The council scraps the charity’s plans for free football sessions on foot in Lanarkshire

A charity’s plans to run Free Walking Football sessions have been contacted by North Lanarkshire Council.

The Clyde FC Community Foundation, Clyde FC’s official charity, had announced that it would be offering sessions at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld free of charge to the over 55s.

But that idea ran afoul of the council, which holds its own meetings, and it appears the local authority has ratted out the foundation’s plans.

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The scheme was due to start this Friday but the council has shown the red card, saying it will not allow the facilities to be used as it clashes with its own similar scheme.

Tom Elliott, Community Development Manager at the Foundation, said: “I’m really disappointed. We are financially supported by the Scottish Football Association and run free courses for children in the summer and we have linked up with local primary schools, we also have girls coaching and a supplement to that for over 50 football eight weeks free.

“I watch the lads play football while running on a Tuesday and wanted to lead ours on a Friday. We have already driven one at Toryglen as we have a legacy there from Clyde’s days at Shawfield.

“The guys that play tend to move and attend different sessions on other days of the week. I didn’t foresee any problems, we thought it might be an extra session for some of them and also it might involve people for the first time It might be a game changer for those in their fifties and sixties who come along.

“It was a real shock when we found out that we couldn’t do the classes.”

Clyde FC have recently been embroiled in controversy when the club re-signed striker David Goodwillie, who was convicted in a civil case of raping a woman, leading North Lanarkshire Council to ban the player from the stadium.

The council also announced that the football club’s lease on the stadium, which expires in May next year, would not be renewed. Clyde then announced they would play home games at Hamilton Accies ground the next season.

Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld

John Alexander, Chair of the Clyde FC Community Foundation, also expressed frustration with the council’s decision, saying: “It is very disappointing that you are denying the right to use the facilities when you are offering the opportunity to individuals who may want to cannot afford the cost of the Council’s classes.”

John also believes some of those who attended the meetings may have also attended the council meetings after getting a feel for the football.

“I made that clear to them. This denies people the opportunity to engage in sport and health and well-being. It’s hard enough for people right now. It breaks down barriers to get people to get back involved.

“I have no idea what the motivations for that are. A fellow trustee asked me; “Is that the thin end of the wedge where we start to be treated the same as the club?”.

“The foundation is doing a good job locally and our aspiration is to work in the Cumbernauld area, the football club may be moving out but the charity is still here.”

According to North Lanarkshire Council, the problem is related to the availability of booking places at the stadium

A spokesperson said: “We first became aware through a promotional post on their social media that the Clyde Foundation intends to use Broadwood for a walking football initiative.

“Our venue team then proactively reached out to the foundation to explain that due to previous bookings certain booking windows were not available at the times stated on their social media post.

“We are fully committed to working with the charitable foundation and will be contacting them to discuss this and offer our full support.

“Broadwood is an extremely popular venue, used for a variety of activities and by a number of clubs, and bookings need to be managed within our overall programme.

“Our sports development team is working closely with the Clyde Foundation team on a joint mental health program at Broadwood and would be delighted to consider a partnership program to complement an already successful walking football program at Broadwood Stadium.

“In addition, our football development officer works closely with the foundation to support them with the foundation’s seal of quality.

“We will continue to work closely with them on future programs to support their goals for the local community.”

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