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THE PROTEST

WHAT A DISGRACE FOR OUR YOUTH

 Anyone so minded please email the complete list

with your views on the current facilities in Edinburgh as part of The Protest

Margaret.Mitchell.msp@scottish.parliament.uk      Donald.Gorrie.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  John.Swinburne.msp@scottish.parliament.uk        Linda.Fabiani.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Michael.Matheson.msp@scottish.parliament.uk     Alex.Neil.msp@scottish.parliament.uk Carolyn.Leckie.msp@scottish.parliament.uk           William.Aitken.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Patrick.Harvie.msp@scottish.parliament.uk            Robert.Brown.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Nicola.Sturgeon.msp@scottish.parliament.uk        Sandra.White.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

Rosie.Kane.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                  Tommy.Sheridan.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

Jamie.McGrigor.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;            Mary.Scanlon.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;

Eleanor.Scott.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                Maureen.MacMillan.msp@scottish.parliament.uk; Peter.Peacock.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;

Rob.Gibson.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                 Tom.Mather.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;

Annabel.Goldie.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;           Murray.Tosh.msp@scottish.parliament.uk; Ross.Finnie.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                 Campbell.Martin.msp@scottish.parliament.uk; Stewart.Maxwell.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;          Bruce.McFee.msp@scottish.parliament.uk; Frances.Curran.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;

James.Douglas-Hamilton.msp@scottish.parliament.uk      Mark.Ballard.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Robin.Harper.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                       Margo.MacDonald.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Fiona.Hyslop.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                       Kenny.MacAskill.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Colin.Fox.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                            Ted.Brocklebank.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Murdo.Fraser.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                       Brian.Monteith.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Mark.Ruskell.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                        Keith.Raffan.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Bruce.Crawford.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                   Tricia.Marwick.msp@scottish.parliament.uk David.Davidson.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                  Alexander.Johnstone.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Nanette.Milne.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                    Shiona.Baird.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Richard.Baker.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                     Marlyn.Glen.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Richard.Lochhead.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;              Phil.Gallie.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  David.Mundell.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                    Chris.Balance.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Christine.Grahame.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;              Adam.Ingram.msp@scottish.parliament.uk  Alasdair.Morgan.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;                  Rosemary.Byrne.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;

 

As part of a long-running and on-going campaign to get better facilities for grass-roots sport in Scotland, I am involved in yet another bid to raise awareness of the current situation in Edinburgh, where I live. I have sent the following copy out to MPs, MSPs, MEPs and councillors in Edinburgh. I hope you may take the time to read through it and, if possible, support this initiative on behalf of our young people. From Ian Mackay, Freelance Sports Journalist, 23 Wester Broom Place, Edinburgh EH12 7RS. Telephone 0131-539 0315. mackayian@blueyonder.co.uk or getintothem@hotmail.co.uk
 
HUNDREDS of people have already registered on the on-line petition in The Pink on www.thepink.org.uk in support of The Protest on behalf of our young people who have, it appears, been quite deliberately deprived of funding over the years to build modern facilities for football and sport in Edinburgh. Now, the Capital city of Scotland has a stock of buildings in public parks that are no better than slums, unfit for use by human beings. The biggest boost to the petition came when Hutchison Vale club registered as a complete club. That was a wonderful gesture on the part of this famous football nursery club and now I appeal to others to follow their example and register their clubs in the same way. Support is already arriving from outside Edinburgh, too, with requests to open up The Protest to all other areas of Scotland. We are not alone, it appears,  in Edinburgh in having shocking council-owned facilities. In an even more remarable 'extension' to this campaign, a mass protest march is being proposed. This will be an enormous undertaking and hard-working football official, Les Trotter, has already kicked off this initiative by getting in touch with Lothian & Borders Police and Edinburgh City Council to see what he has to do to get  permission for such a huge march. Les Trotter is currently helping with the Hutchison Vale under-14 Colts team. In addition, he helps with Stenhouse Primary School and the Saughton Mains Community Association and is, in addition, a founder member of the Edinburgh Districts Sunday Amateur Leagues (The Fair Play Leagues). All clubs interested in sending representatives to a meeting next month to listen to the proposals for this march are asked to contact him on lesflotrotter@hotmail.com. Please, I appeal to everyone, support him and also register yourself or on behalf of your club on the on-line petition in support of The Protest. This is not a political move by anyone involved, it is a genuine effort by people from across the social spectrum to improve facilities in this city - and beyond, too, the way things are going.

