A number of football pitches will be opened in Glasgow as part of a project aiming to give more young people access to outdoor sports.
Glasgow Life has launched the initiative in partnership with local football clubs and groups across the city.
The pilot will see the charity work with four key groups to reopen pitches in Stepford Sports Complex, Nethercraigs Sports Complex and Springburn Synthetic Pitch.
With over 18,000 players registered in Glasgow clubs, the plan is designed as a temporary emergency response to the current challenges faced by Glasgow’s significant football community, with the aim of limiting the damage to communities by restricted access to football facilities.
The pilot will see Glasgow Life’s football development team working with FARE and Easterhouse Football Academy at Stepford, Partick Thistle Charitable Trust at Springburn, and Pollok United at Nethercraigs.
By supporting capacity and developing programming with other clubs and users, these partnerships in three key locations will maximise the collective resources available and minimise operational costs, all while providing facility access.
Councillor David McDonald, chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Together with the Council, Glasgow Life has created new models of operation in order to open city venues which can support lifeline services for the local communities they serve.”
The reopening of the pitches will cater to the large number of teams registered in these areas.
Of the football teams registered in Glasgow, 45% are in the north east of the city, and 40% are in the south.
Daniel Cameron, founder of Easterhouse Football Academy, said: “After the uncertainty of Covid-19 and the lockdown faced by everyone across the country, we’re delighted that this partnership will allow Stepford Sports Complex to reopen, and to give our young people a chance to grow and develop their love for football again.”
Jimmy Wilson, CEO of FARE, added: “This is a very exciting development, and we’re pleased to be working alongside Easterhouse Football Academy in strengthening grassroots football in the area.
“By engaging the local community in football and physical exercise, we’ll enable community integration – and we also hope to use this partnership to tackle youth unemployment, by giving young people access to employment and modern apprenticeship opportunities”
Andy Elliott, development officer at Pollok United, said: “With the recent rise in mental health issues in the south west of the city, we’ve been working closely with Glasgow Life as part of a multi-agency approach to support young people and their wellbeing. As a team, our main focus is engagement with locals, and we’re looking forward to continuing to build on this and strengthen the grassroots football community at a time when it’s needed most.”
Paul Kelly, Manager of Partick Thistle Charitable Trust, said: “Our contribution to meeting the challenges of this pandemic are well-documented throughout our communities.
“We live in extraordinary times, but hopefully we can demonstrate, once again, that good partnership working, built on trust and respect can provide solutions for the most impossible looking situations.
“We look forward to sorting out the detail with Glasgow Life and getting Springburn open as soon as possible.”