Heart of Midlothian is set to expand its community offerings in the coming weeks and months thanks to funding from the Scottish Football Partnership.
The SFP Community Initiative Award will allow the Club to deliver a selection of both new and existing initiatives, the first of which involves a new six-week walking football programme at Tynecastle. The programme is targeted at over 50s who would benefit from participation due to injury, health or disability. Participants will be invited to stay on at the stadium after their hour of physical activity for some light catering and a time to socialise and enjoy each other’s company.
Another initiative will see the extension of an existing project to develop the positive links already established between the club and teaching staff at local schools. The aim is to provide primary school children with the opportunity to attend school holiday courses at Tynecastle free of charge. Children are nominated by their head teacher to attend these courses and are regarded by teaching staff as being worthy recipients of these free sessions.
The pilot scheme has already identified that school staff are extremely keen to continue with this project, which provides positive pathways and destinations for their pupils. Heart of Midlothian F.C. are keen to broaden this to allow each nominated pupil to attend the course with a friend or sibling, free of charge, as this practice has proven to help young children settle in better to their new environment.
Linked to this initiative, and by creating a positive experience for these pupils, the club aims to encourage them to continue their involvement by inviting them to attend weekly school term sessions, once a week at the Hearts Football Academy. Again, with the help of this Community award, these young people would attend sessions free of charge for a set number of weeks.
Alan White, the club’s Head of Community, said: “These football participation projects aim to maintain, reintroduce and increase the number of active players in our local area and we very much look forward to engaging with children, young people and adults in our community.”