THE opening of a clubhouse in the city has signalled the success of a campaign that lasted a decade and a half.
Inch Park Community Sports Club (IPCSC) celebrated the opening of its facility on Tuesday following a 15-year campaign led by Lismore Rugby Club in the Southside to bring “community sport firmly into community hands in Inch Park”.
It marks the club’s first step in its revamp of facilities at Inch Park, with work under way to renovate the grass pitches for rugby and football. There are also plans for an artificial surface.
The clubhouse was opened by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, the occasion coinciding with a sports festival on the park for 170 pupils from schools across the south of the city.
Chairman of IPCSC, Malcolm Gillies, said: “It has been a very long and somewhat tortuous journey to get this project to its opening, and see what was once a park in terminal decline restored as a dynamic centre for sport, for the community and for the clubs.
“The facility is not the end – it is just the beginning of a lot of hard work to deliver and enthuse all into exercise and sport.”
Its three tenants – Edinburgh South FC, Edinburgh South Cricket Club and Lismore Rugby Club – have a place they can finally call home.
Edinburgh South FC treasurer Kelvin Hurd said: “It’s a massive step forward for us, as the football club is now in a far stronger position than it has been in the last 20 years with everything now in our favour.
“We see these sorts of facilities throughout the continent and we’ve been on football tours in Holland where you feel really envious of what they have, but we can now see the same here at home.”
The facility is also home to a mountain biking club, dance-based exercise, Taekwondo and ballroom dancing.
IPCSC is entering into the final stage of the project, which includes the building of an international standard rugby pitch, and extra cricket and football facilities throughout the park. Funding has been obtained from Cashback for Communities through Scottish Rugby.
In addition, a £450,000 grant was also received from sportscotland.
The two-storey building boasts eight changing rooms, a community room for dance and indoor exercise, social areas and a community education room for after-school and homework clubs.