By Duncan Mackay

Alex Salmond_SNP_Spring_Conference_Glasgow_March_10_2012March 10 - A new £10 million ($16 million/€12 million) scheme has been launched by Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond to try to capitalise on the legacy of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which he has vowed to make "the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen".

The fund will be help build new facilities and renovate existing facilities across Scotland.

Salmond revealed details of the new scheme during a keynote speech at the Scottish National Party's (SNP) Spring Conference at the The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow.

"In a little over two years this city will host the Commonwealth Games and preparations continue to be on track and on budget," he told the audience.

"Construction began last summer on the Athletes' Village which will accommodate over 6,500 competitors.

"And once the Games are done, that great facility will be used to provide affordable homes for local families.

Glasgow 2014_Athletes_Village_2
"Around this very Conference venue is being built the Scottish Hydro Arena, the venue for netball and gymnastics during the Games.

"The arena will seat 12,000 people and will become one of Europe's busiest venues, contributing £131 million ($205 million/€156 million) annually to the Scottish economy.

"No longer will we be turning away big acts like Barbra Streisand and Beyonce."

There are fears that Salmond and the SNP will use the Games as a rallying point to try to get independence from the rest of the United Kingdom.

A vote is due on the issue on October 18, 2014. 

Those concerns will not have been allayed by Salmond's speech.

"As First Minister I'm committed to ensure we make these Games the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen," he said. 

"I look forward to these Commonwealth Games, not only because Scotland competes in her own right, but also because I know they will put Scotland on a global stage, where we belong.

"In 2014 our light will shine for the world to see, through the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, and the second Homecoming Year."

But Salmond also hopes that Games will help Scotland become a healthier nation. 

"As well as having great ambitions for Scotland's sporting stars at the 2014 Games, this Government has great aspirations for the event to be a catalyst for economic and social regeneration," he said in his speech.

"With real benefits for communities and individuals.

"For our society as a whole.

"And that is why I'm delighted to announce today a new legacy initiative.

"The establishment of a £10 million ($16 million/€12 million) fund that will allow communities to bring their local sports facilities across Scotland into the 21 st century.

"Whether it be a renovation to a community hall, re-turfing of a bowling green or even a new multi-purpose sports field – our aim is to inspire Scots young and old to seize the opportunity presented by the Games and its legacy to become a better nation. 

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