The link to your article was sent to me by a teammate and it follows weekly discussions regarding the standard of facilities throughout Edinburgh and the surrounding areas and the apparent lack of motivation to fund improvements. 

My team use many of the facilities the primary schools of Edinburgh use and, considering the parliament and executives' national fitness and health initiative, it is strange to see that the majority of, if not all, public facilities are unwelcoming, unsanitary and in a lot of cases near unusable.

I would like to whole-heartedly support any challenge to politicians that will hopefully affect change and look forward to hearing from you regarding progress

Well done!

kind regards

Scott Laird
Senior Support Assistant, Admin Services, Health and Social Care Dept HQ, Rm 103, Shrubhill House, 7 Shrub Place, EH7 4PD
Tel No: 0131 553 8416, Fax No: 0131 555 2765
scott.laird@edinburgh.gov.uk

 

 

Gentlemen,         I have just returned from the opening of the new facilities run by the BB's at the Pollock Pavilion at Lethem Park . One of my conversations was that the company were keen to lease/hire the facilities to local groups . There would be a cost involved-no figures were mentioned  so I'm not sure what or if your orgs can afford it . However the facilities are terrific 12 showers in the team changing rooms-especially if you remember the old ones - and are worth checking out . There are even separate facilities for referees. I suggest you get in quick before word gets out . Regards ,

