Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris (far left), shares his hopes for an inclusive legacy from the forthcoming Commonwealth Games with Able Magazine.
With the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, the eyes of the world will soon turn to Glasgow.
I cannot wait for Scotland’s biggest ever multi sport event to get under way and I’m sure it will be the best Games ever. As well as aiming to deliver the best ever Team Scotland medal haul, it will be exciting to witness the largest ever para-sport programme in the history of the Games.
With medal prospects across a range of sports, our partners at Scottish Disability Sport and the sport’s governing bodies are getting ready for the upsurge in membership which is coming and, in many sports, already happening.
Hosting the Commonwealth Games is such a wonderful opportunity for Scotland to showcase itself to the world as a top-class destination for sporting events. At sportscotland, we are using the Games to help accelerate our plans for a world-class sporting system at every level in Scotland and to create a well constructed pathway in sport and physical activity which caters for all ages and abilities. The high performance system in Scotland is as sophisticated as it has ever been, and will continue to improve.
So, as we aim to deliver a lasting sporting legacy from the Games, sportscotland is continuing to work closely with our partners in the Scottish Government, The National Lottery, local authorities, sports, and clubs, to establish a clear link from school sport to club sport to high performance sport.
A key component of sportscotland’s contribution to the Scottish Government’s 2014 Legacy plan is the development of Community Sport Hubs throughout all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities. This exciting and innovative approach to the development of sport in local clubs has received £1.5 million of National Lottery funding each year since 2010/2011 and will see at least 150 hubs created across the country by 2016.
Already, community sport is benefitting tremendously from our Hubs programme.
There are currently 131 operational hubs, which is helping sportscotland implement a framework around club sport which unites all those involved – from volunteers to professionals. The hubs are also closely connected to schools and plug in to our Active Schools Network.
This sportscotland programme, delivered with our partners in local government, provides more and higher quality opportunities for children to participate in school sport and to increase capacity through the recruitment of volunteers who deliver the activity sessions.
The latest figures show that in 2012/13 pupils made 5.1 million visits to activity sessions – a 13% increase from the previous year. In addition, the number of activity sessions delivered was 270,000 (a 12% increase), with children having the opportunity to take part in over 100 different activities.
Key to the success of the programme is the partnerships between organisations, bodies, and individuals, including PE staff, Sports Development Officers, and local sports clubs.
They all work together nationally and locally, which has helped Active Schools become part of the fabric of school life.
As we move towards the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, it offers another fabulous opportunity to motivate and inspire children and young people to participate in sport and physical activity. sportscotland will harness the excitement and enthusiasm for the Games through a get involved in sport campaign – ‘unleash your sporty side’. The message is simple: whether you want to play, coach or volunteer, the opportunities to get involved are available for all.
With an interactive roadshow having taken place at every stop along the route of the Queen’s Baton Relay, sportscotland will continue to use the profile of Team Scotland and the Games to get people active. We are also investing heavily in club sport, with a £10 million package to support clubs announced recently. The four-year funding plan is creating almost 50 new regional development posts for Scottish Governing Bodies of sport, as well as a Direct Club Investment (DCI) programme to support the growth of individual clubs.
Glasgow 2014, without doubt, represents a defining moment for sport in this country, so the time for us to capitalise on this unprecedented interest in sport is now. I am supremely confident that we will deliver.