Penicuik Athletic ground improvements: Making football open to everyone

The proposed accesible vewing area at Penicui Park, photo taken at lat Saturday's game v Arniston Rangers.
The proposed accesible vewing area at Penicui Park, photo taken at lat Saturday's game v Arniston Rangers.

Penicuik Athletic Football Club is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from a Tesco initiative to make its ground more accessible.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme Bags of Help, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores awarded to local community projects.

Penicuik Athletic Football Club is one of the groups on the shortlist at the supermarket’s store in the town.

The club is looking to create a new accessible viewing area as part of its ongoing ground improvements, which will provide a safe and accessible area for spectators of any age to enjoy watching their local football team with no physical barriers.

Penicuik Athletic FC commercial manager Andy Penman said: “As the local senior football club we attract an average crowd of 250, and among their number are people of all ages and needs.

“Our facilities for these supporters are very limited and in order to improve the experience and safety of supporters who may be physically or visually impaired, or may even just require a seat to watch football, this project is important to our football club to allow our support to be all inclusive with no barriers in place to stop anyone watching their local football team.

“It will also provide the same facilities for visiting or neutral supporters who wish to watch their team or just watch football.

“The specially-created accessible viewing area, with space for wheelchair users and their assistants along with a small seated area for use by those who cannot stand for the full duration of a football match, will be a welcome addition to our facilities for those supporters.

“This development will complement our ongoing ground improvement plan which include the provision of an accessible toilet and designated accessible parking.”

Voting is open at Tesco Penicuik in January and February. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

The Bags of Help project has already delivered over £63 million to more than 20,000 projects across Britain.

Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop.

Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Tony McElroy, Tesco’s head of communications in Scotland, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers.

“It’s such a special scheme because it’s local people who decide how the money will be spent in their community.

“There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Greenspace Scotland is working with Groundwork to provide support to communities in Scotland.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Emma Halliday, community enabler coordinator at Greenspace Scotland, said: “Bags of Help continues to enable local communities up and down Britain to improve the local spaces and places that matter to them.

“The diversity of projects that are being funded shows that local communities have a passion to create something great in their area.

“We are pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to help local communities thrive.”

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities.

Anyone can nominate a project, and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp.

The Bags of Help initiative is supported by money raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores, including those in Midlothian at Hardengreen and Penicuik.