Councilor Gordon Munro - Harbour ward
0131 529 3280

IF Edinburgh City Youth FC chairman, Jim Brown, and myself thought our meeting with the grandly titled Executive Member for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Donald Anderson, would achieve anything to improve the facilities for ALL youth football clubs in Edinburgh, we were proved totally and utterly wrong, writes IAN MACKAY. The only admission we heard from cllr Anderson was that he acknowledged there was a 'problem' with the facilities on offer to young footballers in the Festival Capital of the World. The rest of the discussion between the councillor and paid council official, David Wardrop, was at times like listening to a party political broadcast of the councillor's achievements in what appeared to be a totally unfair bias for creating community projects in his patch in south Edinburgh. The council official even produced plans for the proposed three new changingroom buildings they (the council) are going to erect in public parks of their choosing. Top of the list . . . wait for it . . . is Fernieside Park in south Edinburgh . A sum of around 300k is going to be spent on this park which has only one football pitch. The other two venues are Bingham and East Pilton - both these parks have shocking changingrooms, but only one pitch each! There was no mention of Double Hedges getting urgent attention once that issue was raised and quickly glossed over by cllr Anderson. He appeared not to have any great concern about the atrocious conditions that currently exist in the filthy, unhygienic and unhealthy rat-infested buildings kids are forced to use at this educational facility. The executive member who is in charge of providing facilities and ensuring fairness to all young people in the city of Edinburgh also said he had 'no problem' with football when this question was put to him. Really! The chairman of Edinburgh City Youth FC and I questioned him further on this point, in particular to the development of Meggetland, where Boroughmuir Rugby Club have fared very well indeed out of the sale of public land to housing developers. The councillor said we should take 'a tour' of Meggetland to see for the 'magnificent development' for ourselves. We were at the City Chambers to discuss the ghastly state of public facilities for ALL youth football clubs in this city. We were there to hear what is going to be done to improve the facilities at places such as Warriston Playing Fields, Wardie, the Gyle, Davidson's Mains, Craigmillar, Sighthill, Saughton, Currie, Balerno, Corstorphine, Inverleith, Colinton, etc, etc, not to discuss his chosen subjects. We were treated to a party political broadcast with councillor Donald Anderson in a starring role. 4m has been set aside according to this politician who hopes to become an MSP for Edinburgh South in the next elections to improve facilities in public parks. But, apparently, not in west Edinburgh, Leith, Pilrig, Balerno, Carrick Knowe, Kingsknowe, Davidson's Mains or other places in the same social bracket. "We have been concentrating on building new schools," he went on, before going back to what appeared to be his favourite subject. "So much has been done to improve community facilities in Gracemount, too!" He then went on to list some of the new facilities built in this part of south Edinburgh. Some of the biggest youth football clubs in Scotland currently operate in basic facilities in Edinburgh and their importance to the social lives of thousands of young people is immeasurable. But the lack of concern shown to these clubs and other communities in this city - other than the 'chosen' groups by this administration is reprehensible! Rugby clubs are allowed to build licensed premises on educational land in this city. Next door to the appalling facilities for football in Double Hedges Park is one such building, for Liberton Rugby Club. Why do they get preferential treatment while school kids from James Gillespies and Armadale Academy were forced to leave their belongings in the squalid changingrooms in this education department owned sports ground. Forrester Rugby Club have a similar type licensed building in the grounds of the doomed playing fields at Forrester High School. Duddingston Playing Fields house licensed premises for Portobello Rugby Club. Holy Cross have their buildings in Arboretum. Some years ago, it was suggested this particual club would be moving in to Warriston Playing Fields. It was also suggested at that time, the massive old chestnut tree, an iconic symbol at this venue would be chopped down to allow a new (licensed) building for the rugby club to be built. I told the official involved in this venture, that if he tried to have the tree chopped down, I would organise a protest to save it. That plan to move the rugby club in to Warriston was, thankfully, dropped. Since then, however, the state of the changingrooms at this venue have seen the old wooden buildings become virtual slums. The old, abandoned tennis courts are an eyesore. The toilet facilities for hundreds of children and their parents at this ground, consist of one ancient pan of doubtful vintage. But when the condition of Warriston was raised, that, too, was quickly glossed over in favour of another pronouncement on the achievements of what has been achieved in south Edinburgh. So, being part of the real world, Jim Brown and mself both agreed we had achieved nothing at all on behalf of grass-roots football clubs in Edinburgh when we found ourselves, thankfully, back out on the High Street. The chairman of Edinburgh City Youth FC, a club with a huge membership of aspiring young footballers operates from the disgusting Sighthil Park, told the executive member for sport, etc: "Our club is in danger of fragmenting as some of our teams refuse to play at Sighthill and they are moving elsewhere. Instead of Sighthill being seen as the 'home' of Edinburgh City, we are in danger of losing that due to the condition of the pitches and changingrooms." "We are going to spend 60m from the sale of Meadowbank to build a rugby and athletics stadium and sports complex at Sighthill", replied the councillor. Mr Brown;s comments to cllr Anderson that "club volunteers have to scour the pitches at Sighthill to clear up dog's dirt, broken glass, cans, and all the other mess" did not appear to create any great response from the councillor and his bored looking official at the meeting. "When the new facilities are ready, they will be run by Edinburgh Leisure," we were informed. The chances of Edinburgh City getting their own buildings and facilities, are, apparently, close to nil. And if any kids cannot afford to pay the inflated prices charged by Edinburgh Leisure, such as 19 @ hour for the use of the new synthetic football pitch at Firrhill High School, the too bad! 'If you cannot pay, you cannot play' appears to be the chatchphrase in this cash-driven administation. To sum up our totally useless meeting in the City Chambers, I have to give my honest appraisal and say we were treated like naive fools. As a final insult to both of us, cllr Anderson said: "Now you can read something positive," as he handed Jim Brown and myself copies of another of these revolting publications that this administration produces at public expense, no doubt, extolling what they have 'achieved' in Edinburgh. A well-known phrase kept coming in to my head as I made my way home, wearily, to the forgotten land of Corstorphine: "You can fool some of the people most of the time, and most of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time!" In my case, cllr Anderson, you have not and you do not fool me - at any time! The Protest that I have initiated to highlight the shocking facilities on offer to kids at public-owned sprorts and recreation grounds in Edinburgh is continuing to attract real fair-minded people from all parts of the social spectrum in Edinburgh and I have already stepped up my part in this. I have alreay emailed every MSP with copies of the letters of support I have received so far and I will keep bombarding them and MPs, MEPs and councillors in this city with emails as other letters arrive on my computer. I ask for the help of all of those with similar views to my own to contact me on mackayian@blueyonder.co.uk or getintothem@hotmail.co.uk as soon as possible. Our kids and our communities, all of them not just south Edinburgh, need our help to ensure fairness for all. I plead with all fair-minded adults and young people, to support The Protest. The final irony in all this is the fact that, although I am not a political person at all, I have voted Labour throughout my life. I genuinely believe in fair shares for all, regardless of background, colour or creed. I have also been a trades-union official in both the Scotsman and also in the Evening News when I had the privilege in working for both newspapers. In my current role covering all minor-grade football, if I am not fair, I am very promptly told about it. This past week, I left a kids name out of a team in a game I reported on. Once I had been told about it, I apologised to the family concerned and sent them a photoshow of action pictures set to music from the game in question as part of my apology. Neither I, nor Jim Brown, heard anything like an apology from cllr Donald Anderson or the official in attendance at the meeting about the current state of football facilities for community-based clubs in those areas of Edinbrugh he does not, apparently, have any great interest in. In respect of enforcing them to answer for what I perceive as 'criminal neglect in the care and maintenance of public owned sports and recreation grounds in Edinburgh', I have been informed that I have no chance of seeing any polician or official having to appear in court of law to answer these charges. So I will now contact the office of Audit Scotland and see if I have a case to pursue against Edinburgh City Council in this direction. Someone, I feel, must take the blame for what has and still is happening to destroy the aspirations of young footballers in the Capital. All I can do in the twilight of my life is to ask for the support of all the people I know and meet on a regular basis - in the real world of the squalid, unhygienic and uncivilised conditions I encounter in public parks other than in south Edinburgh! And my advice to all those massive youth football clubs with aspirations of helping to resore the image of Scotland as a football nation and, in the process, help, guide and encourage young people to get actively involved in sport, not just football, is to up sticks and move, lock, stock and barrel, to south Edinburgh. I would also like to leave everyone with another of the quite incredible statements from cllr Anderson: "The streets of Edinburgh are the safest in any city in Britain to walk about in!" I, for one, was glad to get out of the City Chambers and get back in to the real world and go on read in the Evening News of the crisis meeting held in an area of west Edinburgh to address the social problems of thuggery in that part of the city.

