Scottish Rugby Welcomes 1.4M Investment
Scottish Rugby welcomes £1.4million investment in growing the game from the Scottish Government Scottish Rugby today welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government that they are to inject some£1.4million into youth rugby in Scotland in the next three years.Scottish Rugby welcomes £1.4million investment in growing the game from the Scottish Government Scottish Rugby today welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government that they are to inject some£1.4million into youth rugby in Scotland in the next three years. The sum is being delivered through the Government’s Cashback for Communities initiative, whereby cash recovered by the authorities after criminals have been dealt with by the justice system is reinvested in communities throughout Scotland, rural as well as urban. Scottish Rugby put together a detailed application for funding through the scheme, stressing its belief that sport in general and rugby in particular can play a major role in developing young people, especially those in disadvantaged areas. The announcement was made today at the East End Healthy Living Centre in Glasgow by Scotland’s Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill; and Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell. Mr MacAskill said: Criminals don’t contribute to our communities – they live off them. That harms our economy but it also saps self-confidence and ambition, especially among our young people. That’s why the Scottish Government is taking the cash these criminals make off the backs of law-abiding folk and putting it back into our communities. This latest strand of the scheme will help to take rugby out of its traditional heartlands and provide opportunities for young people in our more disadvantaged communities to play the game, offering them the chance to realise their potential and to have real hopes and aspirations for their future. Geography, social standing and sex should be no barrier to participation in one of our great national sports. Scotland captain Mike Blair and fellow internationalists Alastair Kellock, Andrew Henderson and Allan Jacobsen were on hand to pass on tips to youngsters at the launch, an example of the support from the top level of the game that will play a key part as the scheme is rolled out. Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive Gordon McKie said: Scottish Rugby believes that our sport can play a major role in helping young Scots to become healthier, safer and stronger and make a positive contribution to their communities. Working in partnership with volunteers, teachers, rugby clubs, schools, local authorities and the Scottish Government, Scottish Rugby is pledged to increase opportunities for young Scots to play rugby. We’re delighted the Scottish Government is using the Cashback for Communities scheme in this way. Rugby in Scotland has to be accessible to all and this investment will mean that we can open the door to many more young Scots. Our top players will play their part too by supporting the Cashback for Communities scheme as ambassadors and, who knows, in the future, we might see players running out in the blue jersey at Murrayfield, who were first inspired to take up the game by this first-class initiative. Scotland captain Mike Blair said: I am lucky enough to play rugby for a living and to have the massive honour of playing for my country. Rugby can teach lessons for life and, above all, is a great way to keep fit and have fun. Scottish Rugby and those who’ve already caught the rugby bug are working hard to introduce our sport to more youngsters. This money from the Scottish Government will enable Scottish Rugby to reinforce that there are no no-go areas for our sport. Scotland prop Allan Jacobsen, who hails from Prestonpans, also endorsed the project. I was a bit of a lad when I was younger and rugby’s given me opportunities that I could never have dreamed of back then. It’ll be great if teenagers throughout Scotland can get the sort of chances I got through rugby. The initiative is aimed at those aged 10-19 with the objective of providing free rugby coaching and playing activities for a total of 32,000 youngsters in all 32 local authorities in Scotland by 2011. Over the last two years Scottish Rugby, working in partnership with rugby clubs and local authorities has put in place a network of jointly funded development officers to work with volunteers to boost numbers playing rugby. This has resulted in a 19% increase in youngsters playing the game (up from 15,189 to 18, 123) and a 7% increase in playing adults (up from 8,972 to 9,616) SRU Head of Community Rugby, Colin Thomson, said: We want to be the fastest growing sport in Scotland and we’ve set out our targets in our five year plan to have an extra 11,000 regular players by 2012. This investment from the Scottish Government will enable us to deliver a whole range of activities through recruiting additional development officers. These development officers will offer rugby to children in primary and secondary schools, especially those schools where there’s little chance to play rugby just now. We’ll link the activity in schools to local rugby clubs creating satellite rugby centres for disadvantaged and disengaged youngsters. We’ve been doing this sort of work in rural Scotland, for example in Inverurie, linking in with schools and Garioch rugby club. This money will mean we’ll look to do more of the same in the likes of Fraserburgh and Peterhead. In urban Scotland we’ve been working in, for example, Craigroyston in Edinburgh, in partnership with the school, the local rugby club and NHS Lothian. This new money will mean we’ll look to do more of the same in, for example, Whitfield in Dundee. In Glasgow, we started a mini rugby club in the East End a year ago. This money will give us the chance to support that club as they look to break down barriers. We’re working on a programme of Street Rugby with an easy to play and portable version of the game – probably a variation on Tag or Touch Rugby – to engage with young people in their neighbourhoods and we’ll work with other sports bodies including the SFA to deliver joint events. The investment will offer additional support for the recently announced Scottish Widows Bank Rugby Champions programme where we aim to reward and recognise volunteers as part of promotion of rugby in secondary schools. Most of all we’ll have our top players from the professional teams, Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors, supporting this initiative. They’ll be role models and they can inspire young people to take up our sport and make a real difference to their communities becoming better places to live.