The Power to Change: Pinkston Watersports

Sport, whether it’s a Sunday morning fun run or a record-setting stadium sprint, has the power to transform. It brings people together, gets them active and provides a sense of purpose – and it’s through the power of sport that we’re helping to transform North Glasgow on the Forth & Clyde Canal.

An area defined by horrifying health and social welfare statistics and plagued by drug and alcohol abuse, the average life expectancy for a man in North Glasgow is the lowest in the UK with mortality rates 43% above the national average. A baby born in Libya today can expect to live longer than one born in North Glasgow. But, with the help of our partners, funders and volunteers, we’re working to transform North Glasgow and secure a brighter future for the people who call it home.

Located in Pinkston Basin, once home to the power station that drove the city’s trams, Pinkston Watersports is Scotland’s first and only competition-standard, purpose-built paddlesports venue. Featuring customisable white water and canoe slalom courses – designed by London 2012 course designer Andy Laird – a clean water basin, canoe polo pitches, affordable club storage, classrooms for wet activity and changing rooms, the opening of the centre earlier this year marked a major step towards a brighter future for North Glasgow.

Leading the fundraising drive over the past three years, we raised £960,000 which was, in turn, critical in leveraging the additional funding required to open the £3.25 million facility. Pinkston is expected to attract around 25,000 visitors a year by 2016, bringing much-needed vibrancy to a once-forgotten spur of the Forth & Clyde Canal, regenerating the local area, and encouraging people to get more active.

Due to a lack of facilities north of the border, when Scots Tim Baillie and David Florence took gold and silver in the Canoe Slalom at the 2012 London Olympics they did so having trained in England for the majority of their careers. Pinkston is set to revolutionise watersports in Scotland, providing a home for the nation’s paddlers of today and tomorrow and playing a key role in the latest stage of the regeneration of one of its most deprived areas.

The centre also functions as a water safety and rescue facility, a training venue and a bustling community hub providing a vital opportunity for the people of Scotland, particularly those under the age of 25, to get out on the water and lead more active lives. Firmly community-focussed and run by charity Glasgow Watersports, the centre has already trained 16 local youth leaders from North Glasgow that are encouraging youngsters to take to the water for exercise, recreation and confidence building.

By offering competition-grade facilities and coaching just a mile from Glasgow city centre and less than an hour’s drive away for over three million Scots, Pinkston Watersports will bring jobs and income to North Glasgow and is the latest stage in the regeneration of the area.

Pinkston Watersports is a unique force for change in Scotland – an urban sports hub that fosters community involvement and regeneration alongside the development of sporting excellence – and we’re incredibly proud to have played a role in its creation.

But, without the support of people like you, Pinkston would likely still be a waste ground and the countless youngsters who have taken to its waters would probably never have picked up a paddle. We’re committed to continuing to drive communities like North Glasgow to a brighter future, but we can’t do it alone. Get in touch today and see how you can help us build on the success of projects like Pinkston Watersports and create a better tomorrow for the people of Scotland.