 

*As part of The Protest, I ask everyone not to support Glasgow's bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014! Instead force politicians to invest the huge sums of public money in modern, hygienic, safe, clean and civilised  facilies for ALL kids involved with community-based sports clubs in Edinburgh and throughout all other areas in Scotland.

 

Ian,
I read your article on 'the pink' website regarding the state of Edinburgh's footballing facilities.  You are spot on with your comments.

As an amateur football player and professional architect, I am often shocked at how basic some of the facilities are.  As you rightly point out, the physical condition of the premises' also leaves a lot to be desired.  Presumably most of these facilties are council owned and therefore funding CAN be found for improvements. 

The council owes a duty of care to anyone who uses it's facilties in regards to health and safety and I fear it is only a matter of time before someone is injured through the use of the sub standard facilties that they are providing.  This applies to the condition of the pitches as well as changing facilities - it would be interesting to know how many broken ankles are caused each season by players tripping over in pot holes..  It is the council's legal responsibility as owner's of these playing fields to ensure that they are fit for purpose and that they do not pose a health and safety risk to any users.

Lastly, how can the executive claim to have Scottish health as one of their top political priorities, when council owned youth sporting facilities are generally so basic, dilapidated and out of date?  Football is meant to be our national sport - the facilities offered for football development in other European countries (Scandinavia in particular) are generally outstanding and we ought to have facilities of the same calibre.  With child obesity such a hot topic currently, and with football such an easily accessible sport to youngsters throughout Scotland, it makes absolute sense for funding to be injected into this area in order to improve facilties for grass roots level football.  In the long term this would hopefully assist in not only contributing to better health in the population generally, but may also improve the standard of Scottish football at national level.

Best of luck with your campaign and and I hope my comments help to spur you on!!!!!!

Regards,

Stuart

Stuart Bishop
Reiach and Hall Architects
6-8 Darnaway Street
Edinburgh
EH3 6BG
Tel: 0131 225 8444
stuart.bishop@reiachandhall.co.uk
www.reiachandhall.co.uk

Ian

Read your recent article with interest Primary Support Sadly Lacking. The issue is more fundamental than a lack of adequate changing facilities. There is no access to goals in some places this year.

The Council have made a real mess of football for P7s (and I think P6 and probably P5 and P4) this year. Last year we played at Colinton Mains Park along with several other schools. Of course, we cant play there this season because of the frenzy of building activity that is (supposed to be) happening there (but isnt).

So the council sends us to pitches such as that at St Marks. Of course, they do not make arrangements for us to use the goals. No-one other than St Marks parents have keys to the lock up and the headmistress is reputed to have instructed at least the P7 Dads not to pass the key to any other team. No janitor or other Council employee is made available to open the lock up or close it after the matches, so no goals are available to any team other than St Marks.

So we are back to using jumpers for goals, or corner flags as long as St Marks Dads turn a blind eye. Come on; this is 2006. We even had goals when I was a boy.

And it is not just the St Marks pitches I hear. A similar fiasco prevails at Longstone.

The Council should be ashamed of its inability to organise football for primary school children. Per your article, it is volunteer parents and grandparents like myself that make the thing happen at all. Our complaint after Game 1 met with an acknowledgement, but no reassurance of a likely resolution and the problems persisted at Game 2.

South Morningside P7 volunteers have now decided to ignore the council fixture list until they issue a revised notice and can guarantee football can be played with the proper equipment. We are proceeding to make our own arrangements.

I would be grateful for your forwarding this along with any other complaints you might receive.

 Graeme JT Scott PhD HonFICR

 

 

Good Evening Ian,
My name is Alasdair Wilson and along with Larry Walls and James Paterson I run Heriot Vale amateur football club. We provide an opportunity for adult players to enjoy a game of football in the well organised Lothian and Edinburgh Football Association.
 I read with great interest your articles on the disgraceful changing facilities in Edinburgh. I couldn't agree more with your views; this afternoon we were fortunate to play Fernieside at the wonderful facilities provided at Peffermill. Players respond to the surroundings and we all enjoyed the game and civilised changing facilities.
Alas this is not always the case, we have sampled the "delights" of Double Hedges, Warriston, Pilton etc. In the light of recent comments made by Jack McConnell regarding the health of Scotland young people should we not be prioritising health and fitness? Lets get more young people into sport.
The age group that I manage are perhaps better equipped to "put up" with these kind of facilities but the youth groups deserve better. However all age groups should have decent facilities.
I would also that I do not back Glasgow's bid to host the 2014 games.
Finally let me say that Edinburgh must be the most expensive and most poorly managed area for sport in Scotland(see Edinburgh Leisure). If prompted I could produce a catalogue of mismanagement by Edinburgh Leisure.
More power to your elbow.
Alasdair Wilson
Heriot Vale A.F.C

 

AS part of the bid to highlight the quite appalling standards of facilities for grass-roots football in Edinburgh and, possibly, in other parts of Scotland, I intend emailing MSPs, MPs, MEPs and councillors in Edinburgh with pictures and comments on the public-owned venues in the Capital city of Scotland. I am due to attend a meeting with councillor Donald Anderson on Thursday, September 28, at the City Chambers to discuss this appalling situation that young people find themselves facing if they want to take part in active sport. The chairman of Edinburgh City Youth FC, Jim Brown, is going with me to the meeting to put forward the views of his club, one of the biggest and most progressive in this city of ours. In addition to that meeting, it is my intention to besiege politicians at all levels with graphic images to let them see for themsleves what young people are being subjected to in Edinburgh. The questions I also intend asking them are (i) what is the legal responsibility of politicians to provide young people involved in active sport with modern, clean, hygienic and civilsed changingrooms and playing fields/courts, (ii) who takes responsibility in a legal sense when volunteers organise and run events for young people at which no politician or paid council official is present, such as at Warriston Playing Fields where volunteers do al the work in promoting football on behalf of  the Edinburgh Primary Schools Sports Association? In other words, who takes the blame if anything goes seriously wrong! But the biggest question and most worrying of all for all of us in Edinburgh is who is responsible for allowing public-owned property to become virtual slums, such as the changingrooms at Warriston, Wardie, Double Hedges and various other venues in Edinburgh? Who is to blame? I will carefully monitor the replies I get, or do not get, in answer to emails I send out and I will name every politician - those who answer and what their comments are and also those who do not reply! I will keep everyone fully aware of the attitude of politicians in the ongoing fight to get better facilities for young people and, in particular, to help community-based sports clubs and organisations in Edinburgh and  beyond. If I had my way, I would like to see the people responsible for the criminal neglect of public-owned facilities appear in a court of law to answer these charges. Meanwhile, I will continue to provide pictures of the ghastly changing rooms and facilities on offer to young footballers in this city. I ask everyone to support me in this campaign to name and shame politicians and officials at all levels. I also ask everyone who reads this to send a message to their own councillor/MSP/MP and MEP say you do not support Glasgow's bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and ask that the millions of pounds of public money being spent on the promotion of this event be spent, instead, in building modern, clean, hygienic and civilised facilities for young people, both  in Edinburgh and everywhere else in Scotland. If anyone requires a list of politicians, send your request to mackayian@blueyonder.co.uk and I will send you by return, the complete list. At this stage, every person on these lists is to blame for the current situation, in my opinion. Hopefully, they will take the opportunity to tell me otherwise! Will politicians be with us or against us (the people of Edinburgh)?

This is great news and good to see your original idea is starting to take shape.
 
I use to coach with Hutchison Vale when my boy was 7 and he was a member of their kids school.
 
Some of the facilities in use then were in dire need of repair or upgrade.
 
He is now 16 and in all that time, I have seen no improvement and just a dramatic decline in the facilities available.
 
Even now we have the ridiculous situation where Roseburn B.C. U17' s are unable to find a suitable home pitch and are now having to travel outside Edinburgh just to play their home games. 
 
Regards
 
Norrie Kerr
Roseburn B.C. 

 I saw your advert on the online version of the Pink News today.

I fully support your campaign to challenge Edinburgh District Council and the powers that be to provide better facilities for the young kids of Edinburgh.

In what appears to be a lack of investment and neglect over the years, at what price would it cost to put this to right?

Surely the council could come up with a strategy similar to the PPF initiative where we are seeing the building of new schools and pitches around Edinburgh.

The facilities at schools like Craigmount, Gracemount and Firhill have improved dramatically and have already seen an increase in demand for their use.

The project which is the East Football Project should command a much higher profile and must be put to the top of the council's agenda when the debate of facilities arises.

Yours in sport.

Norrie Kerr
Roseburn B.C.

 

Glad to support your action group for better facilities in the Edinburgh Area.

As you are aware I help run the Under 21 Football Team at Cavalry Park over
the years I have visited a lot of bad facilities in Edinburgh more bad than good and as yet have
never seen any improvement.

Cavalry Park have the use of Duddingston Playing fields and have
reasonable changing facilities but they could certainly do with a face lift internally
such as new seating in the changing rooms , new windows , new internal doors
and locks and brightening up with a bit of paint, new showers would be nice also.

The pitches at Duddingston are in good condition and benefit with the no dog rule
I have visited some pitches in the
Edinburgh area and my first objective is to walk the
pitch for dogs dirt and have it removed before the game commences.

Your picture shows the Building once known as the round house this over the
years has been vandalised continuously.
This room was used on a number of occasions for light refreshments after games
such as the Scottish Cup ties.


