Smith Urges Sports Clubs To Have Their Say In Europe

23 September 2009
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) called on Scotland's sports organisations to help him influence EU policy on sport by participating in an online survey which has been launched by the European Commission.

Smith, an alternate member of the Parliament's Culture and Education Committee, has praised the survey as a real attempt to find out the views of sports organisations on the key trends and problems they face in the recruitment, retention and replacement of volunteers, as well as the way regulation affects volunteering in sport.

The survey comes as part of preparations for the European Year of Volunteering in 2011, and seeks to find out what barriers exist to volunteering across Scotland and the EU and what measures are needed to help clubs flourish.

Smith said:

"Active citizens make healthier and happy citizens, and sport is key to that and we need to see more sport across Scotland. I see inspiring effort being put in up and down Scotland by keen folk working in sports clubs, though often scratching their heads at some of the regulations they need to deal with. This survey is a great opportunity for sports organisations to voice any concerns or problems they face when recruiting, retaining and replacing volunteers.

"In the run up to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014, it is all the more important for sports clubs and centres to speak out now and highlight ways in which they think the EU could do more.

"Volunteering is an integral part of Scottish sport, especially at grassroots level, and at a time of economic instability sports and the arts are often the first to feel the pinch and lose out of EU funding programmes, so it is important we keep Scotland to the fore in EU decision making.

"With this survey, at a click of a button sport clubs can have their say and help us identify ways the local or national government across the EU, and indeed the EU itself can help grassroots sport in Scotland flourish."

Louise Martin CBE, Chair, sportscotland said:

"Volunteering in sport is one of the most diverse, accessible and rewarding activities you can undertake. sportscotland is committed to creating more and better opportunities for participation in sport atall levels and volunteering is high on our agenda.

"As volunteers are a crucial resource for sport in this country, we welcome this opportunity for clubs in Scotland to share their positive experiences and to shape volunteering development for the future. With the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, the demand for volunteers will be huge and sportscotland is already working with clubs and communities to ensure that they are equipped to meet that demand."