Sport in the UK

Part of Social Security – in the House of Commons at 9:37 pm on 4th February 2019.

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Photo of Paul Masterton Paul Masterton Conservative, East Renfrewshire 9:37 pm, 4th February 2019

In 1979, David Jones, the janitor at St Cadoc’s Primary School in Newton Mearns, coached his team of 14 primary 7 schoolboys to the first of three consecutive mini world cups at Overlee playing fields in Clarkston. That was the beginning of a remarkable local legacy, which over the next 20 years saw the team grow to include around 50 pupils from three year groups. By 2004, teams included all seven years of the primary school. A couple of years later, the primary school team had evolved into a local club, with more than 250 registered players from over 10 different schools. Continuing its growth beyond those foundations as a school football team, the club converted to a registered charity, whose aim is

“to encourage public participation in sport”.

As of December 2018, 900 registered girls and boys now play netball or football for the club each weekend. Recognising the value of sporting activities to local kids, fees are kept as low as possible and the club also operates a hardship policy to ensure that every child can participate, no matter what their family circumstances might be.

Backed by an incredible team of volunteers, the club continues to go from strength to strength. St Cadoc’s is an incredible example of a small school team growing into a true community-wide organisation benefiting hundreds of local kids each week, but it also needs a bit of help. It has exhausted local facilities and, with its size and ambition, it has reached the limit of what is possible. This has meant putting on hold its community outreach programme, which it had hoped to launch as soon as possible. The programme will take St Cadoc’s to the next level in its work in the community, providing wheelchair football at the local special needs school, walking football for the elderly, and specialist sessions for children and young adults with Down’s syndrome.

On 28 April 2019, the club will attempt to complete 5,000 miles in 12 hours at Eastwood high school in Newton Mearns to raise the money it needs to deliver its outreach programme for the entire community, and that is where I and—whether by agreement or force—my wonderful constituency office team will be helping out, completing a few miles ourselves to help the club to reach its goal. St Cadoc’s youth club rightly has a place in the heart of the East Renfrewshire community, and in my view it is precisely the sort of grassroots club that underpins the health and wellbeing of our young people, and the success of our great nation in sport.

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention an important professional sporting event taking place this week. For the first time in 26 years, Great Britain will host a home tie in the Federation cup, the women’s equivalent of the Davis cup tennis competition. The team of Jo Konta, Heather Watson, Katie Boulter, Harriet Dart and Katie Swan, captained by former British No. 1, Ann Keothavong, will compete against seven other nations between Wednesday and Saturday this week at the fabulous facilities at Bath University. With a dozen top 100 players competing for their country, this is a fabulous opportunity to witness world-class tennis. I am sure that the whole House will join me in backing the Brits and wishing Team GB every success in their bid for promotion to the world group.