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Parent power brings sports pitches back to life for pupils at Oakgrove Primary

Parents rally round to secure funding for sports pitches in a built-up area where space is limited for children.

P upils have been given space to play sport after a successful battle to reclaim a school's outdoor pitches in the West End.

The braes surfaces at Oakgrove Primary School in North Woodside were abandoned more than a decade ago because they were deemed unsafe for children.

But thanks to the efforts of the school's Parent Council money has been secured to erect fencing and resurface the pitches.

Around 90 per cent of pupils at the school, which is situated near the M8 flyover in the city centre, live in flats and don't have ready access to outdoor space.

Watch: Nine of out ten pupils at Oakgrove Primary live in flats and have limited access to open space.

Oakgrove pupils had previously had to make do playing sport on its hard tarmac playground, which was far from ideal.

To celebrate the reopening of the renovated facility, local schools and nurseries held a special afternoon of sports and games in the blistering sun.

The development was made possible after almost two years of fund raising by the Parent Council and Active Schools, the partnership between sportscotland and local authorities that promotes sport and seeks to improve facilities.

Chairman of the Parent Council and a volunteer football coach at the school, Thomas Lyon, said he was motivated by his experiences of visiting other schools in the city and seeing their superior facilities.

Parents: Parent Council chair Thomas Lyon was instrumental in securing funds to reopen the pitches.

"It means we've now got a place where we can come and coach the kids. They can also come in here at playtime and lunchtime and use it.

"As well as that, it will also be used from five o'clock onwards by the local community."

After seeking quotes from the city council, Thomas approached a private contractor who offered a quote that came within the range of the school.

Seeking to cover a price tag of around £10,000, the Parent Council secured funding from various sources: Hillhead Community Partnership offered £6,500; the NHS gave £1,500, and other money came from the Parent Council at Oakgrove and at other local schools.

Thomas also held a charity football match which raised several hundreds of pounds.

Celebrate: Pupils from the local area enjoyed an afternoon of fun and games to mark the opening.

Head teacher at Oakgrove Jane Cerexhe said she was delighted with the new renovated space which would mean so much to children in the area.

She said: "You can't keep kids indoors. They need to be able to run around get fit, play.

"Once they get involved in sport they have to become problem solvers, they have to learn how to accept defeat, which in turn builds resilience.

"And just the team spirit and camaraderie that comes with just playing together is second to none.

"We think it's a really, really important part of the curriculum and it complements other work that we do in the school around health and wellbeing."

She also paid tribute to Thomas and the Parent Council for their efforts.

"The chair of our Parent Council Thomas Lyon has taken on enormous leadership in seeing this project through," she said.

Safe: The new pitches are fenced and properly surfaced to allow children to play safely.

"He learned first hand from escorting our football team to other pitches around the city that perhaps we were being a little short changed by not having a football pitch on our doorstep.

"The school in itself didn't do this, it was done for us by our Parent Council and they in turn were supported by local councillors and other partners.

"We are very grateful. It is a great resource to have."

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