Big race on to create Glasgow Commonwealth Games legacy

11th March 2011 at 00:00
Efforts to reap long-term rewards from London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 are focusing on youth, writes Jackie Cosh

Next year the Olympic Games come to London; in 2014 the Commonwealth Games come to Glasgow. Organisations such as Young Scot have been taking every opportunity to promote the games and encourage involvement in the "games legacy".

In 2008, when the Scottish Government conducted a wide consultation into what the people of Scotland wanted from both games, input came from many organisations, mainly saying they wanted Scotland to become healthier and more active, and sport to play a bigger part in their lives.

Four main themes emerged, which became the four themes of the legacy plan. Described as the lasting benefits that the Commonwealth Games will leave for Scotland when they finish in August 2014, they are that Scotland should be more active, connected, flourishing and sustainable.

Plans are in place for each of the 32 local authorities to have a community sports hub where local people and clubs can come together, offering easier access to sports facilities and encouraging the development of local sports.

More than 700 schools took part in Scotland's national school sports week last June, and approximately 900 schools and colleges have signed up to Get Set, the official London 2012 education programme for schools and colleges across the UK.

Last year Young Scot began recruiting youth legacy ambassadors - young people, aged 14 to 22, to promote these themes throughout their local authority for two years, encouraging a more active lifestyle.

"The idea is to get young people aged 14 to 22 to link with and to deliver the legacy themes," says Gregor Urquhart of Young Scot. "They are very important and are the centre of the work - peer educators, champions. There are `legacy leads' in the 32 local authorities whom the ambassadors connect with and the ambassadors are given the opportunity to write online articles, blogs, podcasts. They have been involved in a BBC show on the legacy, and one of the ambassadors interviewed Sebastian Coe."

Vincent Howard, 19, from Strichen in Aberdeenshire, snowboards and is a member of a local sailing club. He is also one of the 80 youth legacy ambassadors trained by Young Scot and working for a Youth Achievement Award.

He says: "The email went to the sailing club I am part of. I applied and was accepted. I want to give something back to the community, to get more young people involved in sailing and to raise its profile."

Vincent is working full-time, while studying for a degree in mechanical and manufacturing engineering. Keen to encourage people to think of sailing as a viable option, in the same way they would think of football, he is currently preparing for a sailing open day in June.

"The open day will promote the Commonwealth Games in Aberdeenshire, as well as upping the profile of sailing," he says. "I hope to have a variety of organisations with stalls there and am currently organising banners, posters and T-shirts. The day will be a taster for people to try sailing and hopefully get them hooked."

Young Scot has provided training for all 80 ambassadors. A two-day residential course last August covered what the role entails and ideas on what to do, as well as promoting their work in the local media.

"Last week I was at the Young Scot office in Edinburgh, where I had a meeting about more specific details. It was really helpful," says Vincent. "I spend at least one hour a day on it, organising things and getting the ball rolling. The work is ongoing. It is about more than just getting involved in the games. It is about putting back into the community and getting people more involved. The plan is to review after the event and plan the next."

The games legacy team at the Scottish Government has been pro-active. A Glow group has been set up for sharing ideas, and schools are using the games themes to engage with Curriculum for Excellence.

"The games are in Glasgow but the Commonwealth Games are for all of Scotland," says Mr Urquhart. "It is not just about two weeks of sport and then it's all over. It is about regeneration."


A Games Legacy for Scotland was launched in Glasgow in September 2009. It set out ambitions for achieving a lasting legacy for all of Scotland from Glasgow 2014, as well as London 2012 and the Ryder Cup in 2014.

The idea is to use the inspiration of the games to bring wider benefits to Scotland, not only getting people more involved in sports but getting them to be more physically active in their everyday lives.

The legacy themes - that Scotland should be more active, connected, flourishing and sustainable - mean:

- People across Scotland becoming more involved in sport and other physical activities;

- more cultural links with other countries and communities, with more awareness of Scotland's position in the world;

- doing what we can to make Scotland a place where people want to live and spend time, with more opportunities to work;

- making Scotland greener and an example from which other countries will learn.


Scotstoun Stadium will host the athletics at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

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