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Football playing opportunities are set to increase in Airdrie following the creation of an innovative new partnership between local government and the town’s biggest grassroots club.
Gartcairn Football Academy, North Lanarkshire Council and North Lanarkshire Leisure have agreed to work together to support the development of the sport and improve facilities in the area through the ‘Football Development Partnership’.
The move has resulted in an investment of £214k into a new 3G pitch at St Margaret’s High School in Airdrie, courtesy of the Scottish Football Partnership.
Gartcairn, a Community level Quality Mark club, has been given a licence from their local authority to use the refurbished pitch up to four nights a week and at weekends to play matches.
Robert McCallum, Gartcairn Football Academy chairman, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be able to have the whole of Gartcairn Football Academy playing and training within a central location.
“It has been difficult getting information out to parents over the years due to the teams training and playing all over Airdrie and Coatbridge.
“Now that we are based within a central location it allows us to communicate better with the players and parents.
“I am expecting a potential 40% increase in players and teams due to the new central location and park.
“I look forward to working more closely with the Airdrie Sports Hub and also North Lanarkshire Leisure to form a partnership, which works for the people of the community.
“I would like to thank Councillor Logue and Ian Murdoch for having the belief in what we are trying to do here at Gartcairn and also wish to thank the Scottish Football Partnership and the Scottish FA for their continual support of this project.”
Scottish FA Central regional manager Andrew Gilchrist said: "It is tremendous news to hear of another club based facility initiative that is being developed in North Lanarkshire.
“Gartcairn Football Academy is one of the most progressive clubs not only in North Lanarkshire but in Scotland.
“It is fantastic and is testament to the hard work that everyone associated with the club has put in, but in particular Robert McCallum who has shown tremendous drive and leadership in promoting the clubs ‘those that want to play, shall play’ ethos.
“I'd like to thank the Scottish Football Partnership for making this investment into the club and for the foresight of North Lanarkshire Council and North Lanarkshire Leisure in entering this exciting partnership with the club.
“I hope this partnership creates a blueprint that other clubs in North Lanarkshire can follow.”
Gartcairn are always on the lookout for more volunteers, if you wish to volunteer please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also if you are a girl or boy looking to play, email email@example.com to see if there is space within your age group.
Quality Mark is designed to support and recognise the work of clubs and teams who have a desire to be the very best they can be.
To gain one of the awards - Entry, Standard, Development, Community or Legacy - there is a related list of criteria that the club must achieve. This criteria is aimed at improving or supporting management, development structures, administration, planning and welfare.
For more information on the programme, click here.