A Midlothian hockey side hopes a funding boost from sportScotland will help the club grow and bring the sport to a wider community.
Eskvale Hockey Club has been around for 40 years but the club has struggled to fulfil its potential and concerns were raised from members about the lack of growth at last year’s AGM.
The club developed a four-year growth plan and submitted an application to the national agency for sport for Direct Club Investment funding last May.
Eskvale were successful in their bid after showing a model of sustainable growth and they have been awarded nearly £16,000 funding, which will be spread over four years at a time when Active Schools faces cuts to its funding by the council.
The funding will help pay for a coach to work six hours a week with primary schools in Midlothian, and community clubs in Penicuik and Bonnyrigg to add to the three in Dalkeith, Lasswade and Loanhead.
Eskvale club president Lorraine Nicholson-Bennett, said: “Our aim is to provide the opportunity for more players to enjoy hockey throughout their lifetime.
“We passionately believe in the benefits that hockey can bring to both individuals and groups. We aspire to increase the number of people participating in hockey in Midlothian and to increase the frequency of this participation.
“Funding will allow the club to grow, allowing us to develop players, coaches, umpires and run courses that will improve their hockey ability and knowledge of our fun, friendly and exhilarating game.”
At present Eskvale has men and women’s teams and an under 12 and under 14 team but they hope to have at least three teams competing in each group.
Club youth coach David Robertson, who looked into developing the growth plan, said: “First of all I would like to thank Chris and Scottish Hockey for all the support and advice given to the club, we couldn’t have achieved any of this without him.
“This is a really exciting opportunity not just for the club but for the kids, their parents and Midlothian. Over the past couple of seasons, it’s been great watching the youngsters grow, not just as players but as friends as well.
Chris Anderson from Scottish Hockey East Region said: “Eskvale have worked tirelessly to secure funding from Sportscotland. Over recent years they have developed a community-based youth programme in Midlothian which has laid the foundations and provided the platform for the club to take the next step.”