Jo listens to local sports concerns ahead of Sportscotland meeting

Jo Swinson MP has taken soundings from a local football team and athletics club ahead of talks with national sports agency Sportscotland.

In meetings yesterday, Jo discussed ways in which the potential of the 2012 Olympics and Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games bid could be used to benefit sport in East Dunbartonshire, with Baljaffray Utd manager Raymond McLaren and Kirkintilloch Olympians’ coach Jim McLoone.

Kirkintilloch Olympians have five members between the ages of 14 and 17 representing Scotland at a variety of events, however poor facilities are seen as an obstacle to the club achieving greater success.

Jo commented:

“The 2012 Olympics are happening in London, but the effects will be felt across the country. Similarly, Glasgow’s 2014 bid offers a great opportunity to boost sport right across Scotland. By getting involved early we can maximise the benefits for sport in this area.

“As well as this productive meeting to discuss the new facilities needed by Baljaffray Utd and Kirkintilloch Olympians, I have had helpful and interesting feedback from sports clubs across East Dunbartonshire.

“This feedback will give me plenty of points to discuss when I meet with Sportscotland, and I plan to make it clear to them that people in East Dunbartonshire want the area to be known for sporting success.”

Jo Swinson with Jim McLoone and members of Kirkintilloch OlympiansRaymond McLaren added:

“The main problem for our team is poor facilities, especially our changing rooms, which have not been improved for decades. I’m sure other clubs are in the same position as us – more investment in sport at grassroots level is badly needed.

“At the moment there is no local fund to look after pitches. Various pilot schemes in other parts of the country have addressed this, and we should be modelling ourselves on these. There is also a need for more full-size indoor pitches, which are few and far between.

Jim McLoone of Kirkintilloch Olympians said:

“We have a large membership and the potential of some of our athletes is enormous, but too often we end up losing them to clubs with better facilities.

“The track at Merkland badly needs resurfacing, to give the youngsters taking part up-to-date facilities and the best possible chance to develop their talents.

“There are often kids hanging around, drinking and causing trouble at the track. My aim is to find a way of getting them involved in the sport, instead of disrupting it, but we do not have the facilities or manpower at present.

“I am impressed by Jo Swinson’s dedication in trying to improve sport in the area.”

Baljaffray Utd are currently recruiting players for the new season. Anyone interested should contact Raymond McLaren on 07831 472169.

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