COMMITMENT to sport in the Borders was highlighted on Sunday when more than 70 representatives from local clubs and bodies gathered at a special summit to pledge their support for the new Community Sports Hubs initiative.
Organised by Borders Sport and Leisure in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and sportscotland, the summit outlined plans for the creation of nine community sports hubs in the region.
The hubs will support the government’s 2014 legacy plan and aim to provide a focal point to bring local sports clubs and people together to share resources and expertise and make it easier for more people to become involved in sport.
Key speakers at the event included former rugby coach Jim Telfer and Stewart Harris, the chief executive of sportscotland.
Mr Harris informed the delegates that an extra £6million in sports funding from the National Lottery was being made available due to the success of the Olympic Games and that through creating sports hubs, the Borders could enhance its access to funding opportunities.
Former Scotland and British and Irish Lions coach Jim Telfer highlighted how his experience in bringing together a successful Lions squad of rival nations in 1997, compared to the challenge facing local sports in creating vibrant, successful hubs.
“You will have to be able to come together and see the bigger picture for each area as well as for the Borders,” he said, “and lead this project to allow this generation and future generations to benefit.”
The summit was accompanied by a series of workshops inviting input from the local sports clubs on how best to approach the creation of a network of hubs in the region.
The exact format of each hub will be decided by the clubs and individuals in each area and could vary from physical venues such as a secondary school or a sports club where members meet, to virtual hubs that communicate through email and social media.
Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Borders Sport and Leisure, said: “We are really fortunate to have so many enthusiastic and committed people driving forward the sports clubs in the Borders. We used the summit as a way to gain their feedback on how best to approach creating a network of community sports hubs in the region, so we can maximise the hubs’ potential to assist them with strengthening and growing their clubs to bring even more people into sport.”
Mr Harris added: “I was delighted to be part of the Borders Community Sport Summit on Sunday, where it was great to see so many interested parties joining together to discuss the future of sport in the Borders.
“Creating community sport hubs is sportscotland’s lead programme under the objective of delivering sustainable community-based sport, and I was encouraged to see our partners, Borders Sport and Leisure and Scottish Borders Council, engaging with the community before launching their hubs.
“Once established, these hubs will help to unite everyone involved in club sport – from volunteers to professionals – under the principle of creating a world-class club sport structure across the country.”
Anyone interested in details on joining their new local community sports hub should contact Mark Drummond, community sport hub manager, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.