Growth across Scotland excites Stuart

2022 was the first full calendar year of Street Soccer’s Network programme in function and and Network Manager, Stuart Lovell, is buoyant about its continued growth.

The year started with a brand new session in Motherwell, the first of two now in Lanarkshire, and Stuart was keen to praise the work of partners in Street Soccer’s new locations.

“Dave Gallagher at Recovery Scotland has been a great help to the expansion of our work in Motherwell and that was just the start of a really successful year of the network programme.

We want to help bring communities together and our network partners are great at bringing together players from different backgrounds to enjoy our football sessions. The Beacons are another, at our session in Hamilton, who have allowed us to bring more hope to players in the area.”

Players at our Livingston session continue to enjoy weekly football every Thursday

The Street Soccer session at Hamilton Palace Sports Ground started in September and followed Glenrothes as Street Soccer’s eight and ninth permanent locations, this year. Stuart touched on the unique structure of the programme in Fife, which has been a particular highlight so far this year.

“Street Soccer’s Head of Programmes, Andy Hook, and I delivered an SCQF course in Glenrothes earlier in the year and we knew there was real appetite for Street Soccer’s work to continue in the area. The beauty of it is that we have participants who are now ready to deliver sessions, meaning we can really highlight the player pathway and the opportunities that are available.

The partnership work among ourselves, Phoenix Futures, Restoration Fife and YMCA in the area has been great at bringing together local players who are really benefitting from the social aspect of the sessions.”

The network programme was a concept created by Street Soccer in 2020, taking football to more outlying communities and giving players more access to Street Soccer’s support system.

The weekly sessions in Livingston, Motherwell, Hamilton and Glenrothes follow the same structure as all other Street Soccer sessions do; they’re free, you don’t need any previous experience and aim to support players both on and off the pitch.

Players have participated in monthly tournaments in Edinburgh

Stuart is looking ahead to 2023 with work ongoing for a new session in Clackmannanshire in the spring and a focus to expand further in to Forth Valley. There will also be further taster sessions in Oban next month with Hope Kitchen as the main partner

“We’re delighted that we can continue to find new opportunities to work with like-minded organisations. With interest from Alloa to Oban, we believe that players and partners are able to buy in to do what we do, regardless of where they’re situated in Scotland.

Special mention must go to our sessional staff – Connor McLeod, Colin Manson and John Cairney – as they have supported the delivery of our new sessions in Motherwell,  Glenrothes and Hamilton respectively. The connection they create with players really helps provide a positive atmosphere wherever we go.”

The network programme is now in full flow after launching its first permanent location in late 2022 and continues to work with local partners to create more support and inclusive communities through football.

If you are a local charity, support agency, social enterprise or trust looking to make change through sport, then please click here to learn more about how to get involved.

Street Soccer Network sessions:

Fir Park Astroturf, Motherwell: Mondays 1:30-3:00

Michael Woods S&L Centre, Fife: Wednesdays 13:00-14:30

Hamilton Palace Sports Ground: Wednesdays 13:00-14:30

Almondvale community pitch, Livingston: Thursdays 11:30-13:00

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