A Perthshire football club has kicked off plans to improve life in its community through participation in the game.
The Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Football Club (BRCFC) plans to inspire change in locals’ mental and physical health through its work.
With funding from Perth and Kinross Council and the Gannochy Trust, work to create an all-weather 3G pitch has begun at Davie Park in Rattray.
Organisers hope it will encourage more people to have a kick about all year round.
And the first piece of turf was dug up on Monday by Perth and Kinross Council leader Murray Lyle as phase one of the renovations got underway.
What does this mean for the community?
On completion, new floodlighting and car parking improvements will be in place alongside the all-weather pitch.
Organisers say the facility will help form greater community spirit and cohesion as a social hub, bringing individuals and groups together.
BFCFC Trustee Sandy Thomson said: “I am very proud of what our small group of volunteers on the committee have been able to achieve in such a short period.
“Although the concept began in 2018, it has really been in the last six months that we all got our heads down and worked closely with officers of Perth and Kinross Council to get to this point.
“This has been a partnership between the council and the BRCFC that has proved that both public and private bodies can work together to bring about significant changes to a town’s facilities.
“Our vision is to improve the quality of life and outlook for all residents within the Blairgowrie and Rattray community through participation in football and physical activity.
“We also use football to inspire change with mental health football, walking football, fun fit families, fun physical fitness for females only, and physical literacy for young people.”
He added: “Football and other sports struggle to remain active during the winter months as there is no suitable facilities nearby.
“Having to travel to Dundee and Perth adds costs and reliance on transport, creating barriers to members’ participation, adding to the club’s carbon footprint.”
‘Drive and commitment’
Councillor Murray Lyle praised the team for their efforts to support the community.
“Perth and Kinross Council has been delighted to be able to work with Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Football Club to deliver this all-weather pitch,” he said.
“It is a great example of the PK Offer in action, where the council works with local organisations to deliver what their communities need.
“What is even more remarkable is this project has been driven through during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The start of work today is testament to the drive and commitment of Sandy Thomson at BRCFC and everyone else who has helped get the project off the ground.”