Malcolm calls for greater financial backing for Spartans Community Football Academy
Spartans Community Football Academy Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab):
The cabinet secretary will know of the outstanding success over the past few months of the Spartans Community Football Academy, which has provided facilities for hundreds of young people in my constituency - many of whom would otherwise be on street corners. Does the cabinet secretary share my disappointment that the academy was not successful in the previous round of applications to cashback for communities, and will he ensure that its undoubted success is drawn to the attention of the people who make the decisions in the next round?

Kenny MacAskill (The Cabinet Secretary for Justice):
I am more than happy to draw people's attention to Spartans' undoubted success. I was in my local hostelry on Saturday night as the team celebrated winning the championship. Craig Graham and the others tend to hang out there, so I was happy to congratulate them on winning the trophy yet again in their victory over Dalbeattie Star. I have worked with them and I know the good work that they do. The new ground is magnificent, and the club does a huge amount in the community. I will certainly be hoping that Spartans will be successful in future applications. The Government does not make the decisions in St Andrew's house, but I certainly accept that Spartans are a role model that many other clubs will follow.

The activities that I mentioned are not just one-off activities - we are providing sustainable activity. The soccer one programme is reinvigorating schools football in all 32 local authorities, with more than 5,400 young people from more than 300 schools playing each week. There has been a fantastic response throughout Scotland. For example, the Nicolson institute in Stornoway has provided the most new teams - eight. There are also long-term benefits, with more than 440 new volunteers trained as football coaches.
May 28th 2009 (Column 18001)