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What a difference a year makes

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health

Jamie Hepburn reflects on the legacy of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games ahead of the anniversary.

As we approach the first anniversary since Glasgow hosted “the best Games ever”, in the last few weeks I have had cause to think about and speak with the media about the Games - their attention alone is a good measure of how much interest rightly remains in the largest event ever hosted here and what’s happened since.

Perhaps like me, much of your Games experience was focussed on the TV coverage and waiting to find out about the latest Team Scotland medal on social media. What I didn’t know then was that I would have the opportunity to take forward and represent the Scottish Government’s role in securing the legacy of the Games and working with partners to make sure this is supported.   

The unexpected heatwave and the colourful street banners may have long gone but a great deal has been left. Coming into post towards the end of last year I was struck by two things. Firstly, how many programmes and activities there were underway and secondly, just how enthusiastic everyone was about the Games and their legacy even in the cold winter months after the event.

I have blogged about this before and now several months on, almost every week there’s a tangible example of the legacy of the Games in the events that occupy my diary. As we continue to record and measure the impact, and I am able to give further support such as the new Legacy 2014 Physical Activity Fund, with each week that passes I meet and join more and more people to find about their project, new facility, and their stories: I can see it in action and understand how it is benefiting people and communities across Scotland. 

Scottish businesses won £510 million worth of Games-related contracts; £1bn was invested in transport infrasture; the regeneration of the East End of Glasgow continues a pace with new businesses, housing and investment supported by Clyde Gateway; there are 142 Community Sport Hubs and 188 community projects funded by the Active Places Fund, alongside millions invested in new world-class facilities being used by professional athletes and schoolchildren alike, in Scotland’s sporting bodies, in the Active Schools Programme, and in Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre and the new Para-Sport Centre being built; and the Games helped to attract 45 high profile events, with an estimated economic impact of £18.5 million, including the World Gymnastics Championships later this year; the 2018 European Games; and the spectacular IPC World Swimming Championships hosted at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre last week.  

These are just some of the big numbers and it’s important to know about where the investment has been made, but what matters most is that the legacy is able to make a real difference to the lives of people in their own communities.

At an individual level, it’s the clyde-sider who is still volunteering; the Youth Legacy Ambassador using their leadership skills; the modern apprentice with a new job; the project co-ordinator able to deliver that project they’ve spent so long to get support and funding for; the social enterprise able to support more clients; the business owner winning new contracts; the athlete competing to beat their PB and achieve a medal; the artist who showcased their talent in Scotland’s biggest ever nationwide, cultural celebration.

As we both reflect back and look forward this week, I want to say thank you to our national partners and all those people I have met, and have yet to meet, who have made and are making legacy so much more than a word.

The legacy of the Games didn’t start or stop at the time of the closing ceremony and it won’t stop now at the first anniversary. The evidence is that the reach and impact of the Games across the country will make a difference for years to come, and the new funding for Community Planning Partnerships to create opportunities to help people to be more physically active is just one example of our every intention to realise this.    

Jamie Hepburn marks one year on from the Games and looks at the legacy (VIDEO)