Despite facing a multi-million pound funding gap, Fife Council is pledging to put more money into sport and physical activities.
A new Fife Sports Strategy has been launched this week, outlining the sporting focus for the next four years.
The Council says it is committed to “spend to save” so it can help more people access sport and physical activities, improving their physical and mental wellbeing.
Guidelines suggest adults should be physically active for 30 minutes at least five times a week. This increases to one hour for children.
Fife has set a target to get 50 per cent of adults and 80 per cent of children and young people to achieve this. Currently, it is believed the majority of Fifers are falling well short of meeting the guidelines. However, it isn’t all about encouraging the inactive to take up regular exercise.
The strategy has been developed by the Fife Sports Partnership following consultation with sports clubs, and it also looks at investment in facilities and support for those looking to develop their sporting talents.
Councillor Mark Hood, executive committee member and partnership chairman, said: “The strategy lays out how the partnership will continue to support club development and improve the infrastructure of local sports in Fife.
“A recurring issue highlighted by the clubs that we had feedback from was access to facilities.
“We need to find better ways to help clubs access affordable space to train and play at the times that they need.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to try out and improve their skills at new or different sports.
“We’ll help local communities to have the skills and confidence to take those forward in their own area. One way of delivering this will be through the ‘Community Sport Hub’ model that is already proving successful in some areas of Fife. It’s important that more communities get together to establish what they need and want in their area.”
Cllr Hood highlighted the Fife Football Academy, which helps over 200 young players develop their skills, as an example of how the Council’s investment in sport was already making a difference.
He also pointed out that, for the first time, the strategy mapped out the position and identified aims for a number of specific sports – golf, football, rugby, gymnastics, swimming, cycling and bowls.
Encouraging physical activity
It’s been acknowledged that more work needs to be done to encourage greater physical activity in specific groups.
The percentage of women who are active (32 per cent) is less than men (43 per cent).
Girls are more likely than boys to reduce their physical activity when they become adolescents, with their activity levels dropping sharply at high school. Specific programmes are being targeted at this age group.