Spartans Community Football Academy are the latest organisation to benefit from investment from The Scottish Football Partnership Trust’s (SFP Trust) Grassroots Football Facilities Fund. The Academy, a charity and social enterprise based at Ainslie Park , develops and delivers programmes and activities which aim to improve the quality of peoples’ lives in the local community, addressing disadvantages caused by poverty and deprivation. Spartans are uniquely placed to use football and sport more generally to improve the lives of local residents of all ages with the surrounding area of North Edinburgh home to some of the poorest postcodes, in terms of SIMD, in the country.
In 2018 a significant refurbishment of Ainslie Park got underway with the replacement of the 3G surfaces on the two main pitches, with these projects complimented by investment in new LED floodlighting. Having received grant support for these facility developments from the Scottish Football Partnership and the SFP Trust, the Community Football Academy reached out again to the SFP Trust for support as it sought to upgrade their now decade old 3G 5 a-side community training pitch.
Debbi McCulloch, Deputy Chief Executive said; “Our youth work activities include social/educational support for pupils in local school’s and free youth club’s on site at the Academy. Our 5’s pitch is the focal point of these youth club’s as it offers a safe space for our participants to play and enjoy things like the FooTea Club and our free street football drop in sessions for young people.”
“Our education programmes aim to reduce the poverty related attainment gap and provide support and learning in STEM and mental health and wellbeing. Our Alternative School provides one to one support for young people who are at risk of exclusion from mainstream education. We deliver free physical education opportunities for local school’s and special educational needs school’s through our community coaching team. The 5 a-side pitch is central to all of these activities. It is where we deliver our free football programmes and it is used as a “chill out” and activity area for the Alternative School. In our wider community programmes the 5’s pitch is the home to Granton Primary School’s Primary 7 football team and our weekly women’s only football fitness group, Still Kicking. Another exciting initiative, which is delivered on our 5’s pitch, is GoFitba in partnership with The Scottish Football Partnership Trust. This project allows us to develop close relationships with local school children, get them more physically active, provide a hot, healthy meal and educate them on nutrition.”
“Additionally, our Girls Academy Under 9’s (16 players) also utilize the 5’s pitch for training purposes on a weekly basis. Our U9’s group is the starting point within our Girls Pathway and provides young players the opportunity to master the basic skills and techniques of the game. At this stage, they fall in love with the game and have development opportunities to progress through our player pathway (U9’s to SWPL 1).”
“On behalf of myself and everyone connected with the Spartans Community Football Academy I would like to thank the Trustees of the SFP Trust for their continued support and their investment in our new community pitch.”