Free sports hire for island residents

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All constituted clubs and groups affiliated to the Lewis and Harris and Uist and Barra sports councils will be able to book sports centres at no cost from the beginning of September.

A Comhairle nan Eilean Siar initiative, supported by Crown Estate funding, the project will mean that hard-earned fundraising will be retained by clubs and groups which can use this for the purchase of new equipment, developing their coaches and mainland trips for members.

Sports facilities services manager Tony Wade said: ‘We are delighted comhairle members have backed this project as we are certain it will be a major boost to voluntary clubs and groups across the Outer Hebrides.

‘Through the pandemic, these organisations have been critical in maintaining physical activity in our community and ensuring young people retained social interactions critical to their mental and physical wellbeing.’

Sports development services manager Iain GG Campbell added: ‘This scheme, supported by both our sports councils, will also ensure clubs and groups taking advantage of the scheme will have good governance in place ensuring that well run and operated clubs are operating to best practice principles.

‘The scheme will be continually reviewed and hopefully it can become a permanent feature, subject to available funding.’

More information on the roll out of the scheme and details of how it will operate will follow in due course. In the meantime, clubs and groups are welcome to contact community sports hub officers Euan Macleod, Lewis and Harris, euan-macleod@cne-siar.gov.uk or Kevin Morrison, Uist and Barra, kevin.morrison@cne-siar.gov.uk or community sports development officer Steven Munro, Lewis and Harris, smunro@cne-siar.gov.uk.

These officers will be delighted to advise clubs and groups on sports council affiliation.