£50m boost for school sports scheme

The Scottish Government is looking to create a "lasting legacy" from Glasgow 2014. Picture: Gary Hutchinson
The Scottish Government is looking to create a "lasting legacy" from Glasgow 2014. Picture: Gary Hutchinson
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A SCHEME which provides more opportunities for school children to get involved in sport is being boosted with further funding of up to £50 million.

The four-year investment in the Active Schools Network will see all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities benefit.

The funding from sportscotland, the national agency for sport, will support Active Schools staff in working with young people to get them involved in physical activity before, during and after school.

Sport Secretary Shona Robison announced the investment, which runs from April 1 next year to March 2019, during a visit today to Sandersons Wynd Primary School in Tranent, East Lothian.

She said the Scottish Government is committed to securing a “lasting legacy” from the Commonwealth Games.

“Getting young people active is key to our long term ambitions to create a healthier and happier Scotland,” she added.

“For more than 10 years, the Active Schools Network has been successfully bringing volunteers and schools together to deliver millions of sessions of activity for young people across the country.

“It is important we continue to work towards giving Scotland’s children the best start in life, creating a lifelong love of sport from an early age that will continue well into adulthood.”

Throughout the past decade, Active Schools managers and co-ordinators - of which there are now more than 400 in Scotland - have recruited and supported a network of volunteers and coaches to increase the number of children participating in sport.

Stewart Harris, sportscotland chief executive, said: “As we move towards the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, this significant investment of up to £50 million offers another fabulous opportunity to motivate and inspire children and young people to participate in sport and physical activity.”

Latest figures from 2012/13 show a 13% increase in participant sessions compared to the previous year - a rise of more than half a million to 5.1 million, according to sportscotland.

Active Schools ambassador and Team Scotland athlete Eilidh Child said: “It is amazing to think that Active Schools has now been a part of the school system for the past 10 years, and the impact it has made during that time has been incredible.

“As a former PE teacher, I used to work closely with Active Schools co-ordinators and so have first-hand experience of the excellent opportunities this programme provides for pupils to get involved in sport and physical activity.”