Minister’s support for the SPFL Trust
Written By SPFL Trust Media Centre
Scotland’s Minister for Public Health, Aileen Campbell MSP has paid tribute to the work of the SPFL Trust, and Scotland’s SPFL clubs.
Ms Campbell admitted that the Scottish Government and football has not always had the “easiest relationship” but stressed her desire to “re-calibrate” and highlight the “positive” work going on in Scottish football.
Speaking at today’s SPFL Trust annual conference Ms Campbell told delegates: “The SPFL Trust provides a focus for much of this work, meeting identified social needs and delivering positive outcomes for the people of Scotland.
“It does that by using football’s unique reach and impact as our national game to help people improve their health, their wellbeing and their life chances.
“I’d like to pay tribute to all of the team there – and recognise Nicky Reid’s recent appointment as the first female chief executive at Hampden.
“The range of activity co-ordinated by the Trust is impressive.
“There is, of course, a strong focus on the flagship, award-winning Football Fans in Training programme, which is funded by the Scottish Government.
“And rightly so: the evaluation results are excellent and the positive and lasting impact it has had on participants and their families is remarkable. It is being replicated and rolled out elsewhere, including England and Germany.
“I recognise, however, that is just one strand of Trust activity alongside others like Mental Health First Aid Training, Festive Friends, Move & Learn and the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge.”
The challenges between football and Scottish government are well documented, but Ms Campbell stressed that she sees beyond this and recognised what a significant difference the game in Scotland can make to people’s lives.
“Football and government do not always have the easiest relationship,” she said. “Engagement can sometimes be focused on the problems in our game.
“I know, however, that what hits the headlines does not always reflect the reality.
“It certainly doesn’t reflect the excellent work the SPFL Trust and you – the member Foundations and Trusts – are undertaking in your communities. And it doesn’t reflect the work other organisations – like the Scottish FA and Scottish Football Partnership Trust – are undertaking.
“But I recognise and appreciate all that good work and I believe a big part of my role as Minister for Public Health and Sport is to champion your work and shine a spotlight on it. I wanted to re-calibrate our relationship so we spend more time focusing on the positives.
“In the past, football has been shy about promoting its successes. However, I recognise you’ve made great strides recently and there has been a noticeable increase in positive print and social media interest in your work.
“That’s enormously encouraging and I would strongly encourage you to keep promoting your work – to shout about what you do – and provide some balance to the traditional and inaccurate view some hold about football.
“I have been out and about and have seen first-hand what you deliver.
“It’s inspirational and underlines my firmly-held view that – despite some challenges – football can be a powerful force for good in our communities.”