Spartans Academy Scores with Waterfront Funding

by Scott Douglas

Friday, May 25th, 2007

NORTH EDINBURGH schoolchildren will benefit from floodlights and coaching sessions at Spartans’ new state-of-the-art Edinburgh football academy – thanks to investment from Waterfront Edinburgh Ltd.

The organisation, which is redeveloping 120 acres of Edinburgh’s derelict Waterfront area at Granton, sees the development of the football academy as the ideal addition to the new community.

The complex will provide access to state-of-the-art training facilities for thousands of youngsters in the North of Edinburgh and Waterfront Edinburgh is keen to ensure schoolchildren are able to make the most of the facilities on offer.

Therefore, it has donated an initial £5000 to contribute to the floodlighting facilities at the new development to ensure the pitches can be used during the day and at night.

Waterfront Edinburgh has also committed to further investment over the next three years, totaling around £10,000, which has been earmarked for providing afternoon coaching sessions for local schoolchildren at the academy.

Jane Dennyson, marketing manager for Waterfront Edinburgh Ltd, said: “We are 100 per cent behind what Spartans are trying to achieve with the development of their football academy.

“It will be a benchmark to what can be achieved by investing in local communities and really will be the focal point of the community for many people in the north of Edinburgh.

“The academy will bring real benefits to people in the community and provide top-class facilities to thousands of schoolchildren. This investment will help these schoolchildren maximise the benefits of having such a top-class facility on their doorstep.

“The development of the academy exactly mirrors the regeneration of the Waterfront in terms of creating an affinity and community feel within the area.

“The fact that the new academy is right on the doorstep of the Waterfront means it is the perfect project for us to back. We hope this will be the first of a number of local projects that we can get involved in as an organisation.”

The new academy will be situated at Ainslie Park, Pilton on the former site of Telford College’s playing fields.

The new facilities will include a 500-seater stand, a new floodlit grass pitch, an all-weather pitch, and a clubhouse and changing rooms complex.

The all-weather pitch will be made available to local schoolchildren throughout the day, where expert coaching can be provided thanks to the cash from Waterfront Edinburgh Ltd.

Club Captain Craig Graham said: “We have been working tirelessly for some time now to secure funding for this project and we are very grateful for the backing from Waterfront Edinburgh.

“This new complex won’t just be of benefit to people linked with Spartans but families and communities throughout North Edinburgh and the Waterfront area.

“We will be providing facilities for grass roots football right the way through to teenagers and adults and this has been something that has been sadly lacking in Scotland for generations.

“The money we have received from Waterfront Edinburgh has already been earmarked to help provide training time and even coaching for local schoolchildren at facilities which previously wouldn’t have been available to them.”

Work is expected to begin on the new complex in late summer and Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, who grew up in the area and has agreed to become patron of the academy, will put the first spade in the ground when work gets underway.

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