Clubs in the community
Football clubs, both large and small, have always played an important part in building community identity and civic pride. Anyone who witnessed the mass celebrations that took place on Leith Links after Hibs' Scottish Cup victory will attest to that. But for too long time this was a one way street, with clubs milking the fans devotion and giving little back beyond the dubious pleasure of watching them on a Saturday afternoon. However, increasingly senior clubs are waking up to their wider civic responsibilities by supporting the establishment of community trusts. Clubs like Falkirk FC.
Falkirk Foundation, the charity arm of Falkirk Football Club, is pleased to announce that an outline agreement has been reached to progress towards the Community Asset Transfer of Woodlands Games Hall & Pitch to a new community enterprise called Woodlands Community Sports Ltd.
The proposal will see the Foundation working in partnership with Comely Park Parent Council to bring the under threat facility back to life with an initial £200,000 grant investment secured from the Landfill Communities Fund. This initial investment will see a brand new 3G pitch installed to replace the existing surface together with upgrades to floodlighting, fencing and equipment.
A second round of fundraising is now underway to secure the full asset transfer. This will involve investing in the games hall building to replace and modernise existing facilities and upgrade for a range of community uses.
The upgrades will secure the future of the games hall and pitch for the long term provision of physical education at Comely Park Primary School, who utilise the facilities during term time, provide a new venue for delivery of Falkirk Foundation’s Community Football programme and provide a modern and openly accessible facility for a range of sporting and community users in the Falkirk area.
Craig Campbell, Chief Executive of Falkirk Foundation said: “This is a brilliant example of true partnership between the local council and the local community, working for the benefit of local children. The new investment we are delivering will create a first-class facility for young children to play sport and will bring fresh energy to a facility right in the centre of Falkirk. We believe this will inspire other community organisations throughout Scotland to look at how they can secure the long-term provision of facilities in their own areas through Community Asset Transfer.”
Doug Henderson, Chairman of Falkirk Football Club commented: “This is an excellent example of the Football Club and the Foundation working with Falkirk Council and the local community to preserve and extend vital services. This will be a good boost for the local community in the Woodlands area and the wider community in Falkirk.
“I have always believed that preserving local sporting facilities is a vital part of promoting activities that are important for health and fun.”
Mel Brookes, Joint Chair at Comely Park Parent Council added: “After many months of hard work, we’re delighted to have been able to secure the future of sports and activities for the children of Comely Park and the local area. We’re convinced this project will provide a blueprint for other community groups to follow in future years.”