Stranraer Salvation Army jumps on sport hype

Stranraer Salvation Army is aiming to use sport and the Commonwealth Games as a springboard to help people improve their lives.

The corps at Port Rodie is one of many Salvation Army churches across Scotland to have received additional funding from their divisional headquarters to run summer activities designed to establish a sporting legacy.

Former Airdrie footballer Bobby Weir, The Salvation Army’s sports ministry co-ordinator in Scotland, is leading the initiative called Sport for Good to encourage communities to become more active in the lead up to the Games.

In Stranraer, the charity has received an extra £1000 to put on a community day to welcome the Queen’s Baton passing through the town.

Stranraer corps officer Major Dolores Thomson said: “This additional funding will enable us to reach out to more people in the community. We also want to be more relevant to people, especially young people, and sport can help us do that.

“The Commonwealth Games is one of the biggest sporting events Scotland has ever hosted and we want to use the excitement felt by Scots as a platform to build a sporting legacy at our churches up and down the country.

“Sport already plays an important role in many Salvation Army churches and centres across the UK, bringing not just physically benefits but helping unite communities.

“Through sport, The Salvation Army is serving those in difficult life situations by simply having fun or making welcome those who normally cannot join in. And in many of our Lifehouses (homeless centres), sport is enabling residents to learn life skills, build relationships and regain confidence.”

Major Russell Wyles, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army in West Scotland, said: “We are supporting our frontline community work by providing an injection of funds to help them run Commonwealth Games-related activities.”

2014 is an exciting year for The Salvation Army as it gears up to hand out some 100,000 bottles of water to thirsty visitors trekking between Games venues in July and August. Passengers travelling to and from events will be given refreshments at the main train and bus stations around the city.

Volunteers and athletes’ families coming from abroad will also be helped by the charity, which is fundraising for the Athlete Family Homestay programme.