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The new courts can be used for Tennis, Football, Hockey and more. © Penicuik Cuckoo

YMCA Celebrates New Sports’ Courts

A local charity is preparing to open two new astroturf pitches after successfully obtaining funding from several organisations.

On Sunday 2 August, a star studded event will be held to launch Penicuik YMCA-YWCA’s new outdoor sport facility. Following years of wrangling, funding was sought to overhaul two outdoor pitches, allowing the charity to create a state of the art new facility, which will be open to all.

The launch event at 11am will be opened by renowned former international tennis umpire, John Frame, and the Lord Lieutenant of Midlothian Sir Robert Clerk and Lady Clerk. Also in attendance will be Scotland women’s rugby international, and local, Sarah Law alongside her sister Rachel, who is a sportscotland Sports Panel Ambassador. Keith WrightFootball Development Officer with Midlothian Council and former Hibernian and Scotland footballer, and John McCrossanYouth Development Convener, Midlothian Hockey Development Group will also be there.

Councillor Adam Montgomery, who was involved with the project from the beginning in 2009, and who contributed £16,600 towards the cost from the resources available to him for environmental improvements, expressed his delight at this much-needed addition to Penicuik’s sports facilities:

In common with all of the other services the Y provides, this will be a true community facility, offering affordable multi-sport opportunities for individuals, schools and clubs.

Penicuik YMCA has been battling for funding since 2009 to facilitate the redevelopment of the courts. Using funding from the Legacy 2014 Active Places Fund, administered by sportscotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, Midlothian Council, including commitments from environmental resources funds available to Councillors Adam Montgomery and Derek Rosie the Ministry of Defence, under its Community Covenant Grant Fund, and Tennis Scotland, the charity has successfully managed to undertake its work.

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland said: 

We are delighted that the award from the Legacy 2014 Active Places Fund will benefit this wonderful initiative and the Penicuik area. The redeveloped sports courts will be of real benefit to the local community. sportscotland is committed to providing more and better opportunities for people to take part in sport and physical activity and we view this project as a key part of this commitment.

Bob Anderson, Chairman of Melville Housing Association, said:

Across Penicuik and beyond, the YMCA/YWCA does excellent work supporting young people and families, so it gives me great satisfaction that Melville has played a small part in this worthwhile project. The new sports court looks fantastic and I’m sure it will be of great benefit to the local community.

It has been a difficult period for Penicuik YMCA-YWCA after Midlothian Council made the decision to withdraw its annual funding for the charitable organisation. The local authority later agreed to reinstate the crucial grants as part of a ‘Transition Fund”, though it will likely be removed completely in the future.

Project coordinator David Fletcher said:

I am immensely grateful to the funders, supporters and contractors who have made it possible to construct this new all-weather, floodlit sports court. All at Penicuik YMCA-YWCA look forward to welcoming the community to help us celebrate the launch of this exciting new facility.

Elsewhere in Penicuik, campaigners are fighting to save Kirkhill’s Tennis Courts. Under plans put forth in the recent Midlothian Local Development Plan, the land occupied by the courts will be redeveloped to form social housing. Penicuik Tennis Club, who are based at the facility, say that the plans can go ahead alongside the courts.

Get along to the opening event at 11am on Sunday 2nd August in the YMCA’s Queensway Hub.