In his latest Post column, Clydebank Councillor Gordon Scanlan shares his thoughts on the rising cost of grassroots sports in the community...

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Recently, I’ve been thinking deeply about what matters to our community.

Whilst community sports might not be regularly at the top of the political agenda, it is vital that residents of all ages have the opportunity to partake in physical activity in an affordable manner.

The local amateur football team appearing in last week’s copy of the Clydebank Post made some very pertinent points about the rise in facility costs across our community making it even more challenging to continue playing matches.

I understand the dramatic rise in energy costs affects our facilities in the same manner that it affects us all in our homes. However, it is imperative that our local residents aren’t priced out of sport.

Physical activity should be available for residents of all ages and I spent more than 10 years of my life delivering this to children all across our community for Active Schools.

The benefits of our young people undertaking these activities cannot be understated, from developing coordination at a crucial stage of a young person’s development to developing social skills, physical fitness and health and even the opportunity to use physical activity to educate.

One such programme I delivered for a number of years was the Faifley kids club at Skypoint.

This club was free for the children, thanks to funding from Scottish Government programmes, and combined the benefits of a local club in our community with the opportunity to try a variety of games and sports at no charge and even eventually developed into a series of camps.

It is an excellent example of what can be done with investment and joined-up thinking.

I’ve covered rigorously the way that I feel the recent West Dunbartonshire Trust restructure will impact Active Schools and sports development and potentially put some of these service provisions at risk.

The truth is that we require a revolution in Scotland.

There isn't enough investment in sports and physical activity, not enough opportunities for individuals of all ages to take part, not enough coach education and not enough full-time coaching and development positions to retain an experienced professional workforce for life.

My own experience would suggest the average age of a coach retiring in the area is around the mid-20s, as there simply are not enough employment opportunities to justify remaining in the field.

We have a mental and physical health crisis in Scotland. Sport and physical activity could be one of our greatest tools to combat this but Scotland requires root and branch changes and a national revolution to make taking part in sport and physical activity a lifelong venture part of our national culture.