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Turriff footballers become the first in Aberdeenshire to take responsibility for cutting of local grass pitches


By David Porter

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Following discussions with Live Life Aberdeenshire officers, a community football club has become the first to take on the maintenance of grass pitches with the agreement of

Aberdeenshire Council.

Turriff Community Football Club (TCFC) will mobilise its members to cut grass areas in the town’s Lower Haughs.

They will have responsibility for grass cutting from the town’s sports centre to the Turriff United FC stadium.

A team of volunteers from Turriff United Youth and Turriff Thistle Football clubs have worked tirelessly to secure funding from local businesses and have had overwhelming support allowing them to purchase a mower and strimmer.

All parties will benefit from reduced costs, whilst improved playing surfaces will benefit local teams, including the Turriff Academy team, which uses the area for home fixtures.

Chair of TCFC, Lesley Chapman, said: "Today is the result of a lot of hard work and effort by a large number of people and it's something we have been wanting to achieve for a long time.

"We already have a good relationship between our clubs and Live, Life Aberdeenshire, and this is the result of a lot of work which has been going on for a number of months.

"To be the first clubs to take control of the maintenance of our grass facilities in Aberdeenshire is a great testament to everyone that has been involved.

"We have a fantastic group of volunteers at both Turriff United Youth and Turriff Thistle who will be responsible for the cutting of the grass and maintenance of the surrounding areas but we would also not have been able to agree to this if it was not for the support that we have received from a number of local businesses.

"The Haughs are loved by everyone in the Turriff Community and we are delighted with how everyone has come together to help."

She continued: "We are extremely grateful to all the following businesses and delighted that they were able to attend - Muirden Energy's Joy Wilde and Duncan Gray, Ravenhill Ltd's Lee Murray, HIS Ltd's David Stephen, Turriff Fuels' Ian and Susan Brown and Balgownie's Michael Harper.

"We are really proud of the facilities that we have in Turriff and we will be working together to make them the best that they can be, whether it be for football or for the whole of the community to enjoy.

“We also see this as an opportunity to build on the already strong links with Turriff Academy by making this an even better area for the pupils there to use in future.”

Muirden Energy's Joy Wilde and Duncan Gray handed over a donation of £9000 to scheme. Picture: David Porter
Muirden Energy's Joy Wilde and Duncan Gray handed over a donation of £9000 to scheme. Picture: David Porter

Live Life Aberdeenshire is the sports and cultural service of Aberdeenshire Council and is overseen by the council’s Communities Committee.

Communities Committee chair and Turriff Councillor, Anne Stirling, said: “It’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm of the community shining through, particularly given the incredibly difficult

time everyone has experienced in the last 16 months.

“TCFC have shown great understanding and awareness of the pressures facing the council and the desire to improve facilities in partnership have allowed us to progress to this

stage.”

Committee vice chair, Judy Whyte, said: “We hope that in establishing this agreement, the footballing groups within Turriff are able to make improvements that they have identified as being required to make this an area Turriff can be proud of.

“In addition, this is allowing us to look at improvements to educational provision for athletics in the area – and really highlights the benefits of working collaboratively with the community.”

It is hoped further discussions with the community will enable other areas in the Haughs to be improved, as well as establishing a more efficient booking system for all groups who use Turriff’s grass and synthetic pitches.Turriff is the first community in Aberdeenshire to establish a working arrangement like this, though it’s hoped similar arrangements can be established in other areas across Aberdeenshire in future.

Aberdeenshire Council is currently developing a Pitches and Open Spaces Strategy, which aims to provide the opportunity for community groups to take a greater role in the management and development of sites.

Councillors’ views on the strategy are currently being sought and these will be considered at a meeting of the Full Aberdeenshire Council when it decides on whether the strategy should

be implemented later this year.

The draft strategy encourages the establishment of Pitch User Groups (PUGS) which will which allow co-production between interested parties.


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