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The Observatory for Sport in Scotland has launched a manifesto which seeks to push community sport to the forefront of discussions around how the nation recovers and builds resilience after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The manifesto, launched in The Scotsman on Saturday 27 March at the start of a six-week media campaign, builds on the OSS’ development as Scotland’s first research ‘think-and-do’ tank committed to widening understanding of the value of sport activity in achieving social, health and economic benefits. Led by our founder Charlie Raeburn, the OSS has engaged over 2,000 stakeholders across Scotland from all levels of sport to health, primary, secondary and tertiary education to the business sector, government to the charity and voluntary third sector.

The first OSS National Sport Summit in 2019 provided a platform to share research, and engage people in discussion around the key issues, and we have not slowed down during the challenges of the pandemic. Instead we have been listening, and collating and producing more research into fundamental knowledge gaps across the Scottish landscape. The manifesto seeks to bring that knowledge and power together, and invites the new Scottish Government to use it to inform a more cohesive, strategic path for community sport in Scotland, one in which all of those stakeholders can play a part, be supported and, crucially, understand their role.

The manifesto has three key ‘asks’ designed to break silos and open up national discussion, provide strategic leadership and bring scientific evidence to the development of sport to ensure it has sustainable, long-term and wide-ranging benefits to all in our communities.

Those three manifesto ‘asks’ are, to:

  • Launch a first NATIONAL CONVERSATION into ‘The Role of Sport in Scottish Society’. Through nationwide consultation, this will engage people from national to community levels in discussion on how community sport activity could and should support health and wellbeing, education and the economy.
  • Appoint the new Health Secretary to chair a MULTI-STAKEHOLDER NATIONAL SPORT FORUM. This will focus on ‘Building Back Better’ with sustainable delivery models of community sport, leisure and recreation with the ability to transform Scotland’s health and wellbeing, focusing on inactive and vulnerable people. This will engage all sectors in creating a ‘National Sport Agreement’, as successfully introduced by the Netherlands and other nations, to bring joined-up thinking and clarity to how stakeholders fund and deliver community sport.
  • Commission the FIRST INDEPENDENT NATIONWIDE RESEARCH into community sport participation for all ages and abilities. This will investigate local provision, delivery mechanisms and real and perceived links to health, education and the economy, with international comparisons. With a system to monitor change and adapt policy, this will create a more informed and evidenced narrative around sport activity.

The key to its success is engagement from you and everyone with an interest in sport and its ability to improve the health and wellbeing of the Scottish population. To join the discussion, post your comments below or get in touch with our CEO, David Ferguson, at:

OSS Manifesto 2021

One Comment

  • We welcome comments from everyone on the issues raised above. Agree, disagree or have a story to tell of your experience with community sport – share it here. All of your experiences will prove valuable to the national conversation.