Monday, 24th April 2017, 5:15pm – 7:15pm
£1 to Play Initiative
The SPFL Trust's Trusted Trophy Tour was greeted by our first furry friend - Dougie the Doonhamer - when it arrived at Queen of the South for the latest leg of the nationwide community tour.
It was however participants in Queens' £1 to Play initiative, not Dougie, who were involved in the main event when the tour rolled into town.
The club are also on a roll themselves through their strong focus on community engagement, including efforts to increase capacity within its grassroots football programme.
So the trophies arriving in town late Monday afternoon was the ideal opportunity to experience and learn more through one of the club's current community programmes.
The building next to their Palmerston Park stadium has been converted by Queens from a former supermarket into Queen of the South Arena.
This has meant the opportunity for local people to play more football while allowing the club the chance to continue to better engage with their local community.
The arena holds two indoor artificial 7-a-side pitches which are available for local clubs and groups - or even just those looking to keep fit and have some fun - seven days a week from 9am to 10pm.
Community development and U20s coach Eddie Warwick explained: "Children from primary through secondary education are able to participate in our after-school football sessions in the arena in a safe, inclusive, well-coached environment.
"The £1 to Play initiative offers an affordable 90 minutes of fun for 40 or so kids every week. We also have 70 kids attend on a Wednesday, and a session for about 20 girls later in the week.
Some of our U20s team support these community programmes. That helps keep them grounded, teaches them discipline, and through college they can educate themselves with sports coaching courses.
"Some of our U20s team support these community programmes. That helps keep them grounded, teaches them discipline, and through college they can educate themselves with sports coaching courses.
"Community engagement is really helping our U20s players improve and grow as coaches. It's showing because their ideas are getting better and better every week."
Christine Findlater, the club's Supporter's Liaison Officer, agreed.
"We get as many of the community involved as possible, such as Easter and summer holiday camps and the fun day training sessions for Derek Lyle's Testimonial, when the first team came down to join in," she said.
"On Wednesdays we have pre-school and primary school kids, and there's also secondary kids and a weekly Girls Club."
And as the trophies got packed away there was no sign of Christine stopping, as she headed off to a supporters meeting.
In fact, in the week the Trusted Trophy Tour visited Palmerston Park the whole club seemed to be all go - hosting Breakfast Clubs, Walking Football for the over 50s, running goalkeeping classes with qualified Scottish FA coaches for boys and girls aged 10-16, undertaking school visits, and supporting Football Fans in Training continue their fitness campaign.
Of course Dougie the Doonhamer wasn't just there to welcome then wave off the Trusted Trophy Tour.
In between, the popular mascot also made sure the kids involved made as much noise as possible for the local media, who were filming the celebrations. Meanwhile Dougie fetched the cup, and somehow managed to get in most of the photos... all part of a mascot's day's work.
Queen of the South FC are focused on increasing capacity within its grassroots football programme.
Our visit to Palmerston Park will highlight the club's £1 to Play initiative.
Children from primary through secondary education are able to participate in after school football sessions, in a safe, inclusive, well coached environment.
The SPFL Trust works in partnership with Scotland’s 42 professional clubs and external agencies to promote, support, fund and administer activities which help meet the identified social needs of the people of Scotland.
Our purpose is to use football’s unique presence to assist Scotland’s people to achieve their goals and improve their life chances.
Our vision is to work with SPFL clubs to use the unique power of football to engage with communities.