Sport and Leisure

10 sport and leisure

Sport and leisure in Glasgow makes a positive contribution to the health, wellbeing, quality of life, and education of Glasgow's citizens, as well as the city's economy. Glasgow is the only Scottish city to be designated a National City of Sport and was European Capital of Sport for 2003.

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Key Facts

Culture and Sport Glasgow (CSG), on behalf of Glasgow City Council, is the major provider of sport and leisure services in Glasgow.

During 2007/2008:

  • Over 4 million attendances were recorded at sport and leisure facilities. The programmes delivered attracted almost 1 million attendances
  • 87,172 attendances were recorded at 5,020 coach-led sessions delivered by 10 community clubs across the city
  • Glasgow continued to stage a wide range of national and international sporting events, including: Great Scottish Run; Gymnastics Grand Prix; AVIVA International Indoor Athletics Championships; Glasgow Youth Games; and Women's 10K Run
  • Glasgow libraries attracted 4.44 million visits and issued approximately 3 million items
  • The Mitchell Library attracted over 480,000 visits from across the world;
  • 1.17 million Users took advantage of cutting edge 'Real Learning Centres' within Glasgow libraries which provide over 500 PCs. All of these have broadband access and the latest ICT.
  • Glasgow libraries web pages recorded an average of 122,833 page views per month
  • Glasgow's third Aye Write! Book Festival took place in March 2008 attracting 35,000 visits. The event celebrated Glaswegian writing and brought the best of Scottish and international writers to the city. The aims of the event were to encourage reading, writing and creativity. 187 events with over 115 acclaimed authors took place

The city-wide sports development framework aims to:

  • Maximise participation in sport and physical activity by all sectors of the community, with a particular focus on those least active
  • Provide pathways that enable every person to fulfil their sporting potential

Sports development programmes are supported by a network of public sport and leisure facilities, including: 18 indoor community facilities (6 leisure centres, 5 swimming pools and 7 sports centres); 295 sports pitches and three 18-hole and two 9-hole golf courses. There are also a number of swimming pools in the city's secondary schools (some of which allow public access) and a range of outdoor recreation facilities (e.g. tennis, bowling, pitch and putt, croquet) are provided free of charge in parks and other locations. In addition, Sports Lottery and Urban Programme funding has supported the development of a number of voluntary and trust managed community sports facilities in Glasgow.

The Glasgow Club is the city's largest Health and Fitness Club, offering affordable monthly membership with unlimited access to facilities. A playing pitch strategy has been developed to improve pitch quality.

Sport and Events

Glasgow has four senior football clubs: Celtic, Partick Thistle, Queens Park and Rangers. Hampden Park, Scotland's National Stadium, houses the National Football Museum, and has hosted the 2002 Champions League Cup Final and 2007 UEFA Cup Final.


Glasgow recognises the role of play in improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people. CSG has a team of play development officers who facilitate play sessions and manage two play centres:

  • Cranhill Beacon (purpose-built play centre with large gym hall, arts and crafts room, soft play area and children's library); and
  • Linn Park Adventure Playground (which caters for children with additional needs).

There are two other play facilities in Glasgow, run by voluntary management committees - Reidvale Adventure Playground and the Jeely Playzone.

There are two other play facilities in Glasgow, run by voluntary management committees - Reidvale Adventure Playground and the Jeely Playzone.


A network of 34 community libraries, cutting edge Real Learning Centres (city-wide project helping residents use computers in local libraries to learn new skills), and the world renowned Mitchell Library which holds a wealth of local information including the city archives dating back to 1100 AD.

In December 2005, free wireless broadband access was introduced to selected libraries to further improve Internet access and flexibility for library customers. While traditional reference services continue to be provided, a large amount of stock in The Mitchell is now available for borrowing. Business Users benefit from the business information service and a digitisation programme for Glasgow's historic collections is helping the public have access to these collections electronically.

A key priority for libraries is supporting early literacy and numeracy through projects such as:

  • Get Glasgow Reading - supports targets for educational attainment in the city and aims to increase active library membership for children and young people
  • Count Me In 1,2,3 - a numeracy project for pre-school children

Glasgow libraries also support initiatives such as Healthy Reading which, run in conjunction with NHS Greater Glasgow, provides self-help books in every Glasgow library to offer support for those with mild to moderate mental health problems.

Community Facilities

CSG is responsible for managing 42 community centres, and coordinates lettings at a further 39 community-managed facilities. These are important venues for social, leisure, learning and sporting activities. CSG also lets space in the city's schools and several public halls.

Area Services

CSG's Area Services Team target resources and services through area infrastructures aligned to the 5 City Planning areas and the 10 Local Community Planning Partnership (LCPP) areas, with particular focus on those of greatest need. This is done by engaging, supporting and stimulating access to participation in a diverse range of culture and sport services. Each team comprises Youth Workers, Adult Learning Workers, Health and Physical Activity Officers, Community Action Officers, Arts Development Officer, Club, Coach and Volunteer Development and Play Services staff.


Indoor Sports Facilities

Substantial investment has been made in indoor sports facilities, with additions to facilities at the new Haghill Primary School, the development of the West of Scotland Institute of Sport (Palace of Art) and the recently refurbished Castlemilk and Pollok pools. Toryglen Regional Football Centre opened in spring 2009, and work continues on a new leisure centre at Maryhill and Scotstoun Athletics Stadium.

The Mitchell Library

The phased redevelopment programme for The Mitchell Library has seen the addition of a new café/bar, theatre and conference centre with meeting rooms. Phase 2 will transform the original interior of the building into a high quality visitor attraction.

Library Buildings and Services

CSG, on behalf of the Council, has embarked upon a major programme of new library buildings and relocation of services. This includes new library facilities at Springburn, Anniesland, Barmulloch, Gorbals and the city centre library at the Gallery of Modern Art. A new culture and leisure facility called 'The Bridge' opened in Easterhouse in 2006, integrating John Wheatley College library with a community library and Real Learning centre, a swimming pool and an arts facility. This programme of developing integrated services continues, with:

  • a new Civic Realm in Pollok opened which incorporates Pollok Library and Learning Centre, Glasgow Club Pollok and Pollok Health Centre
  • a new facility in the Milton area incorporating a Glasgow Club Leisure Centre and Library and Learning Centre will open in early summer 2009

In April 2009, a new McMillan Cancer Information and Support Centre will be launched at the Library at the Bridge in Easterhouse. This centre aims to increase awareness of the support available to cancer sufferers and their families.

2014 Commonwealth Games

In November 2007, Glasgow was successful in securing the 2014 Commonwealth Games and work is in progress to ensure the Games achieve a lasting legacy that will contribute to economic, health, tourism and community objectives.

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