On Monday 16th May, 250 young people from across the East of Scotland participated in the annual Bank of Scotland Midnight League East Regional Final at Hearts FC’s Tynecastle Stadium. Hearts star David Templeton was joined by Scotland Woman’s International Frankie Brown in support of the event.
David tells us a little bit about his rise from the grassroots game to a professional and international career in our exclusive video.
The Regional Final formed part of this year’s Bank of Scotland Midnight League programme which has been running since January at venues across all 32 Local Authorities in Scotland.
Teams from all over the East and South East of Scotland were represented at the tournament which was played across three age categories – 12-13 years and 14 years and over boys and an open competition for girls. The eventual winners of the 12-13 boys section were Gala Superstars who triumphed 5-1 over Woodmill Young. The older boys title was taken by another Gala side, Sparta Gala, who defeated Penicuik Unites 5-4 in an enthralling encounter. Hawick Girls made it a clean sweep for the borders when they swept aside Morgan Girls 6-2 in their respective final.
Fife’s Rory McKay and Kayleigh Brough of Dundee picked up the Boys and Girls Most Sporting Player of the Day accolades for the talent and sportsmanship they displayed throughout.
David Stirling, Local Director for Bank of Scotland commented: “Congratulations to all the teams on reaching the East Regional Final at Tynecastle. Bank of Scotland is proud to continue its support for the Midnight League which continues to deliver a first class diversionary programme for young people across Scotland.”
Bank of Scotland Midnight League is a national network of diversionary 5-a-side football activity, targeting 12 to 16 year olds across the country. Run in partnership with the Scottish FA, the Bank of Scotland Midnight League programme has expanded over the last 5 years to be established in all 32 Scottish local authorities with over 3000 young people participating across over 100 venues each year.
A recent research study by Stirling University into the wider social effects and benefit of the programme returned some very positive observations. Over 85% of respondents believe that Bank of Scotland Midnight League has had a positive effect on their local community. Instances of anti-social behaviour have dropped by as much as 30% in
some local authority areas when the Leagues are in session with 22% of young people surveyed admitting they 'might be getting into trouble' if they were not playing at their local Midnight League. The Leagues have also been credited with helping to break down social barriers between attendees and local Police. Positive effects on individual participants were also noted as a major benefit with over 70% of respondents stating they enjoy improved self-confidence and esteem as a result of participation and almost 80% feeling fitter and healthier.