Sport participation rises in Scotland

cricketer Image copyright DAVID MARIUZ
Image caption There has been a big increase in the number of people playing cricket in Scotland in recent years

The number of people participating in sport in Scotland has increased in recent years, according to new figures.

The SportScotland statistics showed the overall number of people registered to sports clubs had risen from 706,764 to 768,212 since 2013/14.

The rise applied to almost all sports for which data was available, and was recorded across all age groups.

Cricket has seen a 50% rise in participation to 17,000 over the past two years.

That was largely due a big increase in the number of children playing the sport.

Golf, basketball, athletics and tennis have also seen increased participation in recent years.

'Potential stars'

SNP MSP Clare Haughey, the deputy convenor of Holyrood's health and sport committee, said the figures showed the success of the Scottish government in getting more people of all ages into sport.

She added: "Scotland is a nation with a fantastic sporting heritage. It is great to see people's participation rates rising - improving people's health across the country, as well as helping develop our potential stars of the future."

Meanwhile, five groups are to share almost £750,000 of Commonwealth Games legacy funding in a bid to encourage Scots to become more physically active.

The money is being awarded to Clyde Gateway, Creative Scotland, Street Soccer Scotland, Spirit of 2012 and Young Scot.

The awards are the latest from the Legacy Active Places Fund, which has distributed a total of £10m to 188 projects across Scotland since the Glasgow 2014 Games.

The Legacy Active Place Fund is a Scottish government project supported by SportScotland.

'Remove barriers'

Aileen Campbell, minister for public health and sport, announced the latest awards during a visit to Ettrick Forest Archers in Selkirk.

The group were awarded £12,044 in 2014 to fund the creation of a clubhouse and storage facility.

Ms Campbell said: "We know how important an active lifestyle is for both our physical and mental health, so it's fantastic to see communities right across Scotland embrace the Games legacy and come together to deliver projects that are helping people become more active."

Louise MacDonald, chief executive of Young Scot, said the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games made a "huge impression" on young people across Scotland.

She added: "We recognise how important it is to ensure that the lasting legacy of the Games continues by providing young people with opportunities to engage and lead activity, remove barriers to participation and recognise their achievements."