Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Dogs dirt, glass and crumbling pavillions

Whilst out walking at the Double Hedges park in Edinburgh a few months ago I got chatting to the coach of the local youth football team. He told me of the lack of decent changing facilities at the park. Since then there have been articles in the Edinburgh Evening News highlighting the absolutely abysmal state some of our pitches are in.
Reports from coaches of teams across Edinburgh showed that their primary concern on a Saturday or Sunday morning is the removal of Dog's dirt and broken glass from the pitches the children are supposed to play on. Then there's the ramshackle state of the changing facilities at these parks. It's just not good enough to expect children to change in these facilities. What with Scotland's poor health record, including increasing obesity we should be doing everything in our power to make physical activity and sport as pleasurable as possible for our youngsters.
I fully support moves by the Coaches of the youth teams in Edinburgh to try and remedy this situation - I've submitted two motions and two questions to the Scottish Parliament (below) and will be going along to a meeting they've organised on the 5th November. I'll post an update later.


S2M-4956 Colin Fox (Lothians) (SSP) : Need for Investment in Football Facilities— That the Parliament congratulates the national football team for its excellent start to the Euro 2008 qualifiers, notwithstanding the defeat in Kiev, and wishes the squad all the best in the remaining matches; believes that youth development provides the lifeblood for future success at club and international level but observes that much of our sporting facilities at local level across Scotland are in an awful state of disrepair, as most recently highlighted in Edinburgh; recognises the vital contribution which volunteers, who give up their time to run thousands of clubs across Scotland, make to the success of football in Scotland but notes the dispiriting environment in which they often find themselves working in pavilions, changing rooms and other facilities which are not up to scratch, and believes that the Scottish Executive must recognise the vital role that youth football plays and, for the future of the game, must invest in new or renovated facilities to sustain football at all stages from soccer sevens through to professional level.

Supported by: Ms Rosemary Byrne, Frances Curran, Carolyn Leckie, Mr Kenny MacAskill, Tommy Sheridan, John Swinburne

Lodged on 16 October 2006; current 16 October 2006

S2M-4954 Colin Fox (Lothians) (SSP) : Upgrading Edinburgh Sports Pavilions— That the Parliament welcomes the campaigning initiative of Hutchison Vale FC young footballers for increased funding for Edinburgh sports pavilions; notes that the City of Edinburgh Council has earmarked £4 million to replace three crumbling pavilions; recognises that more major investment is required to ensure that this is no longer seen as a “Cinderella service”, and believes that, at a time when it is vitally important that young people are encouraged to take up competitive sport, it is unacceptable that changing facilities are squalid and not fit for purpose.

Supported by: Fiona Hyslop, Tommy Sheridan

Lodged on 13 October 2006; current
S2W-29027 - Colin Fox (Lothians) (SSP) (Date Lodged 11 October 2006) : To ask the Scottish Executive when and by whom the city of Edinburgh’s sports pavilions were last audited to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
Due for Answer 8 November 2006
Answered by Patricia Ferguson (7 November 2006):
This is a matter for the owners of the sports pavilions. Sportscotland provided support to the City of Edinburgh Council in the preparation of the Council’s Sports Pitch Strategy, which was completed in 2002 and part of this work considered the condition of the associated sports pavilions. Information on the condition of the sports pavilions should be obtained from the City of Edinburgh Council or the relevant pavilion owners direct.
S2W-29085 - Colin Fox (Lothians) (SSP) (Date Lodged 16 October 2006) : To ask the Scottish Executive how much funding it will make available for the renovation and upgrading of changing facilities and pavilions for sporting use at public parks in each of the next three years.
Due for Answer 13 November 2006
Answered by Patricia Ferguson (10 November 2006):
Local authorities need to take a strategic overview of the range and location of sports facilities its communities require before considering funding packages for renovating or upgrading pavilions or changing facilities. Where facilities are in private ownership a needs assessment should be prepared and discussed with the sports governing body and the local authority. Sportscotland’s Building for Sport programme can support the re-development of changing facilities and pavilions. However, it is for the board of sportscotland to determine which applications are supported and the level of any contribution.

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