For Jeanfield Swifts, it’s all about the community.
The Perth-based club is one of three clubs to have been selected for the Big Lottery Fund Developing Community Clubs pilot project. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, they intend for their participation to act as a springboard to further community engagement.
Jeanfield Swifts have long had community at heart, offering numerous social initiatives designed to promote healthy living and wellbeing, such as boys’ and girls’ teams, Futsal, disability football, Pilates and karate classes and mother and daughter sessions.
Their ability to provide for the community is restricted by their current facilities, rendering them unable to cope with increased demand, they aim to use the Developing Community Clubs project to complete a Community Asset Transfer of the land their stadium resides upon.
The club have bold plans, in which a long term phased development would see an adjacent derelict piece of land to be used to develop affordable and social housing. This will in turn help fund the upgrade of their existing sports facilities and pitches, including both 7-a-side and 11-a-side 3G pitches.
Ultimately, the club aim to develop a multi-sport hub offering a range of sports and community based activities, tied into the Active Perth & Kinross Strategic Plan’s objectives for tackling inequalities: providing better health, social and economic outcomes for everyone in the Perth and Kinross local authority area.
Jeanfield Swifts are already reaping the benefits of the project, with access to professional legal and business advice designed to help them achieve their goals. They now intend to formalise their ethos of placing community at the forefront, incorporating it into their vision and mission statement.
“Our main priority is to integrate ourselves with the community,” said Club Secretary Iwan Davies.
“We realise we are a community club – a lot of our players come from the community but we need to expand that network to work with people who aren’t necessarily going to play football, but who have a need in another capacity.
“Through the project we want to create a facility that is more sustainable and more effective in what it can support – one that links in to local partners such as schools and community organisations – and create something that is available to the community whenever they need it rather than when the weather dictates.
“We see our role transforming from one offering opportunities for children to play football to one offering the entire community opportunities to get healthier and fitter.
“Initiatives such as the Developing Community Clubs project are enormously beneficial. We wouldn’t know where to start a project of this magnitude without the professional advice with which the Scottish FA has been able to connect us, but it is now close to becoming a reality.”
Gavin Tinley, Club Development Manager at the Scottish FA’s East Region, said: Jeanfield Swifts are an ambitious and forward-thinking club that recognise that football can be hugely influential within the community.
“A core component of their business plan focuses on social impact and their plans include a new facility that will act as a catalyst to support and drive this engagement, positioning local people as the focal point.”