Nearly 40,000 kids now involved!

Tuesday, 18th September 2012

Yesterday at Hampden Alloa manager Paul Hartley, a former Celtic and Hearts player, helped the Scottish FA and Tesco Bank launch the third year of the Tesco Bank Football Challenge.

39,117 children (8.7% more than targeted) across 1000 schools in Scotland have now engaged with the country’s leading football participation programme.

40% of all schools in Scotland are now involved with the initiative, accounting for 11% increase on the number targeted.

The Tesco Bank Football Challenge is a four-year community programme run in partnership with the Scottish FA. The project introduces football to Primary Two and Primary Three children (six to eight years old) across Scotland to help get them engaged in a healthy and active lifestyle.

Children participate in a six week block of football coaching with qualified Scottish FA coaches, before participating in regional festivals across the country, many of which are held at high profile venues including St Mirren Park, Rugby Park, and Tynecastle Stadium.

A national festival at Hampden Park brings the school year of football to a memorable close.

Teachers and volunteers continue to enjoy the Scottish FA’s in-service programme with over 2,200 now trained to support the growth of football in schools.

Scottish FA Youth Ambassador Paul Hartley said: “The Tesco Bank Football Challenge has gone from strength to strength over the last two years.

"Football can be a force for good in society and this programme is aimed at engaging children at an early age with the benefits of football. Health and active living is an important part of life and this football programme helps to teach this amongst Scotland’s children.”

Jim Fleeting, Scottish FA Head of Football Development, said: “The Tesco Bank Football Challenge is one of the most successful components of our “strong, quality, growth” strategy towards Scotland United in 2020.

"Not only have we seen tremendous growth within the programme, but its true strength has been the quality of experience children are enjoying with improved facilities, better coaches and the creation of a real legacy by continuing to offer in-service training to teachers. Tesco Bank has been a highly proactive partner making experiences for children across the programme very special.”

Click to view pictures from the event at Hampden with Paul!