15th May 2013

Minister Meets Winners of Coveted ‘Go for it Scotland!’ Bursaries

Today (15 May 2013) twenty inspirational individuals and sports groups were awarded a coveted ‘Go for it Scotland!’ sports and healthy living bursary, by QMS and sportscotland.

To mark the occasion, the Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, joined some of the winners at Chalky’s Gymnastics Club in Stirling, to celebrate their award.  Collectively, the bursaries are set to benefit thousands of people across the country in a bid to encourage and celebrate healthy, active living in Scotland.

The sport and healthy activity bursary scheme, ‘Go for it Scotland!’, was launched last year by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), in collaboration with sportscotland.  Individuals, groups and clubs of all ages and abilities were invited to apply for the twenty £500 bursaries, which are being awarded annually in the run up to Glasgow 2014.

Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison said: “With the fantastic opportunities that the Commonwealth Games in 2014 brings, it’s more important than ever to encourage participation in sport and physical activity.  This bursary scheme breaks down barriers by supporting people from a range of backgrounds, ages and sporting experience with equipment, training and coaching.  Nurturing young Scottish talent leaves a lasting legacy which many future generations will benefit from.”

This year, bursaries have been won by applicants throughout Scotland taking part in activities ranging from Olympic weightlifting and Taekwon Do to track cycling and basketball.  Chalky’s Gymnastics Club has only been open for six months but has already increased participation in the local area, providing classes which offer over 70 children the chance to take part in sport.

The ‘Go for it Scotland!’ bursary will enable the club to expand their offering with the opening of a new venue in a deprived area and recruitment of new coaches, opening access and breaking down barriers to participation in sport.

Christopher Chalk, head coach and chair of the club, said: “Our long term goals involve increasing coaches knowledge and qualifications to offer more children and young people the opportunity to take part in gymnastics.  In the short term, we hope to encourage children to get active and the bursary will help us to continue offering quality experiences in an encouraging environment."

Jennifer Robertson, QMS Health and Education Coordinator, and a registered dietician, explained that QMS already undertakes a range of activities to encourage awareness of the importance of good nutrition, a healthy diet and lifestyle including vouchers and cookery demonstrations in schools.  She said: “This is the second year we’ve awarded bursaries and the applications have exceeded expectations with the thousands of budding sports men and women going the extra mile.

“We are keen to support sports clubs, schools and individuals throughout Scotland seeking sponsorship and this bursary allows us to support them while also highlighting the importance of healthy eating and the nutritional benefits of cooking with and eating red meat as part of a balanced diet.”

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland and a member of the judging panel, said: “We were very impressed at the high standard of applications submitted this year.  As the national agency for sport, we are passionate about encouraging people to become involved in sport and physical activity, so it’s great to see such a wide variety of sports represented in this year’s bursaries.”

Caption: Christopher Chalk and members of Chalky’s Gymnastics Club (L-R: Catie Kelly (9), Aidan Jordaan (10) and Georgia McKenzie (9)) celebrate their bursary win with Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport and QMS Chairman, Jim McLaren.

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