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Pollok United Soccer Academy giving back to the community

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• Pollok United Soccer Academy delivers training sessions to disabled children in the local community. 
• The Quality Mark award has enabled Pollok United to continue to grow. 
• Interviewee: Andy Elliot
Since Harry Fenion started Pollok United Soccer Academy in 2011, the club has come on leaps and bounds, managing to set up their own facilities with funding from numerous organisations. Since the neglected park was renovated to a state-of-the-art 3G football pitch, it has opened its doors to the community and the academy has set up programmes to help out disadvantaged people in their area. 
Chairman Andy Elliot said: “Probably one of the most enjoyable sessions we have is on a Friday evening were a number of disabled kids come along and play football in a fun environment.                                                                                                                      
“It is imperative as many clubs as possible get involved and give disabled kids the same opportunities.” 
After the club recently attained their Scottish FA Quality Mark they are now looking to move on to gain their Legacy award, although Elliot does not think that it is the right time to go ahead with it.
“Our academy over the past two years has looked to build on our community level of Quality Mark, however as we have grown so quickly in such a short space of time we agreed with our Development Officer to stay at the community level and not push towards legacy until we feel we are 100% ready to do so." 
Since attaining Quality Mark status, the club has also had a recent influx of new players joining. “On a daily basis the academy is approached with new members wanting to join due to the fact we are now well established, have our own facility and the reputation of the academy is continuing to grow.” 
Elliot believes that because the club has opened its doors to the community, they are now able to grow as a football club. They now have over 50 girls participating week-in week-out and they have recently set up a 2009s team which has helped increase numbers significantly. 
The Chairman also noted that they are beginning to work with Clyde College on an initiative through which students come and help out the coaches whilst working for their Higher National Diploma (HND) qualification.

David Kelly | YFS South East Region Journalist
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