Ayr United Football Academy (AUFA) is set to receive £70,000 of government funding to work with four local schools by providing after school and holiday sports clubs.
 
The funding, announced today by Scottish Government following the publication of the School Age Childcare Progress Report, will help offer services to support children, families and communities in the months ahead.
 
As a result of a collaborative approach between the Scottish FA and UEFA to produce a Social Return on Investment Report with AUFA, Scottish Government earmarked the South Ayrshire club for the funding announced today.
 
The Holiday Club will take place during summer, October, Christmas, and Easter school holidays and will target three primary and one secondary school in Ayr. The children will be entitled to free week-long sporting activity and AUFA will help supply nutritional snacks and drinks at each session.
 
The funding will also allow AUFA to offer training and coaching qualifications to the parents or guardians of the children that attend. AUFA will engage with the local grassroots club, Whitletts Victoria, and the Ayr North Community Hub - both situated in North Ayr. With this engagement, AUFA will be able to encourage children, parents and carers to join pathways where they will experience playing, coaching or volunteering and begin a journey that can last a lifetime. 
 
As part of the childcare offer, AUFA will also deliver two employability courses over the two years, each programme lasting 12 weeks each with participants taking part twice a week. The programme is aimed at parents/carers gaining new qualifications, experiencing job opportunities, exercising twice per week, linking with their local job centre and ultimately providing a package that will give someone confidence to start a new career or further the career they are currently involved in.
 
To show their support and eagerness to help both children and parents/carers AUFA will offer families the opportunity to attend Ayr United Football Club home matches during the season, allowing them to support their local professional club and give them an opportunity to be excited about something on their doorstep.
 
Scottish FA National Club Grow Manager Danny Bisland said: “Football plays such an important role in communities and over the coming months, as we see football gradually return across the country, the game will be vital for so many people across the country.
 
"In the past year, participants, clubs and communities have faced many challenges. The SROI report produced with UEFA and Ayr United Football Academy demonstrates the true value of our clubs to society and this funding comes at a crucial time. These sessions will help the club support more families in the South Ayrshire community and I want to thank the Scottish Government for their investment in to the club."
 
Children’s Minister Maree Todd said: “We know that the last year has been challenging for many school age childcare providers, and I am pleased we can provide targeted financial support for the sector.
 
“School age childcare services play a vital role in providing children with opportunities to play and socialise, while also helping parents and carers to access work and training opportunities.
 
“These services will be crucial in supporting children, families and the wider economic recovery in the months ahead.”