Pilton mum wins top football award for youth work

Claire Kidd receives her award from Scotland manager Alex McLeish.
Claire Kidd receives her award from Scotland manager Alex McLeish.
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Two years ago the youth section of a historic football club was in debt and on the brink of folding due to a lack of volunteers.

But one parent’s vision has been the driving force behind the resurgence of the Civil Service Stroller Community Youth Football Club.

The new youth section started in September 2016 but by November that year the man in charge of the setup could no longer take on the responsibility.

With 100 kids, including two of her own, left without a coach and any hope, Claire Kidd stepped in to make a difference and help get the youth setup back on its feet.

The 35-year-old found a new private coach and also began organising fundraisers in order to help pay the club’s debt.

She also used the cash to put new volunteer coaches through their official badges and courses and even did them herself in order to take a hands-on role on and off the pitch.

Her relentless efforts for the benefit of the community have not gone unnoticed and she was proud to win the Scottish FA Grassroots Football Mum of the Year Award.

She said: “I was completely overwhelmed to find out I’d won. It blew me away as I didn’t feel as though I deserved to win it. I’ve only thought about the kids. I can’t thank everyone enough but it really has been a huge team effort.

“I wanted to make sure we saved the club but also secured its long-term future. It has grown and grown and now we have a solid foundation. We want this club to give kids the chance to access sport.

“It’s a great club with real history and I love seeing all the kids’ smiling faces. It’s keeping them off the street and we’re creating a real sense of community.”

From admin work to coaching on the pitch, Claire has put countless hours into the club while juggling a busy lifestyle being a mum to five children and working in retail.

She has also helped to introduce new schemes such as the bootbank for players to donate unwanted boots for others who cannot afford them.

Claire, from Pilton, added: “It is a deprived area and we want the club to be accessible to everyone. We are also starting offering a discounted membership for multiple siblings.

“I have put an enormous amount of time into this but it has been very rewarding. It has meant an awful lot to me. It can be hectic but I’ve just kept going for the kids.”

Club president Russell Pryde said: “Since the youth section was established two years ago it has gone from strength to strength and for the last year Claire has been the driving force behind it.

“I don’t quite think people know how much work goes in to running a football club but it takes hundreds of volunteer hours each month. Claire has worked tirelessly to build the youth section up from just a few kids to over 120 kids that we have just now playing football at the club each week.

“She coaches, does admin work, she’s the treasurer and pretty much looks after the day-to-day running of the section.”