A significant milestone has been reached as sportscotland announced that in the last 20 years, over £235,000,000 of Scottish Government and National Lottery funding has been invested in clubs, communities, and leisure trusts across Scotland to improve the places where people take part in sport and physical activity.
Sports Minister, Maree Todd, was in Dundee to make the announcement and meet one of the most recent projects to benefit from investment, Street Soccer Scotland's Change Centre.
The Minister toured the Centre with sportscotland’s Head of Facilities, Mark Cowan, and Street Soccer Scotland’s CEO, David Duke, to hear how football is being used to provide hope and change lives. The Minister also viewed the site of latest addition to the centre, a new synthetic pitch which will be developed thanks to £75,000 of National Lottery investment from the Sport Facilities Fund.
After meeting centre users and volunteers, Sports Minister Maree Todd said: “I am delighted to visit the Change Centre today to celebrate sportscotland’s facilities investment milestone and hear more about Street Soccer’s programmes which seek to bring about positive change for participants and communities across Scotland through the power of football.
“This substantial investment demonstrates our belief in the continuing importance of sport and physical activity and the vital role it plays in communities.
“Our increased investment in sport, active living and physical activity over the Parliamentary term – as announced in our Programme for Government - aims to put sport and physical activity at the heart of Scotland’s recovery from the COVID pandemic, helping us achieve our vision of an active Scotland where everyone benefits from sport and physical activity for their physical, mental and social health.”
The investment for Street Soccer Scotland came from sportscotland's Sport Facilities Fund which makes awards for capital projects designed to create or improve the places where people take part in sport and physical activity.
Priority is given to projects that widen access to participation or allow people to progress further within their chosen sport locally by removing barriers, particularly for under-represented groups, and in rural areas or areas of deprivation.
Improving communities across Scotland
Since 2002, over 1000 projects have received investment from sportscotland and this investment is made possible thanks to National Lottery players, who raise £30 million each week for good causes across the UK.
Landmark sport facilities to have received funding include the Emirates Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow, Aberdeen Sports Village, the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, and the Regional Performance Centre at Caird Park in Dundee.
Just as important are the communities from the Scottish Borders to the Shetland Islands who have benefited from funding allowing them to deliver more and better facilities for sport and physical activity, tailored to meet local demand.
Projects as diverse as ice rinks in Inverness, skateparks in Stirling, bowling greens in Broxburn and shinty pitches in Strachur have all been supported by investment from sportscotland.
Head of Facilities at sportscotland, Mark Cowan, said: “This is a significant milestone for sportscotland’s sport facilities investment, but more importantly it demonstrates the ambition and commitment from the people behind these projects who are working together to improve the lives of their local communities.
“While these projects are primarily about providing more opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity, we know they can also provide a place for communities to come together and support one another, and this has been incredibly important in recent years.
“The Change Centre here in Dundee is a fantastic example of how working in partnership to maximise resources can have a life changing impact on people and communities; that is why we invest in the way that we do.”
Street Soccer Scotland provides football-themed training & personal development opportunities to help socially excluded men and women across Scotland feel better about themselves and their future.
Changing lives through sport
The Change Centre concept was developed back in 2017 and is now a fully functional community space addressing issues such as mental health, homelessness, substance misuse and general loneliness and isolation. The centre already has indoor football pitches, but this £75,000 investment from the Sport Facilities Fund will enable them to develop a new synthetic pitch allowing them to offer more opportunities for participation.
Welcoming the investment, David Duke, Chief Executive of Street Soccer Scotland, said:
“The Change Centre has been operational for just under a year now and already we have seen the impact on our communities and the people we serve. Having a space for people to play, learn, connect and access support from Street Soccer Scotland and a range of partner organisations is changing lives. The regeneration of the former Lynch Sport Centre has so far been supported by The Hunter Foundation, Northwood Trust and Social Innovation Partnership.
“We are delighted to receive this additional support of £75k from sportscotland as we work towards creating of an outdoor all weather football pitch.”
Projects are encouraged to engage with sportscotland’s facilities team at the earliest stage to ensure that their plans will have the greatest impact, make the most of the available investment and continue to meet the needs of their local communities in the future.
Find out more
Information on the Sport Facilities Fund
About the Change Centre Dundee and how to book a visit
About the work of Street Soccer Scotland