I WAS delighted to be the first guest of 2021, via Zoom, on the 360 Podcast by BBC Alba and Nemeton TV, great supporters of all things women in sport.

I was even more delighted that it featured three of our 2020 Scottish Women in Sport awards winners – Megan Glancy, Specsavers most compassionate role model; Louise Renicks, Frame PR excellence in communication in sport; and our champion Kayleigh Hago, who was our inspiration in sport winner.

They had managed to gather most of the interviews before the new restrictions and I have to say it was wonderful to see them. Their passion and enthusiasm for what they do, particularly helping others during this tough time, really lifted my spirits.

It has never been more important to shine the spotlight on role models to help inspire the next generation to keep themselves fit and active and ready for the day when we can go back to delivering community sport programmes for everyone to enjoy.

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Retaining women and girls in sport is a difficult task at the best of times, and given the stop-start nature of sport over the previous year, this task will become even more challenging.

We need to ensure sporting bodies have the financial support to roll out these programmes as well as enough staff members to deliver.

There have been many redundancies over a number of sports in the past year due to a drop in income. In a way this is understandable, but it is perhaps just a little bit of a short-term vision.

I believe all sports will need a cash injection to get out of the starting blocks and not only deliver us some exciting elite sporting moments to watch live, but also ensure that grassroots sports can pick up from where they left off early 2020.

The impact on local clubs and volunteers, who for so many years have subsidised sport in their area, will be catastrophic and we cannot continue to expect them to deliver health and wellbeing to our society without financial support.

The time is now right to look at our sporting model, appreciate the wider benefit it brings to society and fund it appropriately.

You can catch the podcast, and all the previous ones, at tinyurl.com/y5b6n49a.