Buckie Thistle Football Development has been recognised for its valuable contribution to grassroots football.
Head of youth David Findlay accepted the Scottish FA Quality Mark Standard Award on behalf of the club.
The award, part of the Quality Mark Accreditation Scheme run by the Scottish FA in partnership with McDonald’s, and supported by the Big Lottery Fund, recognises proactive clubs and schools working to increase youth and community participation.
David Findlay said: "It has taken five years or so to get the club to this position. All of this has involved a lot of very hard work by the coaches - hundreds of hours in fact - including travelling all over the place to attend courses. This is all done in their own time. All of the coaches at the different levels have pulled together brilliantly, and the reason is we all have the same goal: we all want the best for the kids we coach."
Mark Slater, Scottish FA club development manager for the North region was on hand to present the award. He added, "I'd like to congratulate all at Buckie Thistle Football Development for this fantastic achievement. The Quality Mark award recognises their hard work and dedication to improving football for players in the Buckie area. The club is not far away from achieving the next level - the Development Quality Mark Award - and would become only the third club in the North to attain that. Well done".
The Buckie Thistle Football Development programme caters for primary school youngsters right through to the Under 21 reserve side.
A focus on fostering young talent took centre stage a number of years ago as the club aimed to fill the void left by the cessation of school football since the mid-1980s, and its place at the heart of the community.
Since then, it has helped inspire Buckie Community High School, who now play in a league against other schools.
Youngsters from the various levels at Buckie Thistle also compete in the Moray Youth Development League. And the club has recently seen another major step forward with the formation of girls’ teams.
McDonald’s, official partner of the Scottish FA Quality Mark Accreditation Scheme, will invest £100,000 in the scheme over three years as part of its ongoing commitment to grassroots football in Scotland.
The Quality Mark scheme is supported by the Big Lottery Fund, which contributes to the employment of all Scottish FA club development staff, as well as discounted coach education and first aid courses for grassroots volunteers.
For further information on the Scottish FA Quality Mark programme, please visit www.scottishfa.co.uk/footballdevelopment