On arrival at Lochee Park, it was apparent that Dryburgh Athletic FC are doing many great things within their community. With girls of all ages training on the pitch, Youth Football Scotland caught up with coaches from coaches from both the girls and boys section
Both secretary and chairman of Dryburgh Athletic, John Beatt and Ronnie McCabe, were quick to compliment the Quality Mark award scheme that has seen their side become a more attractive team to outsiders and improve the togetherness of the community.
"I think what Quality Mark has done and [what] community clubs have done is bring together kids in certain areas,” said McCabe.
"Going back, kids would jump from team to team. But now we tend to find that a lot of kids come from the same schools. They grow up together, they go from school to club lengths, ‘Fun 4’s’ and stuff, so by the time they’ve grown it’s all their friends that are in the same team as them, they’re from the same area."
This does not just have an impact on the pitch, but away from it too. "It builds that community spirit within them, and I think that’s the main thing for Dryburgh. It lets them come together in an area with a common goal," said McCabe.
The safety of the kids is of paramount importance, and McCabe was also keen to stress that the Quality Mark would appeal to mothers, fathers, and guardians: “It lets the parents and any sponsors see that we’re certified, that we take things seriously, and that all the staff that we have, all the coaches, first aiders, are all certified, they’re all disclosure checked."
This confidence in the club is reflected in the coaching quality, which has been helped by Athletic’s status as a ‘Community Club’. The girls section, run by Beatt, has recently joined together with the boys section, and Beatt complimented the Scottish FA’s support in this task: “Joining together with the boys section, it opens up a lot of doors for ourselves. The people at the Scottish FA East office have been fantastic with us, they’ve given us a lot of help in setting up the community club."
In turn, the club has seen benefits rewarded to them. "It’s opened up a few doors for us in that the coaches, myself, and a coach from the boys section, have taken part in the McDonald’s Scottish FA Coach Mentor process, which is something that has come along with the community club," Beatt said.
This was a programme that Beatt heaped praise on: "[It’s] been fantastic. It’s given us as coaches an opportunity to work with Craig Ferret from the SFA, whose knowledge is brilliant. He’s been fantastic and he’s helping us put together a ‘Coaches Philosophy’, which we’re hoping to run across the board with all the coaches at the club."