One of Scotland’s first social enterprise football clubs has opened Scotland’s first FIFA approved 3G playing surface, following an investment of £205,000 from leading lender to the third sector, Social Investment Scotland (SIS).
Honouring its strong connection with the local area, Stenhousemuir FC reformed as a community interest company (CIC) and social enterprise in 2006. Since then the First Division team has developed one of the best youth and community football programmes in the Scottish Football League.
The new, rigorously tested FIFA two star IRB22 pitch includes a ‘shockpad’ which helps prevent head injuries. The enhanced features of the pitch have allowed the club to open up the facility to rugby teams as well football teams, seven days a week.
The increased functionality of the new pitch supports the growth and sustainability of Stenhousemuir FC as a social business by broadening access to its facilities amongst the wider community surrounding the club.
Bill Darroch, chairman at Stenhousemuir FC, said: “Stenhousemuir Football Club’s vision is “working with its community for its community” and by securing investment for the new pitch we have improved our facilities, creating an enhanced sporting environment and encouraging even more participation in team sports within the local community.
“The pitch, as well as other investments such as our new changing rooms, will help us achieve our ambition to make Stenhousemuir FC a central venue for football and rugby development and the delivery of sporting participation for all levels and age groups. We are very grateful to SIS for its support.”
SIS’ Chief Investment Officer, Alistair Johnstone said: “Sports clubs work extremely well as social enterprises as they can earn good revenue whilst providing much valued facilities for the local community. By enhancing its facilities Stenhousemuir FC will be able to boost its income stream by opening its doors to the rugby community whilst providing an excellent resource to other users such as schools and community groups.
“In terms of social impact, community sport scores high by building social cohesion, improving public health and encouraging people to become more involved in their communities. Through our role as lenders, SIS can play a big part in helping these clubs become more financially self-sustainable and less reliant on grant funding.”