Sport Focus: Gold Coast Build Up to Breaking Down Barriers

April 13, 2020

As part of our Sport Focus on Beach Volleyball we take a look at two exciting projects using the sport as a tool to improve health and well-being, bring down barriers and develop young people’s skills in areas of deprivation.

Scotland is not known for the sunny, warm climate usually associated with Beach Volleyball and, in the build up to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Team Scotland’s players took matters into their own hands when their usual training site of Portobello beach froze over. With all hands on deck they built an indoor court in a barn to escape the weather and continue their preparation. Now the sand from the ‘Barn’ is being used to initiate a new project across the city of Edinburgh.

The ‘Sand for Schools’ project aims to use beach volleyball as a tool to support young people in a school setting into positive destinations in areas of deprivation. It will see the build of a 2-court beach volleyball facility at a high school in Edinburgh with governing body support to upskill young people as coaches and leaders within the sporting landscape. The project also aims to achieve wider social impact by providing community access to a local facility for sport and physical activity, in collaboration with Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club, contributing to improved health and well-being of the local community and helping to close the gap in sports participation seen in areas of deprivation.

The Scottish Volleyball Association (SVA) look forward to completing this build and seeing the impact that it has on the local community. They also hope to roll it out in other parts of the country as part of a coordinated approach to improving the infrastructure for the sport and Changing Lives through Sport and Physical Activity.

In Portobello itself, Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club (EBVC) is involved in a Community project called IGNITE which aims to inspire and support the ambition of young people and provide primary school pupils in an area of deprivation with the opportunity to try new sports with support to join their local club.

This project is led by the City of Edinburgh Council and Active Schools Edinburgh, with the SVA and EBVC as partners in the delivery of the sessions along with other sports.  The project aims to reduce the barriers that these pupils face when engaging with the wider community and opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity at their local community sports hub.

While Scotland’s top players set their sights on Birmingham 2022, these projects will leave a legacy for hundreds of young people for many years to come.

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