Click here for our initial story (Local MSP backs new 3G petition) / Click here to sign the petition
Less than a month ago I received an email asking if Youth Football Scotland could run a story about a petition to try and get Graeme High School a 3G pitch. It's remarkable to think that since then David Wilson and Arran Reid, S3 pupils at Graeme High School, have received backing from local MSP Siobhan McMahon and on the 8th of October, had the opportunity of visiting Siobhan's office at the Parliament.
In the last article David outlined why he felt the current situation isn't good enough, especially for a performance school, saying “What we have at the moment is old. When you play on it you slide about and it’s certainly damaging to our knees and joints in general.
“As well, the grass is always frozen. When the grass is frozen, we don’t have any other places to play as they are all occupied by PE classes. As a school with talented footballers, it’s disappointing to go without this playing time.”
When emailed for comment by YFS, Siobhan, MSP for Central Scotland, agreed saying “I’m happy to support this petition for a new 3G pitch at Graeme High School.
“A new pitch would not only benefit the pupils at St Graeme High but also local community groups who would have the opportunity to use the facility. We know that local government has faced big cuts to its funding over the past few years and it is often difficult for them to find the resources to fund projects such as these, but I would encourage them to do everything in their power to ensure that the sporting facilities that our communities depend on are of the highest quality.”
Since the article, Siobhan has kept in touch with Arran and David to discuss how she could help. This included arranging a visit to her Parliamentary offices which I was delighted to also attend. After an excellent presentation from Arran and David and a meeting, Siobhan spoke to me saying "The first thing I'm going to be doing is asking the Scottish Government if they will support this. I will also be putting a motion down in Parliament to congratulate the boys on what they've been doing. It's a power of work they've been doing and they should be congratulated.
"They also asked me to do a lot of things in their presentation and I am determined to make all those things happen for them. That means getting everyone around the table, from our local authority partners, the sports governing bodies, to the government and myself to sit around and say how do we make this work. How do we make this pitch a reality."
It's a huge boost for Arran and David who admitted they might have hit their limitations saying "Siobhan's given us a lot more hope. Siobhan might be our way forward... to help us get further."
Siobhan concluded saying "I can't see, other than clearly everyone talks about money, why you wouldn't want this to happen. It's about the bigger pitcure and if we're all signed up to that, I think we can make that a reality.
"It won't happen overnight. The boys are realistic about that and I'm realistic about that. But I hope, by the time I leave this place, it will certainly be a reality for them."