Across the country I have been delighted and inspired by the Legacy 2014 projects, programmes, events and ideas I have seen. We have 50 national programmes up and running benefiting the whole of Scotland. Already, 64 projects have been supported through the Legacy 2014 Active Places Fund. My colleagues in Parliament often talk to me about the superb legacy initiatives they encounter. There is so much to explore; my only disappointment is that I won’t be able to see everything by the time the Games begin.
A quick trip to Glasgow and the other host venues will show you preparations for the Games are well underway and we will be left with world class sporting facilities to enjoy for years to come. Here, I want to focus instead on the people who are already seeing the lasting legacy of the Games.
We have a target of 150 community sport hubs across Scotland. sportscotland are well on the way to achieving this goal. By coming together around these hubs sporting clubs can share knowledge, resources and help each other. Communities coming together is a key legacy of the Games and these hubs will open up sport and physical exercise to more people.
Last week I announced that 5,000 tickets for the Commonwealth Games will be used to say ‘thank you’ to individuals and groups involved in Legacy 2014 programmes. It’s only right we give back to those who are supporting the long term ambitions of the games.
The east end of Glasgow was instrumental in the bid for the Commonwealth Games and the community-owned Dalmarnock Legacy Hub, a new social recreational and educational centre in the shadow of the Emirates Arena, marks the next stage in the regeneration of the east end of Glasgow thanks to the Games.
Schools and young people were at the front of mind when we began planning the legacy of the Games. I have met many of the Youth Legacy Ambassadors during my visits to Legacy 2014 projects. Young Scot has attracted nearly one hundred and fifty ambassadors; their infectious enthusiasm for the Games has led them organise their own events and bring the community together.
Our Game on Scotland ambassador, international hockey player Holly Cram, has been engaging schools attending award ceremonies and prize-giving and inspiring people to get involved in sport.
This flagship Legacy 2014 programme Game on Scotland uses the Commonwealth Games to inspire young people by providing a rich variety of learning opportunities across the curriculum, including a focus on global citizenship and health and wellbeing.
The business benefits of the Games are spread throughout Scotland. Contracts worth more than £250 million has been awarded to more than 400 companies across 23 local authorities. From building firms to social businesses, the legacy of the Games is more people in employment and training, and a Scottish economy benefiting from the Games.
Many young people are advancing their career prospects through the Games. Just the other day during a Legacy 2014 tour of the Borders I met Ainsley Robertson at the Waggon Inn in Kelso, he is one of over seven hundred young who have benefited from Legacy 2014 Employer Recruitment Incentive. Ainsley is working towards a Modern Apprenticeship under the guidance of his employer Joyce and his food tasted great!
But it’s not just at home that are enjoying the legacy of the Games. From the scented cities of Asia, the vibrant colours of Africa and the idyllic islands of the Pacific the Queen’s Baton Relay has touched lives across the Commonwealth. We are building links, friendships and bonds to bear fruit in the future.
There is, of course, more we can and so many ways for people still to get involved. You can find out more on the Be Part of It section of this very website.
If you are using the Legacy 2014 in your school or community we would like to hear from you. Please share your pictures, thoughts, events and links in the comment box below.