THE number of young people in Glasgow who are now a registered member of a sports club is at a record high with new figures showing more than 17,000 are now active members of their local club.
The figures, released just seven months after the Closing Ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, show a dramatic increase in the number of young sports club members in the city over the past six years.
In 2009 the number of young people registered with the city's clubs stood at around 4,500. Since then the number has increased year on year and now stands at more than 17,000 - a rise of 288%.
The increase has coincided with Glasgow City Council's commitment to improving sports participation levels in the lead up to and beyond the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham, said: "Glasgow's sports clubs are thriving with a record number of young people now a registered member of their local club.
"The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games were never just going to be about 11 days of sport – we were always determined to ensure they left a lasting legacy. Sport can change lives and we wanted to use Glasgow's Games to inspire the next generation to become actively involved in sport.
"That is why we started to work closely with clubs in the city to help them increase capacity, attract new members, and deliver more structured coaching sessions for our young people.
"There is little point in going to a sports club once and then not going back. But the fact that so many of our young people are now regularly playing sport shows what a fantastic job the city's clubs are doing.
"It is thanks to the effort and dedication of the army of volunteers from clubs across the city that so many of our young people are enjoying the benefits of living a more active lifestyle.
"It has been fantastic to see our clubs go from strength to strength. Just as it has been great to see that their growth is showing no sign of stopping now that the Games have passed.
"If anything they are becoming even more popular with young people in communities across the city. That has been one of the real legacies of the best ever Commonwealth Games.
"Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life will continue to support our clubs as they work to bring sport closer to young people and to inspire the stars of the future."
Much of this success has been down to the hard work of clubs who have been supported by Glasgow Life's Sports Development and Club, Coach and Volunteering teams.
One such club is Glasgow Riderz, who are now recognised as one of the largest and most successful junior cycle sport clubs in the UK, having also just been crowned Glasgow Sports Club of The Year.
The Riderz have grown from a small parent run club with just three volunteers to a thriving club with more than 150 members, run by 14 coaches and 16 parent helpers.
The club's membership consists of young cyclists from all over Glasgow and further afield, with ages ranging from six to 16 years, and 30% of their membership being female.
In recent years they have produced some of the most talented young female cyclists in the country, securing national titles and records with Ellie Park being selected for British Cycling’s Olympic Development Programme.
The young male members of the club are also enjoying great success with Lewis Stewart (youth chairperson) also being selected for the Olympic Development Programme as well as the Revolution track cycling series.
The Riderz deliver sessions in track, road and mountain bike disciplines, two of which are annual events that attract large fields of around 200 cyclists from across the Scotland.
The club are an active member of the Bellahouston Community Sports Hub and as such are involved in enhancing the provision of sport for the local community.
Club members are given opportunities to develop their riding skills through coached sessions, riders and parents are encouraged to take part in events both as competitors and in event organising.
Their coaching workforce includes young women and presents a positive environment for riders to take part in cycle sport. The club provides officials who work at other events and attends races as far away as Ireland and the Isle of Mann.
Glasgow Riderz, Club Secretary, Graeme Robb, said: “Without the help of Glasgow Sport, our club would not be what it is today, the support we have received for our coaches and riders has produced fantastic results in all age categories and the club is now one of the largest and most successful in the UK.
"Going forward we are looking to expand the club using the excellent Commonwealth Games facilities at Cathkin Braes and the Emirates Arena, we will also be accessing competition across the UK and Ireland.”
The new figures were announced as part of Legacy Week (9-15 March). Legacy Week is an opportunity for communities, organisations and individuals across the city to highlight the work and achievements of their Games related-projects, demonstrating the lasting and positive impact they are having on people’s lives.
It’s a chance to celebrate our legacy success so far and look to the future as we continue to encourage participation in these projects that help to make our city healthier, greener and more prosperous for all of our citizens.
Supported by Glasgow City Council, Legacy Week, will show that hosting the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was much more than putting on a sporting event, it has changed our city for the better and will benefit us for years to come. #GamesLegacyGlasgow