Ayrshire’s Jo Love Soccer Centre turns one

Ayrshire’s Jo Love Soccer Centre turns one

The Jo Love Soccer Centre at Ayrshire College has celebrated its one-year anniversary. 

Providing girls aged between 5 and 12 the opportunity to take part in organised football, the Jo Love Soccer Centre is delivered in partnership between the Scottish Football Association (SFA), East Ayrshire Active Schools, Vibrant Communities and Ayrshire College – who host the weekly sessions on their 4G football pitch at the Kilmarnock Campus.

Female Sport & Fitness students at the college volunteer as coaches for the SFA’s football initiative, which is named after Glasgow City and Scotland midfielder Joanne Love and is run at five clubs across the west of Scotland.

Over 50 girls were at the latest football session, where they were presented with brand new football kits donated by sports equipment shop Only Sport and sportswear company Kelme to mark the one-year milestone. The kits were emblazoned with Love’s name on the back and themed around the college’s popular ‘Passing Positivity’ campaign. 

Passing Positivity was a campaign launched earlier this year by HND Coaching and Developing Sport students at the college, highlighting the positive benefits that sport can have on people, particularly on their mental health and wellbeing. 

The Jo Love Soccer Centre runs at Ayrshire College as part of the college’s Connecting Communities programme. 

Connecting Communities also includes the Kris Boyd Soccer School (for boys aged 5-12 only), Kris Boyd Para Football (for 5-18 year olds) and the Care Experienced Multi Sports Club. A dance club and a football club for secondary school aged females are in the pipeline for the college’s second semester, along with other community ventures.

Scottish Football Hall of Fame member Rose Reilly, who is from Stewarton and represented Scotland and Italy in a footballing career that spanned four decades, attended the session at Ayrshire College to talk to the participants about her experiences in women’s football.

East Ayrshire Council Provost Jim Todd was also in attendance to congratulate everyone involved in the Jo Love Soccer Centre on its continued success.

Provost Jim Todd said: "It’s excellent to see such positive partnership work from the Scottish Football Association, Ayrshire College and Vibrant Communities! The Jo Love Soccer Centre has engaged East Ayrshire girls in our national game in the run up to, and now beyond, the Women’s World Cup in France, and the legacy our national heroes, who represented their country admirably, will live on through projects like this.

"One year on the success of the project can be seen first and foremost in the smiling faces of the 50 young girls, but also in the interest from new partners Only Sport and Kelme, who have provided free kits for all participants. This fantastic gift will ensure all the young women feel part of a team no matter their background or postcode." 

HNC Coaching and Developing Sport student Tammy McLean, who volunteers at the Jo Love Soccer Centre, said: "This is a great environment to coach young girls in football. Everyone is so committed to the centre and we have all built a great bond with coaches, the children, parents and staff at Ayrshire College. We focus on developing the girls’ confidence, communication skills and their football skills."

Cherryl Fulton, East Ayrshire Active Schools Co-ordinator, said: "The 1st year celebration was a fantastic example of partnership work at its finest. The SFA, Ayrshire College and Vibrant Communities all working together for the same goal: to give as many young girls the opportunity to play football, no matter their background, experience or ability, all under the banner of #ConnectingCommunities. 

"The Soccer Centre is run solely by Ayrshire College students both past and present, who are excellent role models to the girls who attend the Jo Love Soccer Centre."

Ian McCallum, Director at Only Sport Ltd said: "We are delighted to be involved with Connecting Communities in association with our brand partners Kelme.

“We' all take for granted that children and young adults these days have everything they need, sadly though this is not true. Hopefully by supplying the kits, no one will feel left out and everyone will feel part of the one group.

"Sport is an excellent way to bring communities together, and encourage involvement and participation at all levels. Being active through sport is a great step forward to feeling and becoming more positive."

Tom Sinclair, Sales Director at Kelme, said: "What Ayrshire College is doing with Connecting Communities and Passing Positivity very much represent who we are as a brand. We champion participation in sport across all ages and at all levels.

"We particularly believe in supporting local community programmes ensuring access for all - just an hour a week can have so many benefits for the participants, from better health and fitness to making lifelong friends or just having something to look forward to on a weekly basis."

8 October 2019

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