Food for Thought
Airdrieonians FC and the Supporters’ Trust are delighted to have been working with partners Box Soccer Training and Lanarkshire Community Food and Health Partership (LCFHP) this summer in a unique charity partnership to deliver a pilot project on holiday provision for vulnerable children in our community.
Local charity LCFHP have been established for almost 30 years and work within our schools and communities promoting healthy eating with various projects aimed at reducing health inequalites such as High Five for Fruit, Make Move Munch Clubs, and Big Chef Little Chef amongst many others.
Lifelong Airdrie fan Gordon Thomson manages LCFHP and explains further: “Over and above the health promoting work, we’re partners in the North Lanarkshire Food Poverty Pathways and we’ve been helping run parts of Club365 for NLC. I was approached by the Scottish Government late in June this year to see if I could help them identify projects in North Lanarkshire where we could host some holiday provision that would give children some regular activities and a good meal each day during the summer holidays, via their Fair Food Fund. I now have five projects on the go including this highly successful one in Airdrie.
“I spoke with the owners of the Penny Cars Stadium and discussed using their magnificent facility for projects like this as we have lots of rooms, play areas and a kitchen with plenty of resources, and we wanted to help work out a way of using our club as a focal point of our community where we can use our resources to be an asset to our local community in just this way.
“Myself and Tony McMinn already do a lot of work within the schools as part of the Healthy Schools network, so we pooled our knowledge to run a parallel programme alongside the Trust’s holiday camps this summer and used Tony’s knowledge and working relationship with the locals schools to make this happen within an extremely tight window. I couldn’t have done this without the help and expertise of Tony, and the support of the club and Trust”.
Tony McMinn, who runs the local Box Soccer partnership with the club said: “When Gordon approached me about setting up this initiative I jumped at the chance as it aligned itself with our commitment to social inclusion and, although time was tight, with the help of local head teachers and the Airdrie Active Schools team we managed to identify young people and families who would really benefit from the holiday camps.
“This was truly a community coming together to achieve a brilliant outcome with boys and girls developing not only their football skills but confidence and social skills as well.”
The football camps held over the school holidays at the Penny Cars Stadium are a prime example of what can be achieved when the Trust, club, stadium, Box Soccer and local charities work together for the benefit of the local community.
This is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to run a programme of this magnitude and it proved a huge success for all concerned. The children attending loved taking part in the football and playing at the stadium, and it met the objectives of the partnership by promoting their health and wellbeing.
This is a programme we definitely hope to repeat in the future.