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East End Thistle awarded new changing rooms

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- East End Thistle now have facilities they can call their own at Mount Vernon Park.
- It’s thanks to help from Glasgow Life, Glasgow city Council, and the Scottish Football Partnership.
- Simon Ritchie spoke to Club Secretary, David Reid.
The challenges of playing football in Scotland are hard enough, with frozen pitches and torrential downpours just some of what our clubs have to deal with. Add to that equation not having any changing rooms.
But finally, after years of effort and some help from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council, and the Scottish Football Partnership, East End Thistle now have changing facilities to call their own. 
Previously, the club, based in Mount Vernon Park, had to rent changing rooms from a nearby community hall, but financially it was unsustainable and they couldn’t rely on them always being available. So Club Secretary David Reid endeavoured to get help from the local council. 
“We went through many councillors to try and get it done, receiving many promises that it would happen, but it just wasn’t moving forward and we were getting nowhere,” he said. “Eventually, working with Gary Hillock from Glasgow Life, we saw our best option was to apply through The Scottish Football Partnership and as we are a quality mark club with a good name they provided us with support while the council funded the installation costs.”
It was a long time coming for the side who originally played at Barrachnie Park a mile up the road, but moved to allow Glasgow East Rugby Club to take their place based on the expectation the new changing rooms would be delivered. Instead, the club has led a nomadic existence, training and playing at nearby schools, Bannerman High and St Andrew’s, when they were unable to use Mount Vernon due to the lack of facilities. 
Now, as the club prepares to enter its tenth year and on the back of their most successful season yet, with the under-19s reaching two cup finals and finishing second in their league, Mr Reid is looking to the future, saying “we hope the club can keep growing as it has been and this award is a massive help in that. We’ve got over 140 kids involved across all our age groups and over two dozen coaches and helpers. Hopefully now, thanks to this award, we can try to run more academy stuff in the future as we believe the younger we get the kids involved in football the more likely they are to stay involved.”
Part of Thistle’s plan to grow within the community is encouraging their players to get their coaching badges as soon as they turn 16 with support from the club and they already have two former players helping out, with Mr Reid saying it “encourages the quieter boys to get involved more and really improves their confidence.”
But Mr Reid has even bigger ambitions and has his eyes set on the dilapidated old changing rooms that still stand in the park. “The council are thinking about demolishing them but we’re trying to get them to hand over the lease to us and then it would be up to us to get funding to renovate them ourselves. If we have the lease, we could apply for lottery funding and as Mount Vernon park has two pitches it means we could have two teams playing at the same time.”
Bold plans for a club on the up thanks to the support of Glasgow Life and The Scottish Football Partnership.

Simon Ritchie | YFS West Region Reporter
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