On Tuesday 3 November, Kieran Buxton, Vice-Chair, addressed around 100 delegates including high profile figures in local authorities from around Scotland and national governing bodies on increasing grass roots participation, funding and volunteers in Sport. Kieran was one of a number of speakers who addressed delegates for five minutes each before the floor was opened for discussion.

The Seminar was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Edinburgh. The morning seminar was chaired by Jenny Marra MSP, Regional MSP for North East Scotland and Labour Spokesperson on Equality.

It was a great opportunity for Garioch Community Sports Hub to achieve some nationwide recognition.

A Transcript of Kieran’s speech is below:


Good morning, today I am going to speak about how Garioch CSH is dealing with participation, volunteering and funding challenges of the future. As way of brief introduction, CSH’s are a SportScotland initiative focusing on clubs and other local organisations that want to work together to improve the sport offered in their local community.

Garioch CSH

Garioch CSH is an area-based model that covers the entire area and for meeting purposes is centred at the Garioch Sports Centre, one of our partners and supporters. We organise training courses for local clubs at a largely subsidised fee to ensure the correct infrastructure is in place. We also use a website for anyone to consult if they are looking to get involved in sport in the local area. We have representation on groups concerning large infrastructure projects representing local clubs aiming to ensure appropriate facilities are contained within these projects.

Our model emphasises an engagement with present local clubs to try and create a network so we can run efficiently by sharing information, but the challenge for us remains the level of engagement with our member clubs. This presents a time consuming challenge that highlights the conflict of our aims of being inclusive but also having a desire to run effectively.

How are we planning to deal with the task of improving participation in sport?

One important factor for us to consider in Inverurie is the rate of growth. Inverurie has been one of the fastest growing towns in Scotland within the past few years. This presents massive potential in for growing participation in sport.

One objective is to partner with local estate agents and house builders over time to promote the hub website via fliers/features in brochures to act as a gateway to new people to the area to get involved in sport with local clubs. This will obviously take time but I believe it will be a positive step. I think this could be something that is of applicability to all Hubs regardless of their set up. The second is to host a launch event early next year to gather all our member clubs in one place and provide taster sessions in their sports to the local community.

How are we increasing volunteers?

This is something we have to deal with at a later stage than we would like to. We are providing a range of fundamental courses (First Aid and various level of Child Protection courses) to ensure that our clubs have existing or new volunteers and participants with the relevant basic qualifications. It is not feasible for us at the moment to go out and actively recruit volunteers, which is the stage we’d like to intervene at. In the forthcoming year, we are of course looking to broaden the skills our clubs have by providing Disability Inclusion Training, which our club audit identified as an area many clubs did not have the infrastructure for.

How can funding be increased?

I think there is a lot more money for small or medium grants out there than we perceive. There are a lot of local voluntary organisations that provide invaluable advice in terms of the availability of such grants. We work with these organisations locally and promote such funding initiatives via our social media pages.

In terms of any larger projects for Inverurie’s location, the key is looking increasingly to the private sector for sponsorship or funding. I cite one example in Inverurie being the popularity of running and athletics. It would ideally mean a track in the future in Inverurie. However, our “objective” proximity to Aberdeen (which is more of a hassle to get to than it may appear) means we are overlooked in that respect for the prioritising of public funds, which is fair enough and we have to appreciate the realities, but it is equally frustrating!


Garioch CSH has received very positive feedback on our actions so far and we are of course making progress, but our core team has numerous other commitments and that means we have to counter our ambitions with a healthy dose of realism. I think, as always, communication is important, and that all sport governing bodies, if they are not doing so already, promote community sports hubs to the clubs associated with them to try and promote a club based approach to joining the CSH. I think the Hub has contributed positively to the local community in an incremental way, but it is a long-term project and I hope the funding remains for it to continue.

Thank you for your time. It has been a pleasure to attend this seminar and I hope my contribution is of use in the broader discussion of these issues.