On the back of the introduction of six new 3G football pitches in the East Lothian area since 2010, facilities available to young footballers have risen greatly and benefited new rising talent indefinitely.
East Lothian Council has invested over £2.4 million into synthetic pitches within the local authority since 2010. With the addition of Prestonpans, Dunbar and North Berwick in 2014 every town and local area has access to a community synthetic pitch with floodlighting. These last 3 pitches were supported by investment of £600,000 from sportscotland and the Scottish Football Partnership who have successfully completed their aim of offering funding grants to improve the level of grassroots football.
A promising investment into delivering facilities that can withstand Scottish winters in order for teams to play and train all year round has seen not only local youth teams make good use of what is available but teams of a semi-professional level. Haddington Juniors and SPFL outfit Berwick Rangers have been known to use the 3G pitch located in Whittinghame Drive, Haddington, for their training sessions throughout the season.
Due to the opening of these new projects, the East Lothian area has seen itself become number two in the country for pitches per head of population. Towering above the regions of Edinburgh and West Lothian, with a 1 pitch: 16,666 people ratio, East Lothian goes beyond the national average with a total of 6 new all-weather pitches accessible. Something East Lothian council are proud to have contributed towards.
Sean McAuley, Football Development Officer for East Lothian explained: “The new 3G pitches have had a great impact throughout East Lothian with local clubs receiving lots of new requests from young people looking to join their  teams and with the facilities all being in close proximity to each of the 6 high schools they have also benefited greatly by using them for Physical Education classes and the school teams training & games.”

“It’s fantastic to see how appealing this makes football to participate in for people of all ages and it’s not just football but sport in general that the 6 synthetic pitches has had a positive impact on within the local authority.”
Following their successful application to the Scottish Government's Cashback for Communities fund, West Lothian Council can now add £300,000 worth of funding to their already committed funds of £200,000 to help create a new artificial 3G facility at Linlithgow Leisure Centre". CashBack for Communities is a Scottish government initiative designed to donate funds recovered from crime and invest them into free activities and programmes for young people across Scotland. Linlithgow does not currently have a synthetic pitch in their area and it is welcomed by all.
Scottish FA South East Region Manager, David Drummond, also praised East Lothian council’s efforts in helping construct the facilities: "East Lothian Council should be commended on their strategy to develop football facilities across the county. By investing in each of the 6 large towns of East Lothian, they have ensured that every footballer, young and old, will have the chance to train and play on some of the best pitches in the country, providing a platform for players to reach their full potential.”
The second major project in the pipeline is scheduled to take place at Balerno High School, creating yet another 3G facility that will provide a top-class playing surface for the students of the school as well as Currie Rugby Club and Currie Star Football Club. This development is jointly funded by CashBack for Communities and the City of Edinburgh Council and hopes to promote an idea of a healthy lifestyle and encourage involvement with sport.
Edinburgh will also play host to the impressive National Performance Centre for Sport which will situated at Riccarton Campus of Heriot Watt University. The £30 million multi-sports centre will hope to catapult Scotland’s great talents and give them a platform to showcase their skills on the world stage. The Scottish Government will input £25 million into achieving this goal, with Heriot Watt and Edinburgh council investing £2.5 million each. The centre will include and indoor and outdoor 3G synthetic pitch, a full size Hampden grass pitch and five outdoor grass pitches. The project is estimated to be complete and fully operational by 2016.
With the plans for Scottish sport facilities developing quickly, it is assuring young people and those with high ambitions in the world of sport places to improve their craft and place themselves on the same level as world class athletes. Scotland are sending out the message that they are capable of greatness in producing sporting excellence.