Through the work of the Scottish FA’s partnership with the local authorities and other key partners, several new facility projects have been announced over recent weeks. As well as having a focus for improving existing grass pitches and pavilions in the Region, Scottish FA Regional staff have been working with our local authority partners to increase the stock of available third-generation synthetic pitches.

West Lothian Council recently announced that they will be completing full-sized 3Gs at Bathagte Sports Centre (Balbardie) and Armadale Academy to add to the existing pitches at Murieston FC, Broxburn United SC and Livingston FC.

The City of Edinburgh Council are currently delivering three new 3G pitches at Meggetland Sports Complex (x1) and Forrester/St Augustines High School (x2) adding to the existing seven pitches across the City.

With the ‘Netherdale – The Next Generation’ Partnership currently working to deliver a 120m x 70m 3G pitch at Netherdale, Galashiels and the announcement of plans by Scottish Borders Council to invest heavily in 3G pitches through their recently published Draft Sports Facility Strategy, football in the Borders is continuing to develop.

Midlothian is already catered for by 2.5 3G pitches and East Lothian Council are working with the local clubs and the SFA South East Region to deliver significant investment in a number of 3G pitches by 2012. ELC have also recently completed a £2M investment into football pavilions in the County.

By the end of 2010 the total 3G pitch count for the region will be seventeen with a further five pitches anticipated by 2012.

SFA Regional Manager, Mark Munro has been working with the five local authorities in the South East as well as local community clubs to improve all aspects of football facilities, is very pleased with recent developments; “Despite these difficult times we are keen to set the challenge of having football in Scotland played in quality facilities. The experience of other countries and other sports demonstrates a clear correlation between the quality of the environment for the game and subsequent levels of participation and skills development. In other words, availability and access to quality facilities will promote enhanced playing standards and increased participation by young people”

“The Regional Staff have been working with our community clubs to help improve facilities across the Region. We are in very difficult financial times which are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. However, despite this, it is great to see the Region’s local authorities committing to existing projects as well as looking to invest further where possible. Football is now a core part of each authority’s sports facility plans and hopefully we can continue to work closely with them and other partners to develop opportunities for football into the future, in particular, it would be great to see an investment in football-specific indoor training facilities in the Capital, similar to recently completed projects at Toryglen (Glasgow), Ravenscraig and Aberdeen.