Cash seized from Scotland’s criminals is funding opportunities for kids across the North East to take part in a unique basketball project.
The Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities scheme has enabled basketballscotland to help support clubs like the Portlethen Panthers using funds from money seized from criminals through Proceeds of Crime legislation. The team trains on the basketball courts at Portlethen’s Mackie Academy.
It is part of a package which since 2008 has seen over £1million invested in free basketball activities for children and young people throughout Scotland.
On Monday, February 24 Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill saw how the money is being used. He said: “Scotland’s young people deserve the very best opportunities available to them and it is right that the ill-gotten gains of those who seek to peddle misery should be invested into helping them to secure healthy and happy lives.
“It is particularly gratifying when the money for these activities has come from serious and organised crime. Since 2008, Cashback has invested and committed more than £74million in our communities and provided more than a million activities and opportunities for young people across Scotland.
“This excellent project is not only providing fun and exercise for these young people, it is also giving them the skills and discipline of a growing sport and ultimately benefitting communities not only across the North East, but the whole of Scotland.”
Mr MacAskill also met Portlethen Panthers member Jackie Bruce, recently named basketballscotland’s Volunteer of the Year.
Jackie said: “The support provided by Cashback for Communities and basketballScotland has empowered our club to grow and provide more opportunities for young people in the community – coaches and officials as well as players.
“What is particularly pleasing is the chances we are offering young women to participate in a safe, fun place which enables them not just to play basketball, but to make friends.
Basketballscotland’s Head of Communities Chris Dodd said the relationship between Cashback for Communities and his organisation had gone from strength to strength.
“The growth in the number of young boys and girls we are attracting to play and coach basketball across Scotland is ensuring everyone participating in this sport is healthier and more confident with more opportunities than ever before.”