Sports Clubs and Leisure Centres

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 4 October 2017.

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Photo of Gordon Lindhurst Gordon Lindhurst Conservative

1. To ask the Scottish Government what role sports clubs and leisure centres play in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. (S5O-01315)

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

Sports clubs and leisure centres play an important role in helping people to maintain a healthy lifestyle. People of all ages and abilities can benefit from participating in sport and physical activity to improve both their physical and their mental health.

Photo of Gordon Lindhurst Gordon Lindhurst Conservative

The Barclay review has floated the recommendation of ending rates relief for arm’s-length external organisations such as Edinburgh Leisure. That could foot them with a bill of millions of pounds. If the Scottish Government decides to implement that recommendation, is the minister concerned about the potential effects on health if public leisure facilities are stripped back or made more expensive as a result?

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

I am well aware of the good work that Edinburgh Leisure carries out. I met representatives of Edinburgh Leisure and saw at first hand some of the interesting and innovative work that it has been doing to try to get the inactive active. When the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution made his statement on 12 September, he accepted the majority of the recommendations, but there are certain recommendations and points of detail that he is now considering further, and he is engaging with relevant stakeholders ahead of publishing an implementation plan by the end of the year. We will continue to engage further with members on that point of interest, and we would be happy to meet Gordon Lindhurst if he so wishes, but the cabinet secretary is still considering some specific points of the Barclay recommendations, and the point that the member has raised is one of the issues to which he is giving further consideration.

Photo of Ivan McKee Ivan McKee Scottish National Party

The minister will be aware of the great success of the Gladiator weightlifting club, based in Easterhouse in my constituency, which won gold and bronze medals at the recent Commonwealth youth championships in Australia. The minister will also be aware that the young medal winners and their teammates had to raise funds themselves to pay for the trip, because no official funding was available. What steps are being taken to ensure that funding for sport finds its way to grass-roots sports clubs such as the Gladiator weightlifting and Phoenix boxing clubs in Easterhouse and in other socially deprived areas of the country, so that the Commonwealth games legacy can deliver increased sports opportunities for young people who might not otherwise be able to participate?

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

One of the big planks of the Commonwealth games was appropriate planning for the legacy of the games to be felt not just across Glasgow but throughout the country, and ensuring that the legacy reaches areas of deprivation is an important concern. Via sportscotland, clubs from across Scotland are able to access support through various funding streams, direct club investment, awards for all and the facilities fund. As well as that, sportscotland is committing additional support to the seven community sports hubs that are based in the areas of highest deprivation.

With regard to Ivan McKee’s specific question about weightlifting, I am happy to meet him to discuss support for weightlifting clubs in his constituency, and I commend the weightlifting club based in Easterhouse on the gold medal and bronze medal from the Commonwealth championships. I look forward to meeting the member to discuss the wider issues.