A £150,000 revamp one of Dundee’s oldest sport venues could transform the lives of some of the city’s poorest.
Charity Street Soccer Scotland has secured the rights to take over the building from Leisure & Culture Dundee and create a “change centre”.
It will focus on creating opportunities for socially disadvantaged youngsters and adults and those from deprived areas.
The renovation will focus initially on the office suit area, which will be transformed into an area where the charity can provide advice, support, and education to players.
Over time, an ambitious longer term plan will see the centre’s two large sports halls, internal gym, viewing gallery and changing facilities also upgraded.
Funding comes from the Scottish Government’s Social Innovation Partnership, The Hunter Foundation and The Northwood Charitable Trust.
David Mackenzie, Dundee regional manager for Street Soccer Scotland, says he has hugely ambitious plans to make a difference in the city.
He said: “Being born and bred in the city, I’m so proud that we can bring this opportunity to my hometown.
“This centre will aim to transform lives for the better and develop new skill sets for people to reinvent themselves.
“It will offer hope, relationships and purpose, but much more than that, by being at the heart of the local community, it’ll break away some of the misconceptions and stigma around social disadvantage by bringing people together through a range of different activities.”
The project is in the same vein as the hugely successful Showcase the Street initiative in Stobswell, which has helped children struggling with poverty and social problems.
The Lynch Centre will be available for use by local people and bosses plan to open the premises to their partners.
This includes supporting people facing disadvantage, such as providing a base for expert advisors to support those struggling with money-issues, welfare or housing.
Mr Mackenzie added: “We want to be part of the community, working with people and a wide range of partners to build trust and understanding to achieve positive change in all our target groups.
“We want to provide security and a positive structure, not just to our players but members of the wider community too – some of whom may be facing similar issues.”
Sinclair Aitken, chair of Leisure & Culture Dundee, said: “Street Soccer Scotland is such an inspirational organisation, and we are really pleased at how our initial partnership has developed over the last few years.
“We have supported them every step of the way in Dundee and it’s fantastic to see the energy they put in through their programmes bring positive change to people’s lives.”
Founded in 2009, Street Soccer Scotland uses football inspired training and personal development as a medium to empower people.
It is geared towards those affected by social exclusion so they can make positive changes in their lives.
This includes people who have experienced homelessness, mental health problems, addiction and long-term unemployment.
Liverpool and Scotland football star Andy Robertson recently become an ambassador for the charity.