“Diabetes Champ” MSP welcomes £2million funding package for outdoor education centres

A REGIONAL MSP who co-chairs the Scottish Parliament’s Diabetes Cross Party Group has welcomed a £2million funding package to help outdoor education centres survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Highlands & Islands Labour MSP David Stewart, who has represented Scotland twice as a Scottish diabetes champion, has been supporting the Scottish Adventure Activity Forum’s #SaveYourOutdoorCentres campaign as well as making funding representation to the Scottish Government and local authorities on behalf of several outdoor education centres.

Mr Stewart said: “It’s crucially important that young people have an active lifestyle because we have got a horrendous rate of Type 2 diabetes. Scotland has a healthcare epidemic and it particularly it affects children in disadvantaged areas. We have the sick man in Europe title and outdoor education plays a great role in fighting against this.

“I applaud everyone who joined the campaign, the enormity of this work kept enough pressure on the Scottish Government until it eventually buckled and agreed to give out the cash. It’s extremely welcome but a long-term strategy is still urgently needed and this £2 million is £1 million short of the £3 million the sector said it needed so I am fully behind an ongoing effort to get more support going forward.”

David Thorpe, leader of the Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre at Lochgoilhead, Argyll, which Mr Stewart has been supporting, said: We welcome the Scottish Government’s funding, but we will still press for the £1 million shortfall. That will make a huge difference for a lot of centres.”