A Scottish FA Quality Mark club in the Central region officially opened its state-of-the-art 3G training pitch last week.
Steins Thistle, in the village of Allendale, are now owners of a 50x30 3G training area – fully floodlit - to complement their full size 11-a -side natural grass pitch which was struggling to support match and training activity.
Funding has come through the Scottish Government’s CashBack programme, amounting to £70,000, and through fundraising by the club.
The opening ceremony was attended by Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Justice, along with representatives from the Scottish FA, sportscotland, Doe Sport North, the club and local community.
Mr MacAskill said: “I was delighted to take part in the opening and proud that the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme has been able to invest in football facilities that will benefit young people in the Falkirk area.
“Steins Thistle is a great club, working hard to support the local community get young people involved in sport.
“Organised crime brings misery to individuals and communities. It is only right that cash confiscated from criminals is put to use improving lives, increasing opportunities for youngsters and keeping them out of trouble.
“CashBack programmes improve opportunities, self-confidence and self-esteem for our young people, while supporting and turning around communities.
“This investment will help support the wider Steins Network deliver footballing opportunities for many more young people. Football is our national sport and to see so many young people here enjoying the new facility can only be good for the future development of the game in Scotland.”
The Scottish FA recommended facility projects for the CashBack fund to support.
Andrew Gilchrist, the Central regional manager for the Scottish FA, said: “This investment is fantastic news. The creation of the new training area at Allandale will allow for a number of teams to train at the club's home facility at Allandale as opposed to going to other facilities.
“It is also further recognition of the hard work undertaken by the club and its creative partnership with the Falkirk Community Foundation in achieving the Community level of the Quality Mark Award.”
The Scottish FA’s facility manager Cameron Watt said: “This project is another great example of a community football club taking a lead role in delivering a quality facility that can be utilised by all.
“It's important to remember that this type of project can also make a significant contribution to the 'active nation' agenda and the Scottish FA is delighted to be able to play it's part in this by supporting clubs with their facility-related aspirations.”
Graham Wright, of Steins Thistle, said: “The club has come a long way from its original set up and the help and support from the Scottish Football Association regional development team has been instrumental in getting these 21st Century facilities in Allandale.
"It is particularly pleasing for me to see the fruits of all the club’s efforts in achieving the Scottish FA Quality Mark Accreditation paying handsome dividends.”
Keep up-to-date with the latest football activity in central Scotland by following @sfa_central on Twitter.
Pics by Falkirk Herald/Gary Hutchison