Last Saturday saw Easter Road, home of Hibernian FC, host this year’s annual Scottish FA South East Region Quality Mark Awards ceremony, where 24 clubs were honoured for their candid work throughout the last year.
The four available awards - Standard, Development, Community or Legacy – are awarded based on the clubs’ efforts to contribute to the grassroots game. The Scottish FA Quality Mark awards aims to recognise the difference made by clubs and coaches to develop local players, as well as acknowledging the difference made to their local community.
The first set of awards – the Standard award – were presented by a group of people who know Easter Road Stadium very well, as South East Regional manager David Drummond was joined by Skol-cup winning former Hibernian striker Keith Wright, and Hibernian Ladies captain Joelle Murray.
Before the Legacy Award was awarded, Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie was on hand to address the room, acknowledging the unique work put in by coaches and parents throughout the grassroots game. After the speech, Petrie joined Drummond to hand the Legacy award to Linlithgow Rose, for their exceptional contribution to grassroots football over the last year.
Just before the event finished, a short documentary was screened highlighting the work done by the Heart of Midlothian Youth Academy and Tranent Colts, as they travelled to Rwanda in June last year to run a development programme for the local community. The trip aimed to strengthen the relationship between the two countries, and to help the local children and coaches to learn more about coaching the game.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Club Development Manager Tony Begg said: “I think it’s really important that we recognise all of the volunteers, players and coaches who put thousands of hours a year into supporting not just young people, but everybody who wants to be able to play the game.”
“As volunteers they don’t get paid, so it’s really important for at least once a year to say ‘thank you’ to them all.”
“The Quality Mark has given us a way to engage with clubs and a starting point to talk to them. What we’re finding now is that the Quality Mark puts the foundations in for the clubs, giving them a solid base. That allows us to start conversations about how to develop clubs, how to work out a plan and to help us reach that plan with them.”
The clubs recognised were:
North Berwick Colts
Whitehall Welfare Colts
Leithen Vale FC
Bathgate Thistle CFC
Polbeth United CFC
Redhall Star YFC
Armiston Rangers CFC
Gala Fairydean Rovers
Dunbar United Colts
Currie Star FC
Linlithgow Rose CFC