On 23rd September 2015 the Scottish Sports Alliance launched “A Manifesto for Scottish Sport”, raising their members’ future priorities and ambitions for Scottish sport ahead of the 2016 Scottish elections.
The Scottish Sports Alliance is the collective voice of the Scottish Sports Association (SSA), Scottish Student Sport (SSS) and the Scottish Association of Local Sports Councils (SALSC).
Record-breaking cyclist and adventurer Mark Beaumont, who hosted the launch, said “Scotland is a nation that loves sport. Almost one-fifth of the Scottish population is a member of a sports club in Scotland. Following the huge success of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – hailed as the “best Games ever” - we need to ensure that politicians from across all parties in Scotland recognise the contribution that sport makes to Scotland and to prioritise sport within their forthcoming manifestos.”
Commonwealth Games Judo gold medallist Sarah Adlington presented a copy of the manifesto to representatives from the political parties in Scotland. The manifesto highlights the five areas where political support for Scottish sport can, in the view of the Alliance’s members, make the biggest difference to sport in Scotland:
- Partnerships: an entitlement for everyone to realise the benefits of sport/being active
- P.E. and School Sport: an entitlement for every child to be equipped with the skills to be active for life
- Places: an entitlement to easily access local, inclusive and quality sporting places
- People: an entitlement for everyone to be supported as a volunteer
- Performance: an entitlement for all talented individuals to achieve their potential through the sporting system.
At the heart of the manifesto is the intrinsic value of sport – fun and enjoyment. The manifesto also outlines the benefits that participating in sport/being active can bring to individuals, including: improved physical and mental health, enhanced learning and employability. Taking part in sport/being active has been described as the ‘best buy in public health’, hence the manifesto also indicates the benefits for Scotland if the population was more active, including enhanced economic productivity, crime prevention and enhanced learning. Mark called for Scotland’s politicians to endorse and prioritise the contribution of sport to Scotland and to take forward the asks within the manifesto towards a world class sporting system for Scotland.
The Scottish Sports Alliance has collaborated to produce this manifesto that will inform and guide the development of Scottish party manifestos for 2016.
The MSPs commented on the Manifesto:
The Scottish Conservative’s Liz Smith MSP said, “nobody can deny that sport is important and that it empowers people. It’s our challenge [as Scotland’s political parties] to ensure with our manifestos that we make people feel more comfortable [in sporting environments] and that sport is accessible and affordable.”
The Scottish Green Party’s Alison Johnstone MSP said, “[through sport] you build friendships that you can maintain through life – it really can transform lives. I think it has the potential to transform society too.” She continued, “if any party’s looking for how to get sport in their manifesto and how to take it forward in their manifestos, then I think we have all that we need here [in this Manifesto].”
Scottish Labour’s Mark Griffin MSP said, “[this manifesto] gives us real ammunition to try change government policy...we need to get the message out there about just how enjoyable sport is – we need to put a human face on sport.”
The Scottish National Party’s Bob Doris MSP said, “[this manifesto] will focus minds for the Scottish Government ahead of their own manifesto formulation for May’s election, and other political parties, I’m sure, will look at this in some detail and respond to it when they build their policy profile going forward. It’s about maximising the money that goes to sport and physical activity but it’s also about maximising monies that don’t traditionally go [to these areas] and using that to boost sport and physical activity. [There’s] a lot of information in this [manifesto] to drive a future Scottish Government’s policy, but also to drive the policy of local authorities going forward.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat’s leader Willie Rennie MSP said, “generations of children across Scotland have grown up watching their heroes take to the field at Hampden Park, BT Murrayfield and at local clubs right across the country. We need to ensure that the next generation has the chance to take part in sport too. Sport is about enjoyment, health and also community. It teaches values, the importance of hard work and teamwork. Getting more people involved in sport and keeping them active is hugely important. This manifesto from the SSA is an important contribution to the debate around how we can best increase participation."
Copies of ‘A Manifesto for Scottish Sport’ are available from the Scottish Sports Association website.