The Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities initiative announced on Wednesday 7 May a £2.25 million investment to ensure even more young people can experience the benefits of rugby.
The funding will enable Scottish Rugby to continue to deliver the grassroots programmes which have seen a 56 per cent increase in registered rugby players in clubs and schools since 2008. This includes 29 Schools of Rugby across the country as well as their highly successful Street Rugby sessions.
The announcement brings the total amount we have invested and committed to encouraging young people into rugby activity through the SRU to more than £5.9m – with £74 million invested or committed through Cashback overall since 2008. £1.25m of CashBack funds has also been invested in rugby facilities across the country through sportscotland.
One region in particular that has benefited from CashBack funding is Ayrshire, which now has over 3,600 registered players in clubs and schools across Ayr, Cumnock, Carrick, Marr, Kilmarnock, Irvine, Ardrossan and Garnock.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, met with some of the participants when he visited Kilmarnock. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, said:
Since Cashback for Communities was introduced by this Government in 2007, thousands of young people have benefited from over 1.2 million sporting, arts and community activities, all funded from ill-gotten cash seized from crooks.
There is no doubt that our young people are the key to building a healthier, more prosperous Scotland for the future and I am delighted to announce over £2.25 million of funding being made available to Scottish Rugby for investing in our young people and their communities. Today’s announcement brings the total amount we have invested and committed to encouraging young people into rugby activity through the SRU to more than £5.9m since Cashback began, with a further £1.25m being invested in rugby facilities across the country.
The funding will support Scottish Rugby deliver 29 schools of rugby as well as Street Rugby and will continue to give young people a positive alternative to becoming involved in anti-social behaviour by encouraging them to become more active and healthy, and adopt good values and behaviours.
Cashback is uniquely placed to tap into the significant potential of every young person and contribute to our Legacy ambitions of a flourishing, active Scotland. It is always a privilege to meet those who have benefited from the initiative and hear the positive impact the programme has had on their lives, and I am delighted that the Scottish Government will continue to fund Cashback into 2017.
Scottish Rugby President, Donald Macleod, added:
We welcome once again this significant investment from the Scottish Government, which will enable us to continue to open doors for young people, boys and girls, from all walks of life, not just to enjoy our sport but to become active physically, with communities and society as a whole, around the country, very much the winner.
Former pupil of Grange Academy’s School of Rugby, Gregor Paxton, is a prime example of someone who has thrived as a result of Scottish Rugby’s initiatives funded by CashBack, having recently been selected to play at international level with Scotland under 16.
Paxton, who played for his local club Kilmarnock before moving onto Ayr this season, said:
I’ve played rugby since the age of three, but it wasn’t until I went to Grange Academy and became involved in the School of Rugby programme that I was able to work on my fitness and skills every day.
Not only has it helped me achieve my ambition of playing for Scotland at age-grade level, but I feel my studies have also improved as the daily exercise helps me concentrate on other lessons. It’s great news to hear that Scottish Rugby will be able to continue this programme so more people like me will benefit from it.