Christmas is coming early for young people across Scotland after a £1.43m boost from the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities to build new, full-sized 3G pitches.
The fund will provide money seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act for synthetic turf rugby and football pitches at five venues across Scotland.
Priority has been given to bids for pitches with projects working with young people in areas that experience antisocial behaviour and crime.
This is the first wave of funding allocations from a pot of £3.15 million; the next wave will be announced in the new year. The cash comprises £2 million from the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme, coupled with £1 million from sportscotland and £150,000 from WREN.
The CashBack funding has come from a £5.6 million payment from Aberdeen-based oil and gas company Abbot Group after the firm used the Crown Office’s self-reporting initiative to admit benefitting from corrupt payments made in an overseas deal.
Applications for funding were invited from partnerships between local authorities and local football and rugby clubs. The successful applicants and locations are:
• Aberdeen City Council at Central Park, Dyce Academy Playing Field, Dyce, Aberdeen (£300,000)
• Stonehaven Community Group at Mineralwell Park, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire (£280,000)
• City of Edinburgh Council at Malleny Park, Balerno, Edinburgh (£300,000 including £50,000 WREN funding)
• Strathaven Rugby Football Club at Whiteshawgate Park, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire (£300,000)
• Dalziel High School Memorial Trust at Dalziel Park, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire (£250,000 including £50,000 WREN funding)
At a visit to Malleny Park with pupils from Balerno High School , Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
“Today’s announcement is a perfect example of how criminal money can be seized and used for good to make communities richer places to live.
“These pitches will allow young people to access facilities that keep them out of trouble and encourage them to lead healthy and happy lives. The fact these pitches can be used for both football and rugby all year round means we are encouraging the next generation of sportsmen and women to develop their full potential.
“This government has now redistributed more than £50 million in criminal money to good causes through this unique Scottish programme, with dozens of CashBack-funded sports facilities now in place across Scotland to provide a tangible legacy that communities can use and enjoy for years to come.”
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “At sportscotland we firmly believe in the power of sport to change lives and transform communities.
"That is why we have made an additional £1 million of funding available to complement Cashback support for projects such as the five announcedtoday.
“sportscotland is committed to investing in quality facilities as part of its drive towards developing a world-class sporting system at all levels.
"Increasing and improving the opportunities for people to become involved in sport and physical activity locally is right at the heart of that commitment and it’s fantastic to see more communities across Scotland set to benefit as a result of this funding.”