Scottish Rugby Commended For Investment In Youth

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill hailed the resounding success of Scottish Rugby's youth activities part-funded by the Scottish Government's CashBack for Communities scheme. Through its significant contribution to Scottish Rugby's national development network, the funding has help boost the number of young people taking part in rugby activities to over 43,000 since August.Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill hailed the resounding success of Scottish Rugby's youth activities part-funded by the Scottish Government's CashBack for Communities scheme.

Through its significant contribution to Scottish Rugby's national development network, the funding has help boost the number of young people taking part in rugby activities to over 43,000 since August.

Head of community rugby, Colin Thomson, said: "The CashBack investment in Scottish Rugby has contributed significantly to the funds allocated to Scottish Rugby's nationwide network of rugby development officers. The primary focus of these development officers is to further increase the numbers of adults and children playing rugby by hosting rugby events and forging solid links between the schools and the clubs to maximise the opportunities to play rugby in their area.

_x001C_The increased funds available to Scottish Rugby's development network - as a result of the CashBack investment - has meant that more development officers have been recruited, providing more children with the opportunity to play rugby across Scotland.

_x001C_Since the schools went back in August, Scottish Rugby have been able to deliver 4897 school, club, coach education and Street Rugby sessions to, 43,580 young people."

Neil Carrie, Scottish Rugby's community rugby project development manager added: "The CashBack for Communities funding for Scottish Rugby is significant in allowing us to grow our successful development structure and therefore offer increased opportunities for young people to play and even coach rugby in more schools, clubs and communities; particularly those not traditionally exposed to rugby.

_x001C_Street Rugby in particular, is an exciting programme where we can offer a fun, non-contact version of rugby at a local sports facility, street or car park; where young men and women can play together. We hope that their involvement in sport will have a positive impact on their lives and on their communities as a result."

The CashBack for Communities scheme takes the ill-gotten gains from serious organised criminals and reinvests them in our communities to make a real difference to the lives of our young people.

Speaking in advance of meeting young people taking part in a joint Street Football and Street Rugby event in Hawick, Kenny MacAskill said: _x001C_The vast majority of our youngsters are good, law-abiding kids. However, there are still too many getting involved in crime and antisocial behaviour.

_x001C_The devil finds time for idle hands. Giving kids the chance to burn off their energy playing football or rugby keeps them from getting into mischief or worse.

_x001C_Who knows in a few years some of these youngsters could be facing the Springboks at Murrayfield or playing for Scotland's men's or women's national football squad.

_x001C_From the Highlands and Islands to the Borders, through initiatives such as Street Rugby and the other strands of our CashBack for Communities scheme, we are giving our young people the opportunity to realise their potential and be all they can be.

_x001C_For instance, the joint Scottish FA / Scottish Rugby project in Hawick, assisted by the local community safety team, is the kind of partnership working that can show our youngsters that there is much more to life than drink, drugs and offending._x001D_

Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell said: _x001C_The CashBack scheme offers our young people the chance to put their energies into something positive and is a great way to support and encourage them to get involved in sport.

_x001C_This investment builds on the significant funding and support the Scottish Government already gives to both sports. Just last week we announced £835,074 investment in rugby through sportscotland which is already being spent by Scottish Rugby to boost the number of youth players and improve coaching for community rugby across the country.

_x001C_Hopefully many of the young people who will take part in CashBack events will look to have a long term involvement in sport whether that is through playing, coaching or in another capacity.