A youth football club in the north-east has been held up as a “shining example” of how grassroots sport can return during the coronavirus pandemic.
Coaches from Westdyke Community Club in Westhill worked hard during lockdown to make sure their players still felt part of a team.
The club, which has more than 500 players across 26 teams from age four to adult, put on online zoom training, a mini Olympics, quiz nights, yoga, solo cycling and running events to maintain team spirit.
Many of the players also got involved in delivering food parcels as part of the Aberdeen FC Community Trust’s #StillStandingFree campaign.
Sportscotland announced today that more than 25,000 people have now completed an online training programme aimed to getting people back into grassroots sport.
When it was time for Westdyke’s sessions to return safely, the club promoted Covid-19 officer training to the coaches and at least one coach from each of their 26 teams completed it.
Scottish FA club development manager for the north region Mark Slater said: “Westdyke Community Club have done a fantastic job of keeping their players and community engaged during the pandemic.
“They have been both creative and inspiring in the ways that they have managed to keep spirits lifted during these times.
“Westdyke has contributed hugely to the great work carried out by our clubs throughout the region.”
— Westdyke Community Club (@westdykecc) September 13, 2020
With the country still in phase 3 of the Scottish Government’s route map through and out of the coronavirus pandemic, many outdoor and indoor sports have been able to implement a phased return in line with the latest public health and Scottish Governing Body of Sport (SGB) guidance.
As part of that guidance each club and community organisation must have an appointed Covid-19 officer.
Their role is to oversee public health and safety measures to ensure that clubs operate in a safe manner in accordance with Scottish Government and relevant SGB guidelines.
Sportscotland chief executive Stewart Harris said: “It is encouraging to see so many people across the sporting system working together to ensure the phased return of sport is as safe as possible.
“Public health and wellbeing remains the most pressing priority and as a sector we must continue to work together and take all possible steps to continue to suppress the spread of the virus.”
National clinical director Jason Leitch said introducing the Covid-19 officers is “probably the most important single intervention we have made around the return to amateur sport”.
He added: “Since we can’t be at every event and every facility, we’re relying on some level on enforcement.
“We don’t want people getting in to trouble but you have to enforce the rules because the rules are there to protect everyone who is playing the game, their families and the population.”