An exciting new project is set to help develop three Scottish clubs, helping to transform them from football clubs into central hubs of the local community, able to make an impact both on and off the pitch.
After receiving £196,000 in funding from the Big Lottery Fund last year, the Scottish FA invited proposals from community clubs with aspirations of boosting their positive impact on the local community.
Thanks to National Lottery players, three clubs have been identified for the Developing Community Football Clubs pilot project. Plans are now in place to develop them into broader community assets, able to deliver extensive benefits to the people of their community that extend far beyond the boundaries of football.
Each of the three clubs, Annan Athletic FC, Bonnyrigg Rose Community FC and Jeanfield Swifts FC, will take advantage of the project to work towards community asset transfers that will ultimately allow them to better serve the people within their community.
The selected pilot clubs are being supported in this journey with advice and guidance from a variety of sources as they progress with; business and club development plans, undertake governance changes, engage with the local community and ultimately put themselves in the position to continue to support their local community in the most effective way.
These organisations have ambitious plans and hope to work in partnership with a variety of local stakeholders to determine the best way forward to help support their existing playing members and the wider community.
Annan Athletic, already a HUB for so many of the local population hope to benefit from a community asset transfer having pinpointed a lack of meeting and conference facilities in the local area, the club are seeking to upgrade their facilities to cater for this demand and allow them to increase their impact locally.
Bonnyrigg Rose are an established focal point for the community, offering a variety of services, including women and girls teams, over 35's and over 50's walking football teams. With a surge in the local population expected in the next five years, they face a struggle to satisfy increasing demand. With the club currently leasing their facilities, they have identified the need to secure ownership for themselves in order to potentially open up new revenue streams, with opportunities identified for any increased income to be reinvested to ultimately to allow them to engage with more members of the wider community.
Jeanfield Swifts currently offer teams for a variety of ages and abilities, including Futsal, girls’ and women’s football and a disability team an upgrade of their existing sports facilities and pitches, could help create a multi-sport hub that will help with inequalities in the community as they aim to cater for all.
“The Developing Community Football Clubs project is an ambitious, forward-thinking initiative that recognises the power that football has to create social impact and change within communities,” said Stewart Regan, Chief Executive of the Scottish FA.
“We are extremely grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for funding this project, which has ample social benefits and could potentially transform the makeup of these local communities.
“Football is more than the national sport in Scotland – it can also be a change-maker and a powerful tool that can unite groups and drive positive change.
“Through this initiative we are offered a glimpse of the unifying force football can be when communities work together for the benefit of others.”
“We supported the project because we saw great potential in the power of football and community coming together,” said Neil Ritch, Deputy Director Big Lottery Fund Scotland.
“It is great to see that starting to happen in Annan, Bonnyrigg and Perth. The work these clubs have already done shows the huge potential that clubs have to bring their communities together with a real social purpose.
“This is a great example of National Lottery money in action strengthening the assets we have in communities and making a real difference to people’s lives.”