Dunfermline Press sponsor Pars in the CommunityThursday, 3rd Dec 2009
The Press have teamed up with the club to sponsor their highly-rated Pars in the Community coaching programme.
|FROM the pram to the pitch, the Pars are looking to nurture the next batch of talented kids through their ranks and into the first team - with the help of the Dunfermline Press.
The Press have teamed up with the club to sponsor their highly-rated Pars in the Community coaching programme which introduces the beautiful game to kids as young as 18-months-old.
With cash in Scottish football hard to find, rearing your own talent is the way forward and the club are already trying to make sure they don't miss a trick.
Under the programme, hundreds of West Fife kids are taking up the game for fun and fitness but the sky's the limit and the hope is they'll become Pars fans - or even first team stars - of the future.
Pars community manager, Kelly Armstrong, said, "Potentially we could have children from 18 months right up until they break into the first team, that's what we are hoping for, the pathway is there for anyone who is good enough to make that mark."
The Pars in the Community has already been presented with the Scottish FA Quality Mark which recognises proactive clubs and schools working to increase youth and community participation.
Director of operations at the Dunfermline Press Stuart McGann said, "I'm delighted that the Press is supporting the Pars in the Community programme because it underlines the commitment of both the club and the Press to the strength and development of communities across West Fife.
"By telling the story of some of the kids that get involved in the programme we can hopefully inspire more people to join in and perhaps help uncover some of the stars of the future.
"The Press receives a lot of requests for support and sponsorship all of which we carefully consider, but regrettably many have to be declined.
"The Pars in the Community is a great example of a wide reaching project that's investing in the future of Dunfermline, something that is vital to the Press, and will involve many families, schools and football fans over the coming years."
The sponsorship will assist Pars community manager Kelly Armstrong to deliver a conveyer belt of talent that will bolster the first team squad for years to come.
She said, "To start with it's just getting kids along for fun and fitness but there's also a pathway for the more talented players to progress into the creative player programme, which will nurture the talent there and hopefully push them on to the youth initiative programme."
|. .....||The community team deliver football and ball skills coaching classes for more than 770 kids every week, such as the DAFC dribblers for 18-month-old tots to three-year-olds, mini kickers for those aged 3-5 and primary soccer schools for 5-12 year olds.
There are also classes and football camps over the holiday periods and a new goalkeeping skills class for kids is about to launch.
Youngsters in the community programme are given free tickets to watch the Pars and often get the chance to play on the park at half time.
Kelly said, "We organised a lap of honour that saw hundreds of kids from the community programme come in before the last game of the season and do a lap of honour around the pitch.
"It's all about encouraging the kids to play football and working with them to develop their co-ordination as well as developing an affinity with DAFC from an early age.
"We have also started up lots of new classes, in Kelty, Ballingry and Valleyfield and want to expand further from Dunfermline to reach all local kids."
She's keen to help the Pars' head of youth development, Stephen Wright, make sure they don't miss out on talented West Fifers, such as Scott Brown and Steven Pressley, who joined Hibs and Rangers respectively as youngsters.
"We have to identify the more talented players in and around Dunfermline, get them ready for the next step so hopefully they don't go over the bridge or elsewhere," said Kelly.
There are currently six community teams, from the 1999s to the 2001s, named after Pars players and club legends including Calum Woods, Nick Phinn, Scott Thomson and Mary Leishman, and they hope to expand the girls community football classes too.
"They play every Saturday morning in Soccer Sevens and this means we are not losing them out of the community programme altogether because they are enjoying the game and still wearing the Dunfermline badge," she said.
Tracey Martin, marketing director of Dunfermline Athletic, said, "Our community programme is a major factor within our community and long term marketing strategy for Dunfermline Athletic Football Club.
"We have always seen ourselves as very much a community and family club and we hope that delivering a fun community coaching programme for all children within the area will assist us in getting as many as possible to take part in football.
"It also helps them build an allegiance from an early age with their local football club.
"It is so important however that the work the community team deliver does then dovetail into our own DAFC Youth Initiative as we have to grow our own talent wherever possible.
"We are delighted that the Dunfermline Press have agreed to sponsor the Dunfermline Athletic Pars in the Community Programme.
"We have had a great relationship with the Dunfermline Press for a number of years and this further strengthens our relationship."
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