Sport In The Community

The importance of sport in the community is confirmed in the Scottish Government Policy document 'Reaching Higher: Building on the Success of Sport 21'. This paper states:

“Reaching Higher focuses on the promotion, delivery, playing and enjoyment of sport. Key to this is developing a culture where sport is valued for the pleasure and quality it brings to people’s lives and for the pride and recognition it brings to our nation.

“Reaching Higher sets out four national priorities which the Scottish Ministers believe will build and sustain a sporting infrastructure enabling it to deliver the national outcomes. These priorities are:

  • Well trained people
  • Strong organisations
  • Quality facilities
  • Providing player pathways.

“These are the building blocks, the components that when put together help us rise to the challenges and enable us to reach higher. We should not underestimate their importance, the need for new approaches and partnership working”.

With regard to quality facilities 'Reaching Higher' notes:

"Quality facilities are fundamental to the strategy’s delivery. The availability, accessibility and quality of facilities influence whether people take part in sport, which sports they enjoy, how often they participate and how well they perform.

“Research has revealed the extent of the ageing stock of built facilities and highlighted that significant investment is required ... We must be more imaginative in the refurbishment, design and location of new buildings so they meet the needs of a wide range of sports and are sufficiently flexible to meet changing trends. Facilities should also be sustainable in financial and environmental terms."

Community Involvement - BATs and ACE

EAFC is about so much more than the 1st XV. It is the largest rugby club by playing membership in Scotland, regularly fielding four adult teams. However, EAFC sees the coaching, encouragement and participation of school children and teenagers, as well as all levels of adult ability, as an essential and integral part of its remit.

To this end, and in partnership with Broughton and Trinity rugby clubs, EAFC formed a new community rugby club, BATs (Broughton Accies Trinity) based at Raeburn Place. BATs works in partnership with a number of local schools, including Broughton High School, Drummond Community High School, Craigroyston Community High School and Trinity Academy, along with their 16 cluster primary schools, providing rugby coaching sessions. There are also Friday afternoon sessions and Summer and Easter camps held at Raeburn Place. BATs is seen by the SRU as an exemplar initiative which they would like to see emulated by other clubs. A significant number of former BATs players have already progressed into the EAFC 1st XV, whilst some have joined the professional ranks of Edinburgh Rugby and others have received age grade international caps.

EAFC has also recently established ACE (Accies' Centre of Excellence) which is targeting those players aged between 16 and 20 who show a particular aptitude for the game. It is hoped ACE will further enhance the quality and quantity of players at the Club.

Both of these initiatives require appropriate facilities and coaching expertise. It is therefore essential that better facilities can be provided and ongoing income can be generated to pay for and maintain these facilities and the necessary coaching and administrative roles.

In 2011 alone BATs provided:

  • 631 rugby sessions
  • 750 hours of rugby coaching/playing
  • 1560 young people attended these sessions
  • 14,617 attendances recorded over the session

The importance of the provision of sport, particularly rugby, by BATs to local schools is confirmed by the Acting Rector of Trinity Academy who notes in support of the application:

“ This involvement [with BATs] would not have been possible without the support and resources of Edinburgh Accies and their Raeburn Place facilities – coaching, pitches, equipment, clubrooms, changing facilities, floodlights, office base – all free of charge.

"However, the most important resource, which is qualitatively immeasurable, is the commitment to the enhancement of sport in our area.

"We have had hundreds of Trinity Academy pupils who have benefited from their involvement in BATs not just from a resources perspective but from their positive learning experiences on sporting, personal and social development levels.

"It is our strong belief that the opportunity to improve resources at Raeburn Place will greatly enhance these experiences, not just for Trinity Academy pupils present and future, but potentially for all young people in North Edinburgh."

Leith Walk Primary School notes:

“Their [BATs] regular engagement with our school community has raised the profile of rugby from something that children may occasionally see on television to something that they are committed to participating in."

This exemplifies the objectives of Scottish Government Policy as set out in 'Reaching Higher: Building on the success of Sport 21'.

The Club can already demonstrate that three of the four priorities for sport laid down by the Ministers are being met: a strong organisation with well trained people and a player pathway. The only thing missing is good facilities but unfortunately this puts the other three priorities at risk.



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