Healthy return from ‘social investment’

NORTH Lanarkshire Leisure have revealed a £40million benefit for the area after investing £10m in sports, fitness and social inclusion programmes.

The figures come after a “Social Return on Investment” report was carried out to quantify and evaluate the results and benefit of NLL’s work.

Blane Dodds, chief executive of NLL, , said: “Our main goal has been to make a positive impact and difference to the lives of people living in North Lanarkshire.

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“We wanted to educate people about sport, get them involv ed and let them see what it can do for the local community.

“With this report we can now see the social and economic benefits of the project.”

NLL have introduced a range of fitness, sports and social inclusion initiatives aimed at helping the area’s fitness, lowering the pressure on the NHS and tackling youth disorder.

Eddie Dollochin, sport development and education manager with NLL, said: “One of the programmes we introduced was the Saturday Night Sportscene, which gives youths something to do on Saturday nights, rather than just hang around street corners.

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“Since its creation, crime has dropped by over 35 per cent in one area and fire service call-outs have been cut by 10 per week in another.

“We realised that most centres close at 6pm on a Saturday, so it’s no wonder so many teenagers are hanging around streets and parks drinking and fighting. There’s nothing else for them to do.

“However, these projects try to cut all that out and educate young people about responsibility, maturity and respect, all through sport.”

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