Sand for Schools; Skills for Life

Scottish Volleyball (SV), Liberton High School (LHS), and Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club(EBVC) have joined forces to make history in building Scotland’s first ever school based permanent beach volleyball facility as part of Scottish Volleyball’s Sand for Schools Project.  Liberton High School, Edinburgh, at the very heart of the local community, is the venue for this historic build.

Our Sand for Schools facility at Liberton HS, is supported by the British Volleyball Federation (BVF) and has been made possible by their application to the UK Sport Aspiration Fund, whereby Scottish Volleyball led the social impact element of the application for this purpose and received significant funding which contributed towards the overall costs of our inaugural Sand for Schools build which totalled £35,000.

The Sand for Schools project was inspired by the temporary training venue at a local farmers barn, built by Scottish Volleyball, in the winter of 2017 for our Scottish athletes in preparation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast).  When the farmer eventually needed his barn back, the sand was relocated to a local high school; Liberton High School, (LHS) as part of a project to continue the legacy of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018.

This historic beach volleyball hub will host 2 full size outdoor beach volleyball courts with an adaptable net/games equipment system to allow for a variety of beach sports, outdoor activities, and educational space. The facility aims to attract people of all ages and abilities, with the potential to host international tournaments and events as well as its potential as a training venue for our Commonwealth Games athletes. 

At the very heart of this project is the Liberton High School community.  These courts will be used intentionally as a tool to achieve wider community outcomes and affect positive change in the Liberton and Gilmerton area.  The work will focus on supporting the health and wellbeing of school pupils and local people, but importantly also presenting a platform for skills development, thus boosting the employability and career prospects of young people at Liberton High School, contributing to a positive destination for school leavers.

The support from the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) has been key throughout this process.  The Sport & Outdoor Learning Unit awarded a grant to Scottish Volleyball from the Sport and Physical Activity fund to support the development of the facility.    Local volleyball club Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club (EBVC) are working with Scottish Volleyball, Liberton High School and Active Schools to bring this project to life.

Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club have not only invested financially into this build but aim to work closely with the school to create opportunities for their pupils and teachers to engage in sport and physical activity both during school hours and as part of an extra-curricular programme, supported by Active Schools Edinburgh.

EBVC are one of three volleyball clubs in Scotland invested in by sportscotland as part of their Direct Club Investment Programme, with outcomes of this project including club workforce development, inclusive participation opportunities and community impact.  EBVC will manage the facility out-with school hours and will work closely with Scottish Volleyball to coordinate a programme of support to achieve the long term aims of the project.

 

This project also highlights how community sport and performance sport can work together to achieve social impact.  As an approved site for Scotland’s Beach Volleyball Performance athletes to train ahead of the Commonwealth Games 2022 and beyond, we hope that connecting our performance athletes and local young people will play a role in building ambition and presenting an opportunity for them to learn from sport and find a route to a positive destination after they leave school.

Having an additional outdoor facility for schools in the middle of a pandemic is another huge positive to come from this project.  Outdoor activity is seen to be a safer option and so building capacity for the school and the local club to take part in outdoor sport and physical activity, with the benefits we know it has on our physical and mental wellbeing, will be a fantastic asset for the school and local community, when restrictions finally allow. This new venue will also host the beach discipline of the CEC School Sports Academy when it is back up and running, presenting opportunities for LHS pupils to get involved in the Academy programme on their doorstep.

In addition to local and national partners, this project has attracted support from European Volleyball (CEV), in the form of their CEV Schools Project with LHS receiving additional support and resources to build up their volleyball programme with their local primary schools. This will be another opportunity for LHS pupils to gain life experience at delivering sport in their own community, adding value to the skills development aims of this project. 

The beauty of this build is in the partnerships involved, pulling together the expertise and resources of many key organisations and people.  Scottish Volleyball want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in making this happen.  We are very excited to see what the future holds for our partnership with Liberton High School and Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club and hope we are able to make a meaningful difference to the lives of the people and community involved in this great venture.

The partners behind the build

Click on the partners within the article to find out more about their fantastic contribution towards this project:

 

Watch the video for behind-the-scenes action video of the build and see the final product brought to life.

 

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