Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Scotland gets fit for 2014

There are only three years to go before the Commonwealth Games comes to Scotland.

Minister for the Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison asks how fit will you be in 2014?

Whether you will be in the Scots team, in the audience at events cheering Scotland on - or viewing on TV at home, millions around the world will be watching the Games to see what kind of nation Scotland is.

Shona Robison MSP
As Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport I want Scotland to compete on the international stage and win more medals than ever before. To do that we are planning to invest £8m to fund our elite athlete programme because we want to see the Saltire rising up the flagpole at more medal ceremonies in 2014.

I also want all Scots to be able to participate - not just those who are elite athletes – all Scots of all ages – in better, fitter and more active lives. Scots are passionate about sport. Scotland has a long tradition of great sportsmen and women excelling and winning medals for their country.

Sport gives purpose and meaning to people’s lives, encourages discipline and rewards participants with a sense of achievement and success towards personal goals.

As we approach the games everyone should get the benefit of physical activity to make our country better and fairer, to improve health and reduce anti-social behaviour.

The Commonwealth Games can inspire this generation to be more active and a lasting legacy from the games is really important. This is at the heart of the SNP’s vision for the future.

One way of achieving this is through community sports hubs. So far the SNP Government has delivered 56 local hubs and we intend to deliver at least 100 across all 32 councils by 2014. These will make it easy for everyone to get involved.

Being active should start early and in schools we are making huge strides to get pupils more active as we aim to deliver at least two hours of PE in primary schools and two periods of PE in secondary schools from S1 to S4 by 2014. We have invested £13m a year in our Active Schools programme, with 450 Active Schools staff delivering almost 5 million activity sessions in 69 different sports in 2,500 schools in all 32 local authority areas. Further opening up the school estate to community use is a priority for our Government.

And sport can help to transform our communities. The SNP’s programme of seizing the assets of criminals and giving CashBack to Communities has been a huge success. More than £40m seized from organised criminals is being put to good use helping to get more children involved in sports. A recent investment of £5m in 3G pitches is helping provide first class community facilities for multi-sport use. This is on top of the £35m which the SNP Government in partnership with sportscotland has invested in Scottish sports facilities since 2007.

Another manifesto commitment that we are starting to work towards is further support for our national game through working with local and footballing bodies to set up a National Indoor Football Centre and National Football Academy.

2014 is already shaping up to be a great year for sport in Scotland with the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup. Yes it is an opportunity to showcase Scotland but also to raise the confidence of our people in their own abilities and standing on the international stage. The legacy from that could have a profound impact on Scotland’s future and as the Minister in charge I relish that opportunity.
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