There have been calls to reopen outdoor sports pitches across the Stirling Council area to allow local sports clubs to return to action.
Gyms were given the go-ahead to reopen last month. However, most of Stirling’s outdoor sports pitches remain out of bounds.
Now one of the clubs which makes use of one of the area’s pitches says the continued closure is “adversely affecting” the wellbeing of young people.
Trossachs Tigers Hockey Club play at McLaren Leisure Centre in Callander. Stirling Council owns the pitch, which is managed in partnership with McLaren Leisure – a not-for- profit organisation managed by a team of staff and board of professional volunteer directors.
The club provides weekly training sessions for around 60 young people within the McLaren catchment as well as weekly social non-competitive mixed hockey for adults and is run on an entirely voluntary basis.
A club spokesperson said: “While we all appreciate the need to reduce risks wherever possible and reasonable, the lack of Stirling Council pitch availability, specifically relating to those associated with schools, is now adversely affecting the wellbeing of our young people.
“There seems to be no reason not to facilitate a return to sport, in accordance with government guidance and that of the relevant sport’s governing body. In our case, bookings of the council’s pitch in Callander is managed by McLaren Leisure so there’s no additional administrative burden on the council.
“The club is ready to follow Scottish Hockey’s guidance in our return to training, we have contactless check-in set up, and are planning staggered training sessions to reduce numbers, we just need our pitch back.”
Stirling Council says that details on the reopening of the local authority’s 3G and grass pitches will be shared with the public “as soon as possible”.
A spokesperson said: “There are clear health and wellbeing benefits of sport and physical activity and the council is moving forward with a phased reopening of its 3G and grass pitches to the public in September, in accordance with Scottish Government Covid-19 guidance.
“While the council is keen to reopen these facilities, many of these pitches are on school property, and a careful, phased approach is necessary to ensure adequate resources are in place to keep people safe while coronavirus remains a significant threat to public health.”
The pitches at Stirling’s The Peak leisure centre are open for bookings.
Trossachs and Teith Tory councillor Martin Earl said: “I would urge the council to get these pitches available for evening and weekend bookings by recognised clubs urgently. The benefits of people being able to engage in safe, controlled group activities is clear. These clubs are run by responsible people and they all have national bodies that have produced guidance for how they can operate safely.”