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INTERVIEW


Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, at the official opening of the Emirates Arena


delivered in places like residential cen- tres, church halls and care homes. “Our aim now is to scale up these in-


terventions so we can deliver outcomes at a population level, rather than just among a few thousand people. We never rest on our laurels – we’re always looking to move programmes on.”


ACTIVITY LEGACY So returning to the idea of growing the pie, how has Glasgow fared in that respect recently? Certainly perceptions of the city among outsiders are, I ven- ture, of a very sedentary population with huge health challenges and social inequalities. But as Garrett explains, the picture isn’t all doom and gloom: “We certainly face tough challenges. Glasgow has some of the poorest health indicators in the country, and the eco- nomic conditions have been tough – we’ve had to cut £10.5m from our budget in the last three years, and need to save about another £5m in the next two. But we’ve met these challenges without closing facilities or making any compulsory redundancies. “Glasgow itself is also an exciting


place to be at the moment, with a lot of new development and a real buzz about the place. It was even voted one of the top 10 cities in the world for sport recently, in the SportBusiness Ultimate


“OUR VELODROME COACHING SESSIONS ARE BOOKED UP MONTHS IN ADVANCE. WE CAN ABSOLUTELY TRACE THAT TO THE OLYMPICS”


Sports City 2012 Awards. This was based on a range of criteria, including not only provision but also participation. “Off the back of the Olympics, we saw


increased attendance and participation of around 10 per cent across the city – not just at our facilities, but also at local sports clubs. Some sports, such as those in which Scots did particularly well – Andy Murray in the tennis, for example, and Sir Chris Hoy in the velodrome – have seen even more of an uplift. Our velodrome coaching sessions at the Emirates Arena are booked up months in advance. We can absolutely track that back to the Olympics. “We’re now focusing on the 2014


Commonwealth Games. We’ve been working on that legacy project for a couple of years, because it’s not just about increasing participation after the Games but also in the run-up. We’re focusing heavily on getting coaching standards up to scratch, making sure the capacity’s in place and so on. “The experience of hosting the Games will build valuable competencies among


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our staff and others working in this sector. That skill set will be a part of the Commonwealth Games legacy, and we’re hoping it will help in Glasgow’s bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympics. “The legacy’s not just about how


many people come to our facilities, though – it’s a city-wide initiative, and this goes back to my comment about growing the pie generally. “It’s about getting more people into


local sports clubs, boosting school sport and so on. We’re very involved in sports clubs across the city, even if we don’t operate them: we work with them to source funding, improve coaching stan- dards and create development channels for their youth sports setups. “For us, it’s about improving the city’s


overall physical activity offering – a key goal within the legacy is to ensure we don’t leave anyone behind. We’re working hard to develop a


cradle-to-grave offering that gets us out into the hard-to-reach groups, re- ally driving the population-wide impact we’re hoping to achieve. ●


Issue 1 2013 © cybertrek 2013


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