Crags Community Sport Centre

Promoting community cohesion in Edinburgh

The centre was previously run by the local council, but was forced to close in 2010 when it ran into difficulties. Determined to re-open Crags as a ‘community sports centre with a difference’, a charity was formed by local basketball players to take over the running of the centre. Since successfully reopening its doors in 2012, Crags has changed its focus to Sport for Development and become home to Blaze Basketball Club.

Access to indoor sports facilities in Edinburgh is a major problem for sport clubs in the city, so by taking over of the centre and opening its doors to the community, Crags has created a central point where local groups can come together and meet. To increase the centre’s accessibility yet further, the charity operates a unique key system whereby local community groups can let themselves in and out, thus helping to minimise staff costs and keep prices low.

HOW SPORTED HELPED

Because of its facilities and vicinity to the centre of Edinburgh, Crags was approached in its early years with the proposal of becoming a temporary theatre venue for the annual Edinburgh Festival. To assess and evaluate the merits of this proposal for the charity’s long-term sustainability, Crags approached Sported for support from one of its volunteer business mentors.

Sported was able to pair Crags with was an expert in the theatre industry, who was perfectly placed to offer his expertise. Ultimately, Crags decided not to go ahead with the proposal, however was it not for the support and advice of their Sported mentor, Crags’ Simon Turner admits they could easily have made some big mistakes and gone down a path that would have otherwise been counterproductive to the needs of the local community.

Simon Turner, The Crags Community Sports Centre:

The status of Sported and their endorsement of our work were really influential in the Crag’s growth. In particular, the hands-on support we were able to get from Sported’s Scotland Manager was a huge help – he was encouraging from the start and able to connect us with other influential people and organisations in the Sport for Development sector.

Around 200 young people, aged 11 to 25, now play basketball at Crags every week. The centre also caters to the needs of the wider community, offering a full pathway of basketball teams for children as young as 5 all the way to a Master’s team for those over 55.

In addition to basketball, Crags also offers dance classes and free football coaching sessions on its open-access outdoor pitch on Friday afternoons – a time when young people are at the greatest risk of engaging in anti-social behaviour.