Wednesday, 03 June 2009
Shona Robison MSP, Minister for Sport, has visited Partick Thistle Football Club to discuss the club’s community engagement programme. The programme is an innovative new approach by the club to promote engagement with the wider community. The Scottish Government is currently developing the final plan for the 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy and is keen to include community sport as a central part of that plan.
David Denton, Chair of mental health charity SAMH and Gordon Carlisle, Chair of the Glasgow Old Peoples Welfare Association (GOPWA) came along to explain to the Minster about the positive effect the programme was having in the community.
Service users from a number of charity organisations are welcomed to the club to participate in football and fitness and are allowed in to matches free of charge. Under 16s now get free access to watch games, a move which has also resulted in increased adult numbers coming through the turnstiles.
SNP MSP for Glasgow, Bob Doris, arranged the visit. Mr Doris invited the Minister to visit the Maryhill club during a recent debate in the Scottish Parliament on achieving a legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Mr Doris said: "Improving the health of the nation is a key objective for the Scottish Government and thoughts are now concentrating on how best to create a real sporting legacy beyond the 2014 Games.
"Partick Thistle are to be commended for their imaginative approach to tackling social exclusion in Glasgow whilst also contributing to the long term sustainability of this historic football club."
Club board member, Kieron Dempsey, who runs the programme commented that the club was still in the early stages of developing the idea but he hoped eventually to have something unique which could be of benefit to other sporting clubs across the country.
Mr Dempsey commented: "We can see real potential for the programme to improve the lives of the many socially excluded groups in the local area. We have this wonderful facility here, let's put it to good use and make it a real sporting focal point for the local community."
Bob Doris MSP added: "I really believe that this initiative can have a long lasting positive social impact on the city. Whilst the 2014 Games will bring infrastructure investment and tourism benefits, the real legacy of these games will be in how the nation participates in sport. I think Partick Thistle are leading the way here and I would encourage any other sporting organisation to follow this example."