ALBA: All Young People to Get Universal Free Access to Sports Facilities 

Posted by Alexander Torrance, April 14 

The ALBA Party want a MILLION young people across Scotland to be entitled to free access to Sports Facilities across the country as part of measures to help in the recovery from Coronavirus.

ALBA Party, led by Alex Salmond, who are aiming to deliver a “SuperMajority for Independence” by standing on the list in the upcoming election, believe that sports facilities across Scotland have become too expensive and risk pricing many children out of participating in sport.

The party would bring forward proposals to fund free access to sports facilities ranging from Golf, football pitches, gyms, and swimming pools for young people under the age of 18 if they have representation elected to the Scottish Parliament in next months election.

Across Scotland access to sports facilities has increased year on year, above inflation. Last year Sports Scotland’s Charges for sports facilities report showed in a review of benchmark prices that there was a 9.6% increase in the cost of golf to young people whereas swimming lessons increased by an eye watering 14%.

The report also shows a post code lottery in the cost for youth football teams to access training and match facilities. The cost per hour for an outdoor synthetic (3G) pitch is £16.50 an hour in the Highland Council area but in Edinburgh City, youngsters are charged a staggering £84 per hour.

ALBA candidate on the Lothians Regional list Alex Arthur wants the new Scottish Parliament to focus on making sport free to young people so that it can have a better impact on helping them achieve positive outcomes as the country recovers from the impacts of the Coronavirus. ALBA party believe that cost has made sport increasingly more difficult to access for young people as well as putting strain on the viability of youth sports clubs across Scotland.

Arthur, the former Commonwealth Boxing Gold Medalist and WBO Featherweight Champion of the World knows first hand how important sport is to improving the life chances of young people. The proposal will be incorporated in ALBA’s election manifesto, with the party set to have its final candidates policy event at the weekend, with the free access to sports facilities offering contributing to the party’s position on Health and Inequality.

Commenting Lothian’s List Candidate Alex Arthur said announcing the policy:

“ Sport is well placed to be at the forefront of helping Scotland recover from the Coronavirus. It is clear though that across the country it is a lottery in terms of how affordable access is. By making access to sports facilities universally free to every young person in Scotland it gives every young Scot an equal opportunity to participate in sport.

“ This will be good for young people in many different ways but ultimately it will help our young people start a journey to a much fitter life, something which makes this policy one that Scotland can’t afford not to roll out. “

ALBA Candidate in the West of Scotland Cllr Chris McEleny believes that ALBA’s proposal to make access to sport free for young people will make a massive impact on improving local communities. The Senior Councillor believes that the approach will help sustain Sports Clubs across Scotland as well as having a longer term benefit on health and reducing inequality.

Commenting, McEleny who has represented Inverclyde for the past decade, a community which the latest SIMD data shows has the most deprived areas in Scotland, said:

“ Free access to sports facilities for young people would be a game changer. From football clubs to swimming clubs, athletics clubs to boxing clubs, and access to young people as individuals to facilities such as gyms, this policy would make a real difference to communities.

“ All too often people tell me that there simply isn’t enough for young people to do, but a major barrier to that is being priced out of sport and exercise.

“ This policy has the potential to save the NHS half a billion in treatment costs, and it can help bring billions back into the economy. We have learned in the last year that weight was a key factor in the Coronavirus, as it is for many other issues faced by the NHS. By making access to sports facilities free for young people we will see an immediate benefit to communities across Scotland, and it would help address many of the interconnected issues that are factors of deprivation and health inequality. “

Delia Henry, who is also an ALBA candidate, and was previously Scotland Director for Diabetes UK has welcomed the benefits the policy can provide. She added:

“ Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and improves both physical and mental health. All children and young people should do at least an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. This includes most sports and games. In Scotland, we have almost a quarter of a million children and young people between the agree of two and fifteen at risk of obesity and access to local grassroots sports would allow them the opportunity to have healthy lifestyles which would have lifelong positive impacts on their wellbeing.”

The ALBA party will conclude their candidates policy events at the weekend and the party’s full manifesto will be launched on Tuesday 20th April.

Support and share the Alba Crowdfunder

10 thoughts on “NEW POLICY ANNOUNCED

  1. Love it. Get everyone cooking with garlic, ginger and chillies for every meal, and the number of debilitated people would drop like a stone!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent idea. A levy on owners of wind turbine profits could be taken to pay for that and pension fund, then we’d have something to comfort our lloss of landscape.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a sensible sound policy.

