Sports council chair fears for the future


pitch people

The long-serving chairman of the Skye and Lochalsh Sports Council has said he fears for the future of the organisation due to budget cuts.

The sports council — which has responsibility for distributing small grants to various sporting groups throughout the district — will this year have just under £2,500 of Highland Council funds at their disposal.

charlie macraeCharlie MacRae (pictured), who is standing down after 32 years, believes the sports council could have an uncertain future as resources continue to dwindle.

In less than a decade the budget for the sports council has fallen from £7,500 to just £2,380 for 2017-18.

Sports clubs — from bowling to shinty, football, sailing and badminton — can apply for grants up to a maximum of £500 to help with equipment or coaching. However, Mr MacRae believes the local funds will eventually become merged into a central pot controlled by Highland Council.

He said: “Every year the funds are going down, and at the same time club costs are going up. This year for example the cost of hiring school games halls is going up by about 10 per cent. There is just over £2,000 to distribute now, which doesn’t go far. Apart from that, clubs have to make their own case for council funding to Inverness. I think the time is coming where that is all there will be.”

Mr MacRae, who celebrated his 79th birthday on Monday, joined the committee of the local sports council when it was formed in 1985. He estimates he has missed just one meeting in that time – due to snow. He became chairman of the organisation in 1999 and has since received the service to local sport award, as well as certificates for services to badminton and sailing.

The AGM of Skye and Lochalsh Sports Council will be held next Monday (24th April) in Broadford Hall at 7.30pm.