Spartans Football Academy, Edinburgh

Spartans Community Football Academy has recently completed a fantastic new £3.2 million sports complex at its base in Granton, North Edinburgh.

This consists of a community owned and managed facility providing grass and synthetic football pitches. At certain times, members of the community can hire some of the facilities for birthday parties and other functions. The Granton area of Edinburgh suffers from high unemployment, deprivation and high crime levels. There are numerous low income families in the area and far too many of the local children under achieve. Spartans is tackling this by providing a top class sports facility that will encourage young people to participate in sport and divert them from anti-social behaviour elsewhere in the community.

Viridor Credits Scotland provided £21,458 towards the cost of the football nets, corner flags, shelters and other training equipment for this excellent initiative via the Landfill Communities Fund, working in association with Forward Scotland. One particularly interesting part of the project is the purpose-built state of the art clubhouse, which includes educational resources as well as full changing facilities, meeting rooms and a recreation area.

Children who under achieve and are either excluded from school or fail to turn up for their classes, are encouraged to come to the centre and take part in a programme that combines schooling with sport. In return for joining in the morning classes and making progress with their education, they are rewarded with the pleasure of football coaching once the school work is done.

This has helped many youngsters turn away from the spiral of low attainment, exclusion and poverty. The Spartans Football Academy has also employed a female football development officer. The job is to encourage girls to take part in the sport, with the possibility of eventually joining one of the fast-growing number of girls' football teams in Scotland.

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