    Supporting young people to get into the habit of exercise and sport is a wonderful policy.. life enhancing exercise and sport. Encouraged from a young age. Creating fit youngsters, cCresting habits for a lifetime. Maybe even creating future sport champions.

    Quite why this as a policy was never though5 of before and or implemented one does wonder. There’s been enough adverts and talk about youngsters needing to take more exercise. Great policy this, and so simple.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Click to access Scotland_Referendum_final.pdf

    Paper by Oxford University academic and cabinet advisor to the Edinburgh Agreement leading up to the 2014 referendum.

    Interesting paper in which Prof Ciaran Martin’s analysis is that there is no democratic route to Scottish Independence. What England wants England gets. Force of law will prevail against consent.

    His analysis also opines that Scottish devolution is not permanent and that it can, and in fact will be taken away. You do not defend the union by granting more powers. That he concludes is underway with the Internal Market Bill legislating in Scottish matters without reference to Hoolyrood and with the deployment of UK civil servants to govern accordingly in matters of resumed Westminster control.

    He further concludes that unlike Ireland, the Scots have a tradition of pursuing independence peacefully, without as one wag quotes ……’even a nosebleed’. And that observation very much reflects the attitude of what Westminster thinks, how it strings Scotland along, and then does as it pleases. Put simply, we bought the sacred vow, were given the forever powers which are now being taken away, so crawl off now Jackie into your corner.

    But read professor Martin’s paper. Draw your own conclusions. There is more. He has deep insight into the mechanisms of Westminster governance and the mindset that drives it.

    And that is why we need an Alba Party, a strong parliamentary majority, and people with the iron resolve to take on the English Establishment and win.

    And win we can! The English after all lost all their other colonies. And they will lose so again.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Very good, and all very well – but I want to know Alba’s economic proposals. This ‘free sport for young people’ is pottering around the edges and is unlikely to work without the infrastructure we need for real change – then if you tackle & resolve poverty, things like this become by-the-by.

    Give us land reform, give people jobs and a thriving industrial and business sector, give us independence – and do it WELL – and ‘free sport’ (but only if you are young, huh) doesn’t need to be a thing. It’s a devolution policy like making play parks look nice. I want to see the core issues addressed!

    An holistic approach – does this policy work as a stand-alone one, or does it work into the whole? What is the whole? I want to see an orchestration of ideas.

    Yes, yes, I’m being demanding and impatient. But I’d like to see strong foundations – I’d vote for Alba without that, and will do so without a doubt, but I still need to see a good reason to vote for SNP, who are not my friend, and that means Alba – if they think there should be any SNP vote at all – would do well to present unarguable, solid economic policies that will force the Scottish Parliament into agreeing with them (ie capable of holding any SNP gov’t to account).

    Iain – what are Alba spending all the Crowdfunder money on, and how fast can they spend it?

    I heard on radio Scotland this morning about how risky it was for the SNP to mention independence in case it ‘scares off voters’,,, um,,, do they understand how democracy works? If you have one main big policy, you can’t just not mention it! People decide if they want to vote for it or not – only unionists are ‘scared’ off, because,,, they don’t agree with it. Everyone has gone totally bonkers, honestly. It would be a bit like a totally ridiculous concept of, say, having a policy of removing women’s sex-based rights, but not mentioning it in case women didn’t vote for you, but you planned to do it anyway – imagine that level of dishonesty eh?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Excellent, thanks Iain. I realised I’d contributed to the crowdfunder, rather than directly to Alba, without checking if it was for anything specific (but assumed it was for campaigning materials right enough). Just a bit of panic on my part too as time seems very short (I’m limiting my time online too, for health reasons, so feeling very restricted just now!) – I’m sure everything is hectic for you and Alba just now and I’m not expecting miracles (well,,, sort of), so keep up the hard work 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I am all for this, it will pay for itself over and over again on saving in the NHS and sport builds confidence and why not self-defence for children to teenagers, although learning to run fast is possibly the best self-defence you can get.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hopefully the voting system will be changed
    For Independence.
    Any parties standing have to be listed and registered in Scotland.
    Land reform, no point in compensating those ,
    When their ancestors stole the land in the first place.


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