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Thank you to everyone who attended our first Think event and University forum in May. As you know OSS is a new think and do tank that wants a strong sporting future for Scotland.

We know the future for sport cannot be disentangled from the future of many other aspects of Scottish life and that nobody has a crystal (foot)ball. But by asking you and others working across sport in Scotland where you think the future lies is a good start.

Multiple social, economic and cultural influences impact sport as they do all aspects of Scottish life. Influences include but extend way beyond those of family, neighborhood, region and country to encompass global networks and systems of trade, productivity, technology and media, environmental management, power relations, conflict and international collaboration.

The impact on community sport in Scotland over the next 10 to 20 years

Taking current insight and drivers including social, economic and cultural influences we asked sports stakeholders what they thought might impact on community sport in Scotland over the next 10 to 20 years. What they told us identifies the prevailing mood, concerns, optimism and pessimism that exists and these in themselves shape our future.

The good news first – the gender effect is the most positive driver with an optimism that in the future more women will take part in sport. Stakeholders were also optimistic that sports could adapt to meet changing consumer preferences; that the positive wave of increasing health and fitness consciousness would continue and that developments in education would be a positive force.

Continuing austerity was the largest negative factor likely to push participation in sport down rather than up by impacting infrastructure, provision and investment. Stakeholders were pessimistic about the impact of social inequality on participation in sport with a growing polarisation between the affluent and poorer parts of society and its geographical manifestation in area deprivation and cycles of poverty because of this.

It will be interesting to see if the new section of the Equality Act that came into force in Scotland on 1st April 2018 which ”places a legalresponsibility on particular public bodies in Scotland to actively consider (‘pay due regard’ to) how they can reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage, when making strategic decisions” helps tackle inequality in the face of austerity impact.

Other drivers identified as negatives were poor health linked in particular to obesity; the impact of social media and associated technologies on sedentary lifestyles; and less so the ageing population; the impact of major events – interestingly more see this as negative than positive.

This is the start of a journey

This is the start of a journey. These drivers need a focused debate and innovative thinking if we are to shift this sense of inevitability to build on the their positive aspects and slow down or reverse their potentially negative influences.

Upcoming Events

Please join the discussion at the next OSS think event - 'Getting to grips with inequalities inside and outside Sport in Scotland' in Edinburgh on Tuesday 19th June 2018 from 130PM onwards. Tickets are £Free, links to booking are below:

19th June 2018 at 130PM
Getting to Grips With Inequalities
6 Saint Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2BD