We’ve got to fight for facilities

The benefits of sport and physical activity have been widely reported, while there has been much mention of a “Games Legacy” boost ahead of Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games following the 2012 Olympics.

But where does this leave us?

In Scottish Borders it is frequently difficult for sporting citizens, young and old, to prepare for competition or simply continue participation when inclement weather adversely affects playing fields, pitches and running tracks.

A barrier to increased participation and enhanced performance – during both winter and summer seasons – this is a big disincentive, especially to youngsters who might otherwise seek to engage locally in healthy pursuits.

Pending the centrally-located full Regional Sport Centre proposed for 2020, an interim solution would be to create a basic low-cost multi-sport indoor training facility at Tweedbank, similar to those elsewhere in the country. Indoor multi-sport training facilities have been springing up all over in recent years. With others in the pipeline, Scottish Borders already lags behind the quality and quantity of provision elsewhere – this particular playing field is far from level!

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) is ultimately responsible for providing the community with facilities meeting present-day community needs. Consequently, the buck stops at SBC and its group of stakeholding partners, including Borders Sport and Leisure Trust (contracted to operate sport and recreation facilities). That group has produced a Physical Activity, Sport and Physical Education strategy, amongst other things highlighting the need for “high quality and innovative facilities”, including “establishment of multi-sport indoor facilities”. So, there it is – a “no brainer” – clearly set out in a glossy official document, following lengthy deliberations; but that seems to be it for the time being.

It is clear that those responsible require a kick-start into action on this. Accordingly, I urge all with an interest – players, athletes, coaches, club officials, parents, teachers, supporters, etc – to endorse calls for early provision of a much-needed multi-sport indoor training facility in the Borders.

Please make your support known in writing, email, telephone or by personal representation to your local elected councillor. Please act now!

Ron Sutherland