Sportsmatch, the government scheme which matches pound for pound commercial sponsorship in grass roots sports projects, is matching the amount the George Craig Group has invested in Aberdeen City Council’s Paul Lawrie junior golf development programme, which has been launched to mark the success of the city’s own golfing hero.
The George Craig Group, a privately owned business, has a turnover in excess of £70 million and provides employment for 1,500 people. It is one of Scotland’s top companies with nine divisions.
Sportsmatch is the award-matching scheme designed to act as an incentive for businesses to sponsor grass roots sport in Scotland. The scheme supports projects which demonstrate clear sports development objectives at grass roots level. Sportsmatch is administered by sportscotland and has three primary objectives:
The programme will, initially, allow 390 school children, from Aberdeen City, aged nine and ten to try golf at the Kings Links Golf Centre where they will receive tuition on the driving range under the supervision of the Centre’s PGA Professionals. Should these children wish to continue to play golf they can return to Kings Links for a further course of golf lessons later in the summer holidays. Through the extra funding from Sportsmatch a further 390 children, giving a total of 780, will be able to benefit from the programme in its first year.
Managing director of the George Craig Group, Douglas Craig, said, “A major factor in our decision to back the programme was that we felt it would help to tackle elitism within the game and support junior golf as it will give children a chance to try golf.
“With the success of Paul Lawrie, children in the Aberdeen now have their own golfing hero and role model to follow on the world stage. We hope that our investment in the programme will give these children the opportunity to enjoy golf and perhaps follow in Paul’s footsteps one day.”
“I would like to thank the George Craig Group for their support of the Junior Golf Development Programme,” said Paul Lawrie, “and also sportscotland for matching the amount. I hope it assists in the encouragement of the children to try golf and to experience what a great game it is.”
Councillor Jurgen Thomaneck, Convener of Aberdeen City Council’s Education and Leisure Committee, said: “This exciting and innovative’grassroots’ junior development programme will give the best possible opportunities to our hundreds of young golfers to maximise their potential and enjoy the sport to the full. The funding demonstrates how public and private partnerships can work well together to benefit the local community.”
The programme will provide a launch pad for the development of golf in primary schools in Aberdeen and also falls into line with the Scottish Executive’s pledge to give all children of the age of nine the opportunity to try golf as part of Scotland’s bid for the 2009 Ryder Cup.
For further information on the Paul Lawrie Junior Golf Development Programme call Pam Scott on 01224 522109.