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Volunteer appeal ahead of Jags' football development AGM

By Alan Beresford

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THE chance to be part of something special and make a difference to a great many young lives is on offer when Buckie Thistle Football Development (BTFD) hold their AGM.

Buckie Thistle Football Development are keen to hear from volunteers at their forthcoming AGM. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Buckie Thistle Football Development are keen to hear from volunteers at their forthcoming AGM. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Next Thursday will see the Primary and Youth sections hold their AGM when they will be looking for a wide variety of people to step forward to perform a number of roles vital to moving the organisation forward as sport begins to emerge from its enforced Covid-19 hibernation.

At present just two stalwarts – secretary Barry Aitchison and Buckie Ladies manager Mel Smith – are keeping the group ticking over until fresh faces come on board.

Aitchison said: "Just like any other year we've got certain office bearer positions we have to fill.

"If we don't fill these it's as simple as that. we've had some interest, which his encouraging, but we've positions to fill in both the Primary and youth sections.

"It's not just office bearers, though, we need a lot of other people to make this all work. In particular, we need coaches and helpers, too. We're also hoping to create a new post of Covid officer as we move forward out of the lockdown.

"We need to get everything in place when it comes to our Covid strategy before we can even think about restarting training. There's a lot of guidance from the SFA at the moment but not a lot is hard and fast yet.

"Covid has thrown a spanner in the works of a lot of things. It's broken a lot of the continuity we had within the club due to the lockdown but it has also disrupted the PVG [Protecting Vulnerable Groups] certificate some coaches need. That's starting again now but there's a big backlog. All the other clubs are in the same boat here."

While the social distancing guidelines at the moment are not overly problematic for youngsters playing at the under-12 level but for the older players matters become slightly more problematic. Group bubbles come into play here with, as the guidelines stand at the time of writing, a maximum of 15 allowed inside each one. With two coaches and the Covid officer included in that number, it means just 12 kids can be coached at once. Coaches are also restricted to working with players in one bubble, further racking up the demand for more volunteer coaches to step forward.

Another variable still up in the air is the opening of Buckie Leisure Centre, with BTYD, along with many other teams, rely on when training or playing on the town's all-weather pitch.

BTFD have the best part of 200 players on their books, the majority – in the region of 70 – in the Primary section, with 50 each in the Buckie Girls and the Youth section. The sections play in a number of leagues for their respective age groups, offering the chance for players and volunteers alike to travel throughout the north and north-east. Aitchison noted that away games were particularly popular with the players.

Aitchison was keen to stress that for those who stepped up to the plate to join the BTFD team, something special was in store.

He added: "It's a very worthwhile thing to be involved in.

There's a great team spirit no matter what the score is at the end of the day.

"I've had opposing managers say to me that they're amazed at the team spirit the kids show even if they've had a heavy defeat.

"They're a great bunch of people who welcome everybody, and that's what makes it special."

The AGM is due to be held via Zoom on Thursday, August 6 at 7pm. Anyone interested in becoming involved, or who would like more information, is asked to email BTYDsecretary@outlook.com, where log in details for the meeting are also available.

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