East Kilbride News
East Kilbride took its first step towards a new community stadium last week when South Lanarkshire Council gave plans the green light.
And one of the groups celebrating that decision was East Kilbride FC’s Sunday Club, which helps children with additional support needs.
The Sunday Club cares for children with conditions including autism, Asperger’s, fragile X, Hurler syndrome, Lennox-Gastaux syndrome, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis and physical disabilities.
They were huge supporters of the East Kilbride News’ Field of Dreams Campaign as we backed East Kilbride Community Trust’s plans to support various groups in the town.
The club would be first in line to move to the new stadium and this week, as the ASN children enjoyed their annual outing to Loch Fyne, some of the parents explained to the News how important the facility in Langlands will be in ensuring the club continues to support local children and bring families together.
Jacqueline Mount, whose son Jordan attends the club, said: “The Sunday Club allows us to meet up with other parents who have children with additional needs.
“This means that there is a relaxed atmosphere where there are no unrealistic expectations placed on the children.
“Although we are part of EKFC, we train at Jackton and not K-Park so the new facility will allow us to mix with the other EKFC teams and create a really inclusive environment.”
Jacqueline Ferrie told the News her son Jack has really benefited from the club and hopes more children can follow suit at a bigger venue.
She said: “The Sunday Club has given Jack the chance to be part of a team and he loves this.
“His coordination has improved immensely and it’s nice to see him come on every week.
“The new stadium will give him the chance to play both indoors and outdoors and to continue to play with his friends but also with new children as the club expands.”
Seonaid McGhie, whose son Max was a mascot when East Kilbride played Celtic in the Scottish Cup earlier this year, is looking forward to seeing the club develop.
She said: “The new stadium means that in the good weather the children have the option of going outdoors, whereas currently we can only train indoors.
“It will also allow us to take more children and will mean that the older and younger children can continue to meet up on a Sunday, even if their sessions are at different areas of the stadium.”
Louise Fletcher takes her son Keiron Park to the club.
“The new stadium will mean that we can run the older and younger sessions at the same time on a Sunday, ensuring that everyone gets the chance to play with a similar age group and ability,” she said.
“It will also mean that all the parents get the chance to meet every Sunday, as one of the older groups meet on a Thursday.
“We are a close group and this is important to us.
“The Sunday Club has enabled Kieron not only to develop his football skills but to make friendships and develop social skills.”
Caroline Duffy said her son Cian has really come on since starting the Sunday Club.
She told the News: “When he started he needed a parent to help him take part but now he goes with Amy, one of the volunteers, and is kicking the ball and taking his turn amongst the other children.
“It’s so good to watch him progress and hopefully even more children can benefit.”
Sunday Club founder Denise Laverty was over the moon when the decision to grant planning permission was announced.
And she is looking forward to expanding the group once the stadium plan comes to fruition.
“We have regular enquiries about the Sunday Club but currently we don’t have the space to accommodate everyone. The new stadium would change that,” she said.
“We will now be able to take in more children and hopefully expand to two classes for different age groups running at the same time.
“It means that parents still get to meet up to develop their friendships and, more importantly, we can ensure a time when all the children work together.
“This is important to us because we want the older children to take some responsibility for the younger children and for the younger children to look to the older ones as role models.”