Scotland looks to ‘harness the power of football’ with upgrade of grassroots facilities

EIGHTEEN grassroots football facilities across Scotland are set to be regenerated through new investment.

The £2 million investment from the UK Government will see improved pitches, changing rooms and pavilions in a bid to ensure more local communities can access high-quality facilities.

Westminster said projects have been chosen for their ability to deliver improved facilities in deprived areas, support multi-sport use and increase participation among currently underrepresented groups – including women, girls and disabled players.

Examples include a £150,000 regeneration of Drumchapel United’s pitch in Glasgow. The community club is run by volunteer coaches who keep the local community active at all ages – from nursery to walking football.

Kilwinning Community Football Academy in North Ayrshire hasreceived £120,000 for the regeneration of its pitch, having just signed a community asset transfer of the pitch and pavilion. The upgraded pitch will support everything from school PE to mental health programmes for the local community.

Buckie Thistle High School also received funding which will be combined with backing from Moray Council. It will see their 3G pitch renewed to support year round use for their women’s team.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) will deliver the programme on behalf of the UK Government. It forms part of a £25 million UK-wide investment in grassroots facilities during this financial year, with the ambition of building or upgrading 8,000 pitches across the UK over the next four years.

Chief executive officer of the Scottish Football Association, Ian Maxwell, said, “Our goal in Scotland is to harness the power of football, with the positive physical and mental wellbeing benefits that football offers being perfect examples of this.

“This funding will open opportunities for increased participation across many different demographics, including boys’ and girls’ football and para-football disciplines, some of which will be in areas that currently suffer from severe deprivation.”

UK sports minister, Nigel Huddleston, added, “We are committed to improving access to high quality sports facilities for the underprivileged and underrepresented in Scotland.

“From Almswall Park in Kilwinning, to pitches in Buckie and Stenhousemuir, this will ensure more people can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of sport at top class facilities in their local community.”