Scotland's Minister for Sport, Joe FitzPatrick, met armed forces veterans at the sportscotland Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre as the redeveloped facility celebrated its first full year of operation.
The state-of-the-art residential sports training centre is the first of its kind in the UK, designed for inclusivity. It reopened in August 2017 following a £12million investment by sportscotland and the Scottish Government and is open to users of all levels of physical and sensory ability.
The world-class venue is regularly used by high-performance athletes, sports clubs, school and education groups, governing bodies of sport and the local community. Wider corridors, door frames and communal areas are central to Inverclyde, with all 60 residential rooms at the site able to accommodate two wheelchair users at a time and exceeding current mobility access requirements.
Inverclyde has firmly developed a reputation for sporting excellence and regularly welcomes football clubs including Rangers, Kilmarnock and Manchester United youth squads. Team Scotland gymnasts used the facility in the run-up to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, while Boccia UK are a regular user of Inverclyde for training camps and competitions.
Several local schools and community groups, including Help for Heroes, also regularly take advantage of the facilities available at Inverclyde. Help for Heroes work closely with staff at the centre to provide opportunities for veterans who have been injured in conflicts around the world as part of their recovery.
Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe FitzPatrick MSP, said: "I am delighted to visit Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre as it celebrates its first year in use. The variety of groups using the facility today demonstrates how valuable it is both to the community and high-performance athletes.
"As the only centre of its kind in the UK, designed for inclusivity, it was fantastic to see it being used by veterans as part of a Help for Heroes rehabilitation programme. I also enjoyed meeting the sportscotland Board and look forward to working with them to achieve our vision of a Scotland where more people are more active more often.”
Inverclyde head of centre, Barry Fleeting, said: “When we reopened Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre we were determined to ensure that it would become a huge asset, not just for high-performance athletes but also for schools, sports clubs, governing bodies and the local community. That has certainly been the case.
“To be home to the UK’s first residential sports centre, designed specifically with inclusivity in mind, is a fact that we are all very proud of at Inverclyde.
"The facilities on offer here are genuinely world-class and are making a very real difference to those people who are using the centre on a daily basis.
“It has been an exceptionally busy first full year for everyone at Inverclyde and we are determined to build on our successes in the months ahead.”
Prior to its redevelopment, several existing residential sports centres across the UK and Europe were studied to identify best practice and create a unique proposition that would cater for the wide range of guests who use the centre. In addition to the world-class sports facilities, there are 60 twin bedrooms, several of which have been adapted with hoists for guests with additional support needs.
Facilities at Inverclyde include an international-standard gymnastics hall, a fully inclusive fitness and physical preparation area incorporating a cardiovascular fitness suite, free and fixed weights, dedicated platform weights, a three-lane 20m sprint track, rebound wall and two studios suitable for fitness and martial arts use.
The main sports hall can accommodate up to eight badminton courts or two full-size netball, basketball or volleyball courts and there is a separate 3G indoor hall developed to FIFA and World Rugby standards. Outdoor facilities include five grass football or rugby pitches, a 3G 7-a-side pitch, a target range, synthetic 5 and 7-a-side pitches and tennis courts. A golf practice facility is currently under redevelopment.