NETBALL and basketball in Scotland are making news as both sports have recently created franchises that let them have a team accepted into their respective British Professional leagues. For basketball the team will be named Caledonia Pride and netball will field the Scottish Sirens.

While this is really positive for both sports – and women in sport in particular – the real testing point here is sustainability. For both organisations, in comparison to the sports we know to be “professional”, this venture is at their own cost and it won’t mean a huge injection of cash into either organisation, or indeed make the players themselves sporting millionaires.

Both these sports are putting women at the forefront and pushing the barriers by developing strong players for the future. So hats off to both netball and basketball for leading the way; they are making a stand, making a change and I believe it may be the start of a movement that will in turn be a major game-changer in terms of attitude towards our sportswomen.

The good news is that both sports are fortunate to be included in the list of those that will have access and support from Scotland’s new National Performance Centre, Oriam, which is based at Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh. This exciting new development will open on August 29.

Oriam has come to fruition as a direct result of a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the City of Edinburgh, which have both worked closely with sportscotland to realise the dream made possible with £25 million funding from the Scottish Government. At the helm is Catriona McAllister, chief executive at Oriam. With a background in strategic and operational management of sport, she will no doubt bring all of this knowledge and expertise to the post.

This amazing new centre will boast a full-size indoor synthetic pitch, full-size outdoor synthetic pitch, a 12-court sports hall, five outdoor grass football and two grass rugby pitches. The venue also includes eight squash courts, two exercise studios, a four-court sports hall and 60x40m indoor synthetic pitch.

Understanding what is required to produce a world-class athlete, the centre also contains top-class facilities for sports science and sports medicine. and a fitness suite. To round it all off there are also conference facilities and a café. It is great to hear that access to the facility is extended to the local community and I am sure it will be well used.

Given the amazing amount of Scottish athletes selected for Team GB at Rio this year, it is the belief that these facilities will continue to increase the development of our own athletes at a home-grown facility. I’m looking forward to my sneak preview of all that is on offer on Sunday, August 14 when Netball Scotland host the Celtic Clash when Scotland meet Northern Ireland. With a game on both the Saturday and Sunday, this particular event is now sold out!

Caledonia Pride have a few months to wait before they grace the courts at Oriam, as their first game is scheduled for Sunday, October 23 against Sheffield Hatters. I look forward to following and supporting the fortunes of both teams – I hope you will too.