Glenrothes football club coaches want to give back with Malawi charity trip

A pair of Glenrothes youth football coaches will take a once in a lifetime trip to Africa as they look to help those in need.
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Lee Robertson and Ian Young, who are coaches with Rothes Juniors Football Club, will travel with members of St Columba's Parish Church from Glenrothes to Malawi on April 18.

Lee, who is a funeral director, said: “Of late we have made attempts to try and grow and expand and just do more essentially.

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“I met with Peter Grant MP. He explained about touching base with the local clergy. I'm a funeral director by trade, so I know them on a personal level anyway.

Lee Robertson and Ian Young are tavelling to Malawi as part of a charity fundraiser. (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)Lee Robertson and Ian Young are tavelling to Malawi as part of a charity fundraiser. (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Lee Robertson and Ian Young are tavelling to Malawi as part of a charity fundraiser. (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

“I approached Alan Kimmitt at St. Columba’s Parish Church, and explained about the football club. It was more on a local level and how we could help the community in terms of vulnerable groups.”

Rothes Juniors already operates a boot bank, where football kits and equipment are recycled for use by those in need. This led to discussions around St Columba’s partner church in Malawi.

However, what started as a way of helping an area in need of vital support and to provide football coaching for the village’s youth has “snowballed” according to the pair.

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Lee explained: “They regularly go across, or vice versa, they'll invite members of the church over. We got onto the subject of providing some equipment for them to take over and then essentially it snowballed and now we’re going over with as much equipment as we can.”

The trip is a continuation of the work carried out by the club in recent years.

He continued: “The past three years we've done quite substantial donations to the children's ward at Christmas time and also the food bank. So it was to try and expand upon that, we've done it on a local level. What's the next step? We had zero intentions to travel and go and physically coach and try to learn a different language.”

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The project has also had buy-in from Lee and Ian’s contacts in football such as players and clubs.

Ian, who works in learning and development with O2, explained: “We started a LinkedIn page then tried to get some traction on that from business sponsorships or people we know.

“I've know a few football players, I know Charlie Adam really well. We've got Sean Dillon the ex-Dundee United captain, Willo Flood and Stuart Armstrong. These guys are ready to go and share videos, post comments of support as well.

“We’ve also got good links with Raith Rovers, we do a lot of work with Raith through Rothes Juniors. So we're going to utilise contacts that we've got.”

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The pair are longtime coaches with the club, and Ian said the trip has been an opportunity to realise how lucky they are to have opportunities like this.

He explained: “We’ve had our kids since they were maybe five years old, and my kids are in high school now. We’ve seen them transition from to teenagers and then young adults and that pathway they’ve got at our club.

“It can kind of put some things into perspective of just how lucky we are as coaches. I want to go across there as a coach and give something back as well.”