Spartans in £900,000 Social Investment Boost

Posted: 04 September 2009, in Sector News

Spartans In £900,000 Social Investment Boost

Spartans F.C’s new community football academy is set for completion thanks to a significant cash injection from the £30m Scottish Investment Fund (SIF).

Under the Scottish Government fund – which is managed by Social Investment Scotland – Spartans Community Football Academy – will receive £900,000 of strategic social investment and loan funding towards the completion of the Academy and to enable additional facilities to be created.

The new centre – based at Spartans Ainslie Park in Pilton Drive – provides North Edinburgh with a community inspired and managed facility to help develop the sporting, social and life skills of local people of all ages.

The facilities comprise a community synthetic full size pitch, a synthetic 5 a side pitch, a grass stadium pitch with a capacity of 3000, eight changing rooms, a physiotherapy centre, a learning centre and a community club room. 

The Academy provides local young people with a place to go, keep healthy and stay safe. The academy’s vision and future aspirations include a number of specific key social aims and objectives. These are:

  • To provide new opportunities for more people to participate in sport and recreational activities.
  • To provide learning and development opportunities for people.
  • To have a positive impact on social targets such as health improvement, increased employment opportunities and crime reduction.
  • To help strengthen community cohesion by becoming a focal point for a range of community based activities and programmes.

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said: “The projects supported by the Scottish Investment Fund have the power to transform lives and that’s why this Government has increased funding for the third sector. I am delighted to see the Scottish Investment Fund support impressive organisations such as Spartans, which can reach individuals where the public and private sectors do not operate. I am sure both of these projects will make a huge contribution to their communities, help tackle health inequalities and create valuable employment opportunities – especially important in the current economic climate to help Scotland emerge faster and stronger from the downturn."

Alistair Davis of Social Investment Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to announce this latest investment from the Scottish Investment Fund and moreover, to be able to assist such an outstanding project which will deliver first rate work in the community. Many young people across Scotland face a range of challenges in contemporary  society and projects such as  the Spartans Academy can make a huge difference in terms of  making sure young people are given the help and support required to realise their full potential.’’

Craig Graham, Spartans chairman added: “This funding package secures our immediate financial position and allows us to implement our plans for growing the work we do in North Edinburgh.  We have over 1500 people using the Academy every week across a range of sporting and learning activities and we are already delivering real benefits. ‘’

He went on: “As an example our free “Street Football in a Safe Place” initiative has been held on 265 of the 270 days since we opened and has been enjoyed by over 8000 players…mostly youngsters but increasingly with parents joining in.  This funding will help us extend into new sports such as basketball and skateboarding, and extend our outreach community programme with the coaches working on site in youth clubs, community centres and schools.”

Craig Campbell, Chief Executive of Social Investment Scotland added: "This is a pivotal investment by the Scottish Investment Fund. Sport has such a huge part to play in the lives of so many people and can be used a positive diversion away from other "activities". By locating the Academy bang in the middle of one of Scotland most disadvantaged areas, Spartans have an outstanding opportunity to grow their relationship with the young people and their families in that area and provide an array of opportunities. This isn’t just a football facility. This is a hub where thousands of children, youths, parents and others can come together. At Social Investment Scotland we will be deepening our relationship with Spartans as they move forward with their energetic ideas and plans to help them deliver long lasting solutions for people in that area. We expect to see demonstrable improvements to health, crime, employability, confidence and of course participation in sport. This social enterprise model has the potential to become a blueprint for public sector bodies to deliver targets in particularly traditional hard to reach parts of the population."