Midlothian Matters: On your marks at the Penicuik Y

Fun and games on the all-weather pitch at Penicuik YMCA/YWCA
Fun and games on the all-weather pitch at Penicuik YMCA/YWCA

With the Olympic Games now only weeks away, memories of the London Olympics and the outstanding Glasgow Commonwealth Games will be very much back on people’s minds, writes Penicuik Y CEO Claire Gillies.

Sport remains vital to people’s health and wellbeing, as well as keeping communities together. So, it is little wonder that Penicuik Y has invested so much time and energy into re-establishing the old outdoor sports courts at the top of Queensway.

The sports courts were disused and falling apart, but thanks to funding from a variety of sources, including local councillors, sportscotland, Melville Housing, Tennis Scotland and the MOD Community Covenant, they have been completely refurbished. The courts are available to hire for hockey, football and tennis and are already being extensively used by Penicuik Athletic YFC and Eskvale Hockey Club.

As more and more house building is proposed across Midlothian it is vital that high-quality sports facilities are available. Midlothian has some great facilities, but it is important to ensure that these are all easily accessible and available to the community round the clock. The Penicuik Y facilities won’t just serve the existing community, but will also be used by new residents when local housing is built nearby.

Our sports courts are a good example of partnership work to create a sporting hub for the area that is also closely tied to other vital youth work and community facilities. The YMCA movement has a long and proud record of supporting sporting excellence – including inventing new sports, such as basketball – so it is fitting that we have focused on developing links with sports clubs in the area and are working to encourage young people to take up sports.

Penicuik and the wider Midlothian area have a great opportunity to become exemplars for community-based sports initiatives. We want young and old alike to be inspired by this summer of sport and come and use the facilities – whether it’s for tennis, football or hockey – and build momentum for the expansion and creation of new sports groups and clubs.