It’s been a year of significant development for Bonnyrigg Rose, who have grabbed the opportunities presented to them by the National Lottery funded Developing Community Clubs pilot programme with both hands.
The club is working through the asset transfer process with Midlothian Council and one area of focus as part of the process is to come up with a plan to redevelop the 3G pitch and surrounding facilities to secure the clubs future in football and in the community development.
One of the main developments for the Midlothian outfit has been to develop mental health seminars and focus groups on mental health issues, something that has made a real and tangible difference in the local community. The past twelve months has seen the introduction of a bursary, discount schemes for members and social evenings with view to breaking down isolation and promoting inclusion within the club and the community.
With Bonnyrigg currently leasing Poltonhall Pavilion, they have made significant investment in improving the standard of the changing facilities as well as improving the small community hall and kitchen. This has provided the club with the opportunity to partner with Bonnyrigg Wrap Around Care in offering affordable nursery care for 16 children in the locality, alongside five new jobs generated by this initiative.
“The catalyst for club in breaking into the community has been the mental health programme” says Trish Sime, the club's Development Manager.
"It’s opened so many doors for the club in allowing the club to integrate into other aspects of the community.
“We now have people coming to us asking for support and advice, as well as groups coming to us and saying that they’re looking to develop their mental health programmes.”
Danny Bisland, Scottish FA National Club GROW Manager, added: “Clubs realise they have an impact on the person and not just the player and are doing more and more to help out the local community.
“Bonnyrigg Rose speak of having well over 2000 people locally who are directly affected by the club or have links to it.
“For instance, Bonnyrigg built a nursery. It might not have been something that they signed up for at the start, but they just get the fact that it is going to help out people on their doorstep.
“When you sit in front of clubs like Bonnyrigg, you can't help but feel inspired.”