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Chair to the Board of sportscotland

Sport and physical activity
Issued by Scottish Government

The Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn, today announced the appointment of Mel Young as Chair of sportscotland.

Mr Young, founder of the Homeless World Cup and co-founder of The Big Issue in Scotland, has a background in using sport to drive social change and improve lives.

Mr Hepburn said:

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mel Young as Chair of sportscotland. Mel is someone who is not only passionate about sport, but also has a proven track record of harnessing the power of sport and physical activity to bring about positive changes in society. He understands that by encouraging people to take part in sport, we can help to improve people’s lives, particularly if they come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Mel brings a wealth of experience both through his present role as Vice Chair on the sportscotland Board and through his considerable expertise as a social entrepreneur. I look forward to working with him on our shared vision of an Active Scotland where more people are more active, more often and developing the sporting system in Scotland to ensure that it is truly a world class system for all.

“I’d also like to thank Louise Martin for her contribution over the last eight years, and wish her all the best for the future.”

Commenting on his appointment, Mel Young said:

“I am delighted to be appointed sportscotland’s next Chair and really excited about starting this new role. sportscotland’s partnerships with local authorities, governing bodies of sport, clubs and other organisations, coupled with Scottish Government and National Lottery investment, has produced a very impressive system right across community, club, and performance sport.

“My experience accumulated over three years as sportscotland’s Vice-Chair and seven years on the Board has given me a strong understanding of the power of sport and its capacity to improve people’s lives not only by making us healthier and more active but also by developing social skills, encouraging inclusivity, and providing inspiration.

“sportscotland’s current Chair, Louise Martin, is an incredibly influential figure in Scottish sport who has done a terrific job over the previous eight years, and I look forward to helping sportscotland and the sector maintain its momentum as we build a world-class system for all.”

Louise Martin CBE, current Chair of sportscotland, added:

“I am really pleased that Mel has been appointed by Scottish ministers to become sportscotland’s next Chair. Having sat on the Board for several years, including as Vice-Chair, Mel has been heavily involved in a really exciting period for Scottish sport, which encompassed the London and Glasgow Games, and his understanding of Scottish sport’s system and partnership approach will prove invaluable to him.

“I wish Mel every success when he starts in June and look forward to helping him settle in and collaborating with him in my role as President of the Commonwealth Games Federation.”

Mel Young is the President and founder of the Homeless World Cup, an organisation established to use sport as a mechanism to create change. He is a globally recognised social entrepreneur who co-founded The Big Issue in Scotland in 1993, the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) in 1995 and Social Entrepreneurs Network Scotland (Senscot) in 1999.

Mr Young is also a Fellow of the Schwab Foundation of the World Economic Forum and a Senior Ashoka Fellow - both international organisations that bring together leading social entrepreneurs. As current Vice Chair of sportscotland and Chair of the Ethics Committee, he has served on their Board since 2008. He is also a non-executive director on the Board of Glasgow Life.

This appointment will be for four years and will run from 1 June 2016 to 31 May 2020. This appointment is part-time and attracts a remuneration of £230 per day for a time commitment of 6.5 days per month.


Ministerial appointments

Mel Young is currently the Vice Chair of sportscotland and as a Board member £158 is payable for each day devoted to Board business. This appointment is regulated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.

Mr Young has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.


sportscotland is a non-departmental public body, responsible through Scottish Ministers to the Scottish Parliament. It is guided strategically by the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government as well as by the principles of Public Service Reform. sportscotland is also a National Lottery distributor. sportscotland is committed to Scottish Ministers’ vision of an Active Scotland and its strategy is aligned to the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework.