Penicuik Athletic Youth Football Club led the way as five Midlothian football teams received accolades from the SFA recently at Easter Road Stadium.
At the ceremony, Easthouses Community Football Club received a Development Award, St Bernard’s picked up a Standard Award, Newtongrange Star’s Youth Development Academy achieved a Standard Award, Dalkeith Thistle were given a Development Award and Penicuik Athletic Youth Football Club (PAYFC) achieved Legacy Award status.
The Quality Mark is the SFA’s accreditation programme designed to support and recognise the work of grassroots clubs. Each of the four Quality Mark award levels – Standard, Development, Community and Legacy – relates to a list of criteria on areas such as club structure, coach education and administration. Legacy is the highest level which means that PAYFC has achieved every requirement of the Quality Mark programme.
The club currently have 389 players from age four up, with 67 coaches over 27 teams, including a growing girls’ section of 60-plus players.
Jason Hewitt, chairman of PAYFC said: “This achievement is down to the tremendous work performed by all our volunteers. We very much hope that this is just the start of big things to come for the club and the community in Penicuik.
“Coach education was a huge focus for us in 2015 and the club would like to say a massive thank you to all the PAYFC coaches for the extra time and commitment they gave to attend the Scottish FA coaching courses and assist the club in achieving the highest Quality Mark that the Scottish FA offer.
“On behalf of PAYFC, I’d like to thank all the players, coaches, volunteers and parents that have been involved in the club over the last 60 years and supported us in achieving this award.”
Easthouses Community Club consists of Easthouses Lily, Easthouses Boys’ Club and Mayfield and Easthouses Amateurs.
The Lily’s manager David McQueenie believes the club’s Development Award is good for the local community.
He said: “It means a lot. It’s a great award and that’s what we have been working towards, along with the community club as well. It’s a good achievement for the club.
“We have recently improved the facilities to receive this award.
“It’s good for the football club and good for the community to get this recognition.
“We are now aiming to get the top award. We are looking to improve all the time.”
Chris Matson of Dalkeith Community Football Club said of their Development Award: “It’s recognition of the hard work that the club have done over the last couple of years. It shows we are on the right track.
“The merger between Dalkeith Thistle and Dalkeith Miners’ CYP means we can go forward with a singular vision for the one club.”