Continuing the legacy of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Scottish Volleyball’s Sand for Schools Project has made history in building Scotland’s first ever school based permanent beach volleyball facility.
The project was inspired by the temporary training venue at a local farmer’s barn, built for Scottish athletes preparing for the Gold Coast Games. With Beach Volleyball back on the programme for Birmingham 2022, that sand has been relocated to Liberton High School in Edinburgh and the new facility is now an approved site for Scotland’s Beach Volleyball Performance athletes to train for the 2022 Games and beyond.
Highlighting how community sport and performance sport can work together to achieve social impact, at the very heart of this project is the Liberton High School community. Scottish Volleyball, Liberton High School and Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club joined forces to bring this project to life and these courts will be used as a tool to achieve wider community outcomes and affect positive change in the Liberton and Gilmerton area. The work will focus on supporting the health and wellbeing of school pupils and local people, but importantly also presenting a platform for skills development, boosting the employability and career prospects of young people at Liberton High School.
Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club have not only invested financially into this build but aim to work closely with the school to create opportunities for their pupils and teachers to engage in sport and physical activity both during school hours and as part of an extra-curricular programme, supported by Active Schools Edinburgh. The club will manage the facility out-with school hours and will work closely with Scottish Volleyball to coordinate a programme of support to achieve the long term aims of the project.
The project was led by Lynne Beattie, Scottish Volleyball Regional Development Officer (East). One of Team Scotland’s first Beach Volleyball athletes at Gold Coast 2018, where she and Mel Coutts took 5th place, Lynne is very excited to see her initial vision finally brought to life:
“I am a big believer in the power of sport to change people’s lives, with its unique ability to create an inclusive environment where people have a purpose and feel connected,” she said. “This build has been a long time in the making, all starting from an informal chat with Liberton PE staff, to the build of a quality community sports facility within a school environment. This is just the beginning, but I am really looking forward to working with the school and the club to bring the plans and vision for the project to life.”
This historic beach volleyball hub will host two full size outdoor beach volleyball courts with an adaptable net/games equipment system to allow for a variety of beach sports, outdoor activities, and educational space. The facility aims to attract people of all ages and abilities, with the potential to host international tournaments and events as well as its potential as a training venue for our Commonwealth Games athletes.
The Sand for Schools facility at Liberton HS, is supported by the British Volleyball Federation and has been made possible by their application to the UK Sport Aspiration Fund. Scottish Volleyball led the social impact element of the application for this purpose and received significant funding which contributed towards the overall costs of the build which totaled £35,000. Support from the City of Edinburgh Council has been key throughout this process with the Sport & Outdoor Learning Unit awarding a grant to Scottish Volleyball from the Sport and Physical Activity fund to support the development of the facility.