Regards   Tom Davies

At last. Given the mailing list and the network contacts shown we may at last form a collective body of people committed to lobbying the City of Edinburgh Council to address the despicable conditions sportsmen and women, off all ages, are having to suffer, as they pursue their hobbies and strive to take the initiative in adopting a healthy lifestyle. I'll refresh your memory of a situation I brought to your attention a while ago when our Amateur side had to contend with while playing a pre-season match two seasons ago at Inverleith Park. Ready to take to the park one of our club officials went to fill the half-time bottles with water and was met with an array of signs posted at each tap within the pavilion stating "This water is not for drinking" On enquiring where the pavilion tap for drinking water could be found, he was informed that there wasn't one!. Their was a small funfair being held 50 yards away within the park as part of a local Festival and we had no alternative but to approach the nearest caravan belonging to the fair ground operator. They were hard pushed to believe our story, but nevertheless were very accommodating and allowed us to fill the bottles. If they hadn't been so accommodating we had a major problem. Indeed this situation is not uncommon at many clapped - out council run facilities. You touched on Double Hedges in your web report. This place has to be seen to be believed. I remember playing their as a youth in 1970, and the facilities were still the same last week when our U15s played there!. The vast majority of council park facilities were built when teams could only list eleven players. Try squeezing in to them now when team can list sixteen, its virtually impossible.  We would expect to encounter and accept, these situations in a third World country...but in Edinburgh in 2006!. Look at it from another perspective. As council tax-payers we already pay for the upkeep of parks and relevant services but we're hit with the double whammy of paying a second time to use the outdated facilities, add to this the very poor standard of pitches and the council's failure to address the huge issue of the lack of playing field maintenance, and you wonder if our elected representatives ever get embarrassed

The office bearers and club officials (all volunteers) at Redpath Albion AFC and Sports Club are fully behind any campaign to bring this situation into the public domain and to assist with any strategy that will stir the City of Edinburgh Council into acting appropriately.

I believe Ewan Aitken has a webblog where he'll field questions from the city residents on council issue's. Does anyone know the blog address. Let's start the campaign with Ewan.

There's an election looming so we couldn't have timed it better.

Regards      Bryan Maughan
www.redpathalbion.co.uk

I read your article on the pink website and agree entirely with you. The state of football facilities in Edinburgh are completely rubbish. Everyone goes on these days about getting people outside playing sport etc mainly for the health benefits, yet the facilities are probably a greater risk to your health than staying at home. We recently pulled a 'boulder' (yes, it was that big) from the pitch at the gyle - if someone had fallen on it. it would have caused serious injury. For the price of a front desk at the Scottish Parliament the facilities of at least some of the public grounds could be hugely improved. Where does are council tax go, cos it sure it ain't cheap. Lets build some nicer changing rooms instead of more speed bumps.

Malcolm

As a coach currently involved with two teams in Edinburgh I can only dream of the day when Edinburgh can offer teams the same levels of facilities as I have witnessed on the continent. In Holland the centres for football usually have two stadium pitches with another 4-5 training pitches on the same site, there is changing facilities for all the teams with no one sharing and facing the dilemma of are our belongings safe the locks of the doors actually work the water is hot in the showers and they also work! There is also a clubhouse where the teams can get food, drinks etc after the game which as a by product ensures a level of interaction wherein the boys and as importantly the coaches can talk after the game fostering better relationships and removing the negative aspects of competion we face week after week in Scotland.

We here face the onerous task of checking pitches every week in advance of play for dog excrement, even if we remove all the offending material the kids still run, tackle  etc on a surface that is stained yet we rarely can be sure of running hot water for the kids to wash!!!!

You perhaps should challenge our authorities simply to demonstrate a facility they would be happy for their kids to exercise on as they forget that all sports currently utilising public parks face the same dilemmas as the football teams. (They seem to forget they are actually in office to serve the general public, but do not hesitate to lambaste the lazy youth of today)

All the council are currently prepared to do in Edinburgh is take money under false pretence as they cannot justify their fees when the pitches are not tended in advance of the weekend games they cannot even cut the pitches and line them weekly. These elementary emissions beg the question should we pay for pitches that are uncut, not marked etc?

Please continue your good work and if I can help in anyway please do not hesitate to ask

Regards

Russell Gibson Coach Roseburn Colts u17s Portobello Thistle u10s

 

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The Pink2 is an independent publication and is in no way connected with the Edinburgh Evening News