Community Sport

– in the Scottish Parliament on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Brian Whittle Brian Whittle Conservative

6. To ask the First Minister how the Scottish Government will support community sport restarting as lockdown restrictions are lifted. (S5F-04254)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

We continue to prioritise the return of grass-roots sport for our communities and particularly for our young people. We are supporting community sports clubs and organisations to prepare to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. Sportscotland is working with Scottish governing bodies of sport to ensure that sport-specific guidance is available to sports clubs and community organisations at each phase of the route map. We are also helping sporting organisations and groups to access the various funding streams that are available. For example, to date, the third sector resilience fund has awarded sports organisations 169 grants, with a value of more than £2.3 million.

Throughout the pandemic, we have recognised the benefits of physical activity and have ensured that people could get outside to exercise every day. We have also been able to allow a number of outdoor sporting activities to return, with strict guidance in place on physical distancing.

Photo of Brian Whittle Brian Whittle Conservative

I know that the First Minister is aware of the importance of being active, especially within a social environment, and that it is important to physical, mental and emotional health. Our sports clubs and organisations across the country are key to that. However, sports clubs report a serious reduction in membership, having missed a whole year of recruiting, and arm’s-length external organisations are under extreme financial pressure. I think that we are in danger of losing vital community assets just when we need them most, and a lack of physical activity will manifest itself in increased pressure on our national health service. What assurances can the Scottish Government offer the thousands of sports clubs and volunteers across Scotland that their contribution will be valued in the months and years ahead?

The First Minister:

We will do everything that we can not only to ensure that that contribution is protected but to encourage and enhance it in the time to come. I absolutely agree with Brian Whittle that physical activity for young people is of paramount importance now and in the future. Today, I confirmed that organised sport for young people can resume from 13 July, but we will continue to work with councils and organisations in this area to ensure that we provide whatever support we can. The issue is important, and we will continue to pay close attention to it.

Presiding Officer, I am being told that, when I delivered the statement earlier, I said that a household will be able to meet indoors with people from up to two other households, subject to physical distancing and strict hygiene measures, from 15 July. That was a mistake. The route map actually says 10 July. I just wanted to take this opportunity to correct that.

The Presiding Officer:

Thank you for that rapid correction.