A UNITED Borders working together towards a brighter sporting future.
This is the ‘I have a dream’ ideal of newly-instated Borders community sports hub manager Mark Drummond.
Sports hubs have already been successfully installed in Lanarkshire, Perth and Falkirk to name but a few and, if the passion of the Cumbrian-born rugby enthusiast is anything to go by, the sporting legacy already in evidence here is set to get a huge boost.
Speaking in his first interview since arriving at his Selkirk base, Mark told TheSouthern: “The Borders is an ideal place to set up community hubs as there are already close-knit communities as well as a wealth of sporting traditions.
“Where there are already clubs working together, we will be looking to see what we can bring to the party and how we can add value through things like coach education and sports leader programs. Mainly, it is trying to get clubs to work together, though. In areas where there is a wish for a new facility, rather than each club putting forward what they want, we are looking for them to come together as a community and think about what is best for sport where they are.”
Although the post is being paid for by Borders Sport and Leisure Trust, backed by sportscotland, as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy, Mark was keen to stress that the project will be driven by the people of the Borders.
He explained: “There is no vested interest in this whatsoever from BSLT. It just happens that my post sits in their office. Because BSLT already house sports development and active schools then it makes sense that I have instant access to all the right people.
“The council will also be one of our key strategic partners so that if a group comes to us and says look we really need a new facility then we can bring them in too.
“What we are trying to do is to use multiple clubs and facilities to add value to the great work that is already going on in the Borders.”
Mark would like to see at least nine hubs up and running in the Borders, but his first job is to go out and talk to the community and find out what they want.
“We want to be driven by the community. Our job is to advise them on what can work for them best,” he added.
“This is based on what is best for the community and will involve everyone. In a lot of instances the hubs are likely to be based at a school as they already have a number of facilities in situ. We have one or two clubs that are either looking for facilities or are a bit run down and are looking for somewhere new. If the schools have capacity then we will try to use them.”
Although there is no allocated budget, Mark hopes the hubs can provide a platform to build on.
“The hubs will provide a really strong voice going forward and a lot of advocacy,” he said.
“We can then go back to the funding providers as one single voice.”
Mark has been in sports development “forever”. Born in Appleby, he then moved to Carlisle where he developed a love of rugby union, one of the many sports he has had a keen involvement in both playing, coaching and even in marketing at Newcastle Falcons.
For the last seven years, he has been working with Sports Coach UK, but when the chance to work in the Borders came up he jumped at it.
“I saw it as a great opportunity that was too good to miss,” he said. “The Borders has a great sporting history and I have been involved with sport since day one, so this was just a natural progression and something I’m looking forward to being involved in.”
For more informantion contact Mark at MDrummond@bslt.org