Action to meet anticipated demand for sport inspired by Glasgow 2014


To meet the greater demand for sport expected to be inspired by Glasgow 2014, Scotland must have a well-supported and motivated volunteer “workforce” particularly qualified coaches, facilities that are accessible and of good standard, and vibrant local clubs that are imbedded in their community.

A report published today by the Health and Sport Committee also calls for sportscotland to co-ordinate an urgent examination of volunteer capacity.

The Committee is also calling on local authorities to do more to facilitate access to local sport facilities.  This should include providing clear and consistent information on sport facilities, ensuring that the school estate is open for community use and that facilities are being used to their maximum capacity. 

MSPs are asking the Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport to update them prior to the summer recess on progress with all aspects of volunteering in sport and Scotland’s readiness for the expected increase in demand for club sport.

Convener of the Health and Sport Committee Duncan McNeil MSP said:

“First of all, the Committee wants to commend all those that volunteer. Without them there would be no community sport.

“Our Committee heard that Glasgow 2014 is a once in a generation opportunity to secure a sporting legacy for Scotland.

“This is a commendable goal. But rhetoric won’t become reality if we don’t have the volunteers there to provide the coaching and run the clubs or we don’t make the most of existing facilities.

“This inquiry wasn’t about how we find the next Andy Murray, but recognising that sport has the potential to play a transformational role in our communities. For this to happen we must grasp the opportunity to change Scotland’s relationship with sport.”

Deputy Convener of the Health and Sport Committee Bob Doris MSP said:

“Throughout this inquiry, the Committee was inspired by stories of young people engaging in a positive way with sport.  However, the real test will be if these positive examples can be rolled out across our communities.

“Whilst there are many organisations involved in sports provision – from sports clubs, leisure trusts, governing bodies and the health sector – it is clear local authorities play a significant role.

“Our Committee is calling on local authorities to play their part in securing a long lasting legacy from Glasgow 2014 by making sure that their facilities are open and accessible, that they recognise the impact sport can make and that they have a detailed plan for ensuring their communities are able to reap most benefits from the facilities in their area.”

The Committee’s inquiry into community sport made the following conclusions:


  • The Committee salutes those organisations and initiatives that have shown new ways of attracting, supporting and upskilling volunteers;
  • The Committee was surprised at the lack of detailed information on the scale and skillset of the volunteer “workforce”. Given the emphasis placed on the legacy of Glasgow 2014 and its potential for bolstering participation, a stronger sense of “where we are” might be expected;
  • The Committee therefore recommends that sportscotland, in conjunction with the relevant sporting associations, co-ordinate an examination of capacity as a matter of urgency;
  • The Committee was concerned that very few governing bodies have developed volunteer strategies;
  • The Committee requests that the Minister for Sport provide an update on all aspects of volunteering in sport before summer recess in 2013. The Committee is especially interested, especially given questions about coaching capacity, in the detail of the readiness for the increase in demand for club sport that is hoped will materialise on the back of Glasgow 2014.

Contribution of local sports clubs

  • Local sports clubs play a pivotal role in delivering sport in their communities;
  • The Committee notes the view of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons on the benefits of young people taking part in sport, particularly for those growing up in deprived areas and who may be excluded from school but also mainstream society.

Community sport hubs

  • The Committee welcomes the simple but brilliant concept of collaboration and flexibility that informs the development of hubs.
  • The Committee has issued a plea on behalf of those clubs working outside the hub system that they will not be forgotten about or lose out on funding or other support.

Joint working and funding

  • The Committee believes that local authorities should apply a strategic approach by developing and applying sports strategies for their areas, taking into account all sports and active recreation taking place locally, who the providers are, where areas of deprivation exist, identifying hard to reach group and having an awareness of all local sporting facilities.

Sporting facilities

  • Access to school-based sporting facilities has long been a cause of concern in certain areas of the country, anecdotally at least. The Committee will await the findings of sportscotland’s audit of current access and consider what bearing this may have on plans for opening up the school estate;
  • A range of barriers to gaining greater use out of the current school estates were highlighted to the Committee. These are diverse ranging from contractual difficulties with gaining access to the estate through to cost issues emerging from the need to have paid staff on site when the estate is used outside school hours.

Equalities and participation

  • The Committee is concerned about the lower participation of women compared with men in sport;
  • The Committee is concerned at the findings of the Equality Network’s report that LGBT people are inhibited from sports participation due to homophobia and transphobia.

Physical literacy

  • Swimming is integral to physical literacy (running, jumping, throwing, catching and swimming) in young children and the Committee was concerned that 25% of children left primary school unable to swim. It seeks the views of the Scottish Government and others on how this can be remedied.


The remit of the Committee’s inquiry was to look at:

  • The contribution of people – focussing on the role of volunteers and looking at how to ensure that that they have the opportunities and support necessary to best contribute to sport at a local level.
  • The contribution of local sports clubs both to (i) the preventative health agenda and (ii) their communities.
  • The importance of places for sport, in terms of availability, accessibility, affordability and the quality of facilities.

Read the report

Read the report

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