Club has big hopes for Wee Fifers

Gary Naysmith with young members of the East Fife Youth Academy, launcihg a 'Wee Fifers' venture in November
Gary Naysmith with young members of the East Fife Youth Academy, launcihg a 'Wee Fifers' venture in November

One of Levenmouth’s most prolific local groups is kicking off another new venture, combining a community focus with health and wellbeing.

East Fife Youth Academy (EFYA) will be launching a new programme next month offering an early introduction to footall, aimed and nursery and P1 school pupils.

Fun games will be played in different parts of the stadium and this will give the children the chance to become familiar with the coaches and football environment.

Lorna McAuley

The Bayview-based team has secured funding for the ‘Wee Fifers’ venture from the Scottish Football Partnership’s community initiative award.

For many of the youngsters, it will be their first foray into the sporting world.

EFYA is due to begin the scheme on November 9 and tour schools and nurseries with a scheduled programme.

Representatives hope to capture the children’s imagination and inspire them to develop active lifestyles as they grow.

Sessions will be tailored to suit the needs of nursery pupils, some of whom may be as young as around 18 months.

The programme will complement the Curriculum for Excellence and feature a partnership with the Active Schools programme, which is very prominent in Levenmouth.

It will focus on health and wellbeing, numeracy and literacy, encouraging participants to form friendships, build teamwork and help them in developing good balance, co-ordination and agility.

EFYA has a target to work with 1200 children between the ages of three and six for a minimum of five weeks.

The lead coaches also hope it will help the participating schools become familiar with the East Fife brand and see them engage in other club projects.

The venture will operate on four blocks throughout the academic year, and each one will finish with a mini-festival at the stadium.

Parents and family members will be invited along to watch these matches and, by seeing the positive effect sport has on their children, parents will hopefully be encouraged to allow their youngsters to join the academy on a regular basis, and may even become volunteers themselves.

Lorna McAuley, head of EFYA, and a community development worker, said: “Children from these classes will be invited to tour our stadium and meet some of the staff.

“Fun games will be played in different parts of the stadium and this will give the children the chance to become familiar with the coaches and football environment.

“They will take part in simple numeracy games using football and health as the theme and, in the following weeks, coaches will attend classes within the school environment to work on basic skills, such as dribbling and passing.”

Lorna added: “If we can catch children’s attention at an early age, they will hopefully go on to play football for many years to come, allowing the youth academy to keep growing.

“And who knows? One day they may even play for East Fife FC.

“There is no greater privilege for the club than to see one of their own young players make it through to the first team.”