Bank of Scotland’s Midnight League programme got the thumbs up in Aberdeen when Dame Anne Begg MP visited the latest session at Strikers Football Centre.

Young people from all over Aberdeen are transported to the venue for two hours of safe, organised football delivered by qualified Scottish FA coaches. The youngsters are then taken back to their local areas, all free of charge. The initiative, run in partnership with the Scottish FA, local police, First Bus and the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities programme, takes place weekly between 7.00 and 9.00pm on Saturday evenings.

Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, said: “This is an excellent project. It helps keep young people fit and healthy as well as keeping them off the streets on a Saturday night.”

The leagues have also been well received by Grampian Police who take an active role in overseeing the sessions at Strikers.

Sergeant Hamish King of their Antisocial Behaviour Unit says the programme forms a central part of their diversionary approach:

“We are delighted to continue our support of this initiative which runs at a traditionally peak

time for antisocial behaviour and is successful at getting youths off the street and into a safe, supervised environment. However, I would also like to add that there are still spaces available for this year so if any youths from across the City would like to enter a team I would urge them to get in touch with myself through our Service Centre or alternatively Strikers at the Bridge of Don. I would also like to thank all our partners involved in running this initiative."  

Bank of Scotland recently pledged another three years of support for Midnight Leagues taking their involvement in the programme to over a decade. It all started out as a pilot scheme across just three local authorities back in 2003. Seven years on, the programme now runs in all 32 local authorities in Scotland, attracting over 3000 young people each year.

Bruce Grant, Bank Manager at Bank of Scotland Banchory, commented: “Bank of Scotland is delighted to continue its support of the Midnight League programme. The leagues really aim to make a positive difference in the communities in which they run and we continue to be committed to giving young people in Scotland opportunities to develop and learn new skills.”

The 2011 Midnight League programme will run in over 100 venues throughout the year. For more information, click here...