The Scottish FA unveiled its new Diversity & Inclusion strategy, an update to the previous strategy which was aimed at increasing the number of people from Ethnic Minorities (EM) participating in the game.

Support from the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities Fund has resulted in a team of Football Equity Officers being appointed to the Association.

With the expertise of strategic partners BEMIS Scotland - a national umbrella organisation working with all ethnic minority communities – the Association is now able to roll out its exciting and inclusive project of participation for Ethnic Minority communities across Scotland.

The event, held at Gala Fairydean Rovers FC, Netherdale Stadium, was an ideal setting as the club have recently made great strides to try and engage the wider community into the club. This has come in the form of many new opportunities for players such as, walking football, disability football and more recently engaging a group of local Kurdish businessman who a variation of different businesses throughout the area.

Gala Fairydean Rovers held a community consultation on the 31st October targeting minority communities in the area, as part of their commitment to the Captains of Change project. The consultation aimed to provide an opportunity for the club to hear the voices of those currently not engaged in the club and to understand the barriers as to why this was.

Although numbers on the day were disappointing (6 attended) there were many positives taken from the meeting including feedback from one attendee suggesting why the turnout was low. Actions taken from the meeting included:

-    Linking in with adults from a Turkish and Romanian background currently playing recreationally out with the club
-    Offering a less formal environment to attend the club and discuss barriers, such as a coffee morning.
Moving forward, the club are offering minority communities the opportunity to access the facility so that a link can be created.

Paul Fitzpatrick from the SFA told us: "The SFA is committed to ensuring that football in Scotland is open to all and that barriers, real and perceived, are removed, particularly in relation to underrepresented groups.

"The Scottish FA is delighted to be working in partnership with Gala Fairydean Rovers to highlight our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and showcase the great work that the club are also doing in trying to develop relationships and create opportunities for the local Ethnic Minority community.

"Gala Fairydean Rovers have also been heavily involved in the Scottish FA’s ‘Captains of Change’ which aims to support clubs in providing 'A Game for All'.

"A Game for All is a project that will provide the tools for clubs to continue their good work in engaging their local community with the ambition of becoming truly representative of the community they belong to.”

Club Secretary Graeme McIver added: "Gala Fairydean Rovers are a club determined to place ourselves in the heart of the Galashiels and wider Borders Community.

"We are delighted to have hosted this game as part of our attempts to better engage with those people who have travelled from other countries to make their home in the Scottish Borders.

"Football is a much loved game the world over and we want people to know that wherever they have come from, they will be welcome at Gala Fairydean Rovers FC."