Towards the end of summer 2014 The Scottish Football Partnership made an award of Portable Changing Rooms to Whalsay F.C to complement the clubs 3G playing facility at Harbison Park.
Maurice Haining Community sports hub officer for the area describes the epic journey the units took from the SFP’s holding yard in Edinburgh and the positive impact which has already been felt from the club and the wider community on the Shetland Isles ;
“After a marathon journey which involved a journey firstly to Aberdeen, then an overnight ferry crossing to Lerwick, another road trip northwards through Shetland and finally another ferry crossing to Whalsay, two portable changing rooms supplied by the Scottish Football Partnership eventually arrived on site beside the Harbison Park synthetic pitch. The pitch is situated close to the local Leisure Centre in the island’s main town of Symbister but has no changing and showering facilities. The football club can pay to hire these facilities from the Leisure Centre but only if it is open at the time of the match or training session”.
“Being the only artificial football surface in the whole of the Shetland Isles, the pitch is well used not only for football training and matches but also by the local junior high school and by other outdoor sports such as hockey. Winters are long and the weather can be brutal at times so even during the short outdoor season – April to early September – the grass pitches are often unplayable. The local football club, Whalsay FC, and the local community were quick to act when they became aware of the Scottish Football Partnership scheme and an application was duly dispatched. The result can be seen in the photographs accompanying this article”.
“The introduction of the portable changing rooms has been a major boost to the football club and local community. Players attending junior training sessions and matches, particularly visiting teams, no longer have to change at the side of the pitch or, probably worse, face a lengthy journey home by ferry and then car or bus still in their playing kit! Match kick off times are often dictated by the ferry timetable so the senior teams are also benefitting from the availability of the changing rooms. They have also helped solve another ‘wee’ problem – with the leisure centre being some distance from the pitch players did not always bother to walk the distance to make use of the toilet facilities which lead to some negative feedback from local residents”!
“The football club is very grateful to the Scottish Football Partnership for their support in making this project a reality”