Wednesday, July 6, 2022
NewsSportscotland celebrates £235m sport facilities investment milestone

Sportscotland celebrates £235m sport facilities investment milestone

SPORTSCOTLAND is celebrating reaching a milestone £235m invested in local sporting communities.

sportscotland, Scotland’s national agency for sport, announced that in the last 20 years, over £235m of Scottish Government and National Lottery funding has been invested.

This money has gone into clubs, communities, and leisure trusts across Scotland to improve the places where people take part in sport and physical activity.

Sports Minister Maree Todd was in Dundee today to make the announcement and meet one of the most recent projects to benefit from investment, Street Soccer Scotland’s Change Centre.

Sports Minister , Maree Todd visiting the Street Soccer Scotland Change Centre in Dundee. Left to right : David Duke (founder of the Street Soccer Scotland) Vicky Low and Rachel McCarthy players. David McKenzie ~~~Reg Manager of Change Centre, The Minister Maree Todd Scott Hollinshead Business manager Change Centre, Grant Duncan and Mark Cowan from Sportscotland.
Sports Minister Maree Todd (centre) visited the Street Soccer Scotland Change Centre. (C) Alan Peebles

The Minister met with sportscotland’s Head of Facilities, Mark Cowan, and Street Soccer Scotland’s CEO, David Duke, to hear how football is being used to provide hope and change lives.

The Minister also viewed the site of latest addition to the centre, a new synthetic pitch, which will be developed thanks to £75,000 of National Lottery investment from the Sport Facilities Fund.

After meeting centre users and volunteers, Maree said: “I am delighted to visit the Change Centre today to celebrate sportscotland’s facilities investment milestone and hear more about Street Soccer’s programmes which seek to bring about positive change for participants and communities across Scotland through the power of football.

“This substantial investment demonstrates our belief in the continuing importance of sport and physical activity and the vital role it plays in communities. 

“Our increased investment in sport, active living and physical activity over the Parliamentary term aims to put sport and physical activity at the heart of Scotland’s recovery from the COVID pandemic, helping us achieve our vision of an active Scotland where everyone benefits from sport and physical activity for their physical, mental and social health.”

The investment for Street Soccer Scotland came from sportscotland’s Sport Facilities Fund which makes awards for capital projects designed to create or improve the places where people take part in sport and physical activity.

Priority is given to projects that widen access to participation or allow people to progress further within their chosen sport locally by removing barriers, particularly for under-represented groups, and in rural areas or areas of deprivation.

Since 2002, over 1,000 projects have received investment from sportscotland and this investment is made possible thanks to National Lottery players, who raise £30m each week for good causes across the UK.

Landmark sport facilities to have received funding include the Emirates Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow, the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, and the Regional Performance Centre at Caird Park in Dundee.

Communities from the Scottish Borders to the Shetland Islands have also benefitted from funding, allowing them to deliver better facilities for sport and physical activity, tailored to meet local demand.

Projects as diverse as ice rinks in Inverness, skateparks in Stirling, bowling greens in Broxburn and shinty pitches in Strachur have all been supported by investment from sportscotland.

Head of Facilities at sportscotland, Mark Cowan, said: ,“This is a significant milestone for sportscotland’s sport facilities investment.

“But, more importantly it demonstrates the ambition and commitment from the people behind these projects who are working together to improve the lives of their local communities.

“While these projects are primarily about providing more opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity, we know they can also provide a place for communities to come together and support one another, and this has been incredibly important in recent years.

“The Change Centre here in Dundee is a fantastic example of how working in partnership to maximise resources can have a life changing impact on people and communities; that is why we invest in the way that we do.”

Street Soccer Scotland provides football-themed training & personal development opportunities to help socially excluded men and women across Scotland feel better about themselves and their future.

The Change Centre concept was developed back in 2017 and is now a fully functional community space addressing issues such as mental health, homelessness, substance misuse and general loneliness and isolation.

The centre already has indoor football pitches, but the £75,000 investment from the Sport Facilities Fund will enable them to develop a new synthetic pitch allowing them to offer more opportunities for participation.

Welcoming the investment, David Duke, Chief Executive of Street Soccer Scotland, said: “The Change Centre has been operational for just under a year now and already we have seen the impact on our communities and the people we serve.

“Having a space for people to play, learn, connect and access support from Street Soccer Scotland and a range of partner organisations is changing lives.

“The regeneration of the former Lynch Sport Centre has so far been supported by The Hunter Foundation, Northwood Trust and Social Innovation Partnership.

“We are delighted to receive this additional support of £75k from sportscotland as we work towards creating of an outdoor all weather football pitch.”

Projects are encouraged to engage with sportscotland’s facilities team at the earliest stage to ensure that their plans will have the greatest impact, make the most of the available investment and continue to meet the needs of their local communities in the future.

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