additional mental health support to school children.

The state-of-the-art centre recently signed up to a charter to provide sports classes which specifically look to aid the wellbeing of young people.

They have now launched a new programme, led by their fitness team, to engage with the pupils about health and diet and explain how physical fitness works in tandem with good mental health.

Barry Fleeting, centre principal, said: "It is an emerging issue and something we are keen to get involved in and help.

"We have signed up through sportscotland to the SAMH Charter and will be offering classes to schools. SAMH is the leading mental health organisation in Scotland and they will be working with us on this new scheme.

"Hopefully we can provide help for those requiring further support around their wellbeing.

"It is going beyond what people imagine our role to be, but shows the versatility of the centre."

As well as mental health, the centre is also focusing on providing more assistance to groups with disabilities, blindness and mobility issues.

Barry said: "Thanks to the design of Inverclyde Sports Centre, it allows us to work well with people requiring mental health support, dementia and amputees.

"These types of groups have perhaps been neglected in the past and we want to change that."

A spokesman for SAMH said: "Being active isn’t just good for our physical health; it’s also proven to have a positive effect on our mental health and wellbeing.

"We know that people experiencing a mental health problem can find it difficult to participate in physical activity and sport.

"Research suggests that the less physical activity a person does, the more likely they are to experience low mood, stress, depression, tension and worry.

"Thanks to funding from Comic Relief, Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport aims to improve equality and reduce discrimination for anyone with a mental health problem.

"Since launching in 2018, we’ve been joined by everyone from grassroots clubs to elite sporting bodies, using their collective power to ensure that there is no barrier to engaging, participating and achieving in physical activity and sport."