Residents give backing to Prestonfield homeless project

Residents have had their say on proposals to build a £5m football-themed homeless development in the Capital.

Thursday, 26th April 2018, 7:00 am
David Duke, the founder and CEO of Street Scoccer. Picture: Greg Macvean

Initial plans have been released which includes 32 en-suite bedrooms, communal kitchens and a shared living space on top of a community hub – with two 7-a-side and four 5-a-side football pitches – situated on Morgan Playing Fields.

The Change Centre aims to give people without a home, security, relationships and purpose until they are comfortable enough to go back into society.

A public consultation has been launched, with the opening
two events taking place at the site where many members of the public gave vital feedback to the developers ahead of them submitting a planning application to the city council.

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Frankie Arthur, 40, a car dealer from Liberton, said: “Over the winter so many Edinburgh South games have been cancelled because we only have grass pitches.

“The area has nothing like it and it can only be good for the community.”

Physio Amanda Hogg, 47, said: “I think the plans look excellent. It can benefit the community and it’s unique with the housing and integrating people who have been homeless back into society. I’d like to think there would be chances for more sports than just football. Not everyone likes football.”

The Change Centre would be at the heart of the 
community too, offering local residents the use of the facilities and the opportunity to engage and learn from the homeless residents.

Morgan Playing Fields is owned by Edinburgh City Council with the land likely to be subject to a long-term lease to Street Soccer Scotland and Edinburgh South Football Club.

Postman James Spratt, 44, said: “For the homeless to be given a chance is absolutely amazing.

“I think if we ignore homelessness it won’t go away which is part of the reason we’re in this situation in the first place. The project could cost £5m which is my only concern if that type of money can be found.”

Donna Fyfe, 43, said: “It’s got everything we need that will suit schools, local clubs and the homeless. People are homeless for a reason and this is going to help them in such a big way. Local people will be getting involved and it can only be good for the whole community.”

Residents can still attend further consultation events on May 1 and 2 from 6.30pm-8.30pm on Morgan Playing Fields. The project is a brainchild of Street Soccer Scotland founder David Duke, 38. He said: “We will take into account all feedback and will look to possibly make small changes if necessary. This project could have a positive impact on everyone’s lives in the local community.”