Hearts have announced that the Hearts Youth Development Committee will be wound up at the end of the season after 27 years.
The organisation was set up in 1991 to help provide funds for Tynecastle youth teams and, having contributed £1.3million in total, is now disbanding.
HYDC helped provide equipment and pay for youth team trips abroad via various fundraising activities throughout the year. Their six-man committee, led by chairman Calum Robertson, have agreed that their services are no longer required with Hearts now on a sound financial footing under owner Ann Budge.
Robertson said: “The new regime at Hearts has transformed the club over the past four years. Their commitment to developing the academy further is clear. It is gratifying that HYDC is stepping down at a time when so many youngsters have broken into the first team.
“We are delighted that the legacy of HYDC is to have helped the academy reach such a high point in its history, safe in the knowledge that the club is fully committed to investing in its continued success.”
A statement posted on the club’s website read: “The club and Hearts Youth Development Committee last night confirmed that this will be HYDC’s final season of operation. HYDC were honoured with the Special Recognition Award at yesterday [Sunday] evening’s Hearts Player of the Year Awards at Tynecastle.
“HYDC has stood by the club through thick and thin for the best part of 27 years and Heart of Midlothian Football Club would like to thank all HYDC committee members, past and present, for their tireless efforts to support the development of young players at the club.
“The organisation was formed in 1991 by a group of businessmen and Hearts supporters with the sole intention of raising funds for the development of youth players for the club. Since its formation, HYDC has raised in the region of £1.3m.
“The club will be forever indebted to the Hearts fans and youth supporters who helped raise funds by attending HYDC events, entering the HYDC monthly draw and by making generous donations. The money raised has been hugely beneficial. HYDC funding has proved to be vital to the development of emerging talent on a number of occasions when the club has faced periods of turmoil.
“Under the new regime led by Ann Budge and Craig Levein, the club has demonstrated that investing in youth is a key priority. This being so, it seems now is an appropriate time for HYDC to step back.”
• The final HYDC monthly draw will take place on Friday, April 27, at the annual George Nicolson Memorial Golf Day. HYDC would ask all contributors to the monthly draw to cancel their direct debit and standing order from April 30 onwards.
Hearts plan to announce a new fundraising draw in the near future. HYDC will be closing its monthly draw bank account on May 1, 2018, and all attempted payments thereafter will be returned.