An exciting new initiative is set to increase the number of young people taking part in football in Airdrie.
Gartcairn Football Academy, North Lanarkshire Council and North Lanarkshire Leisure have agreed to work together to support the development of the sport and improve facilities in the area.
Councillors at the Learning and Leisure Services Committee approved the Football Development Partnership Initiative on Tuesday 20 August.
This new approach has already gained the approval of national bodies with the Scottish Football Partnership (SFP), making a significant contribution towards the replacement of a synthetic pitch at St Margaret’s High School in Airdrie.
Work is underway to replace the surface at a cost of £214k.
Robert McCallum, Gartcairn Football Academy Chairman, said: "I am absolutely delighted to be able to have the whole of Gartcairn Football Academy playing and training within a central location.
“It has been difficult getting information out to parents over the years due to the teams training and playing all over Airdrie and Coatbridge.
Now that we are based within a central location it allows us to communicate better with the players and parents.
I am expecting a potential 40% increase in players and teams due to the new central location and park.
I look forward to working more closely with the Airdrie Sports Hub and also North Lanarkshire Leisure to form a partnership, which works for the people of the community.
I would like to thank Councillor Logue and Ian Murdoch for having the belief in what we are trying to do here at Gartcairn and also wish to thank the Scottish Football Partnership for their significant investment and the Scottish FA for their continual support of this project."
Councillor Jim Logue, Convener of Learning and Leisure Services and Chair of NLL, said: “This is a hugely positive step forward for youth football in the area and it follows on from a similar partnership model we developed earlier in the year with Cumbernauld Colts at Broadwood Stadium.
“Robert and his fellow coaches have worked tirelessly to get to this stage. They have gained all the necessary accreditation that enables them to gain grant funding from bodies such as the Scottish Football Partnership.
“We are very positive that this is just the start of things to come and we are hopeful that we will soon be able to significantly improve the grass pitch next to Airdrie Leisure Centre.
“The partnership really is a win-win. It allows Gartcairn to expand the number and range of sessions they can offer and it gives St Margarets High the opportunity to use the pitch during school hours.