New opportunities for sport spring up in Easterhouse

Sporting opportunities for pupils in the Easterhouse area of Glasgow have tended to be limited. But that is all set to change thanks to the fulfilment of a far-sighted project.

Six years ago, the former library in Easterhouse began its conversion into a sporting hub. Run by Richard McShane and Caroline Cumming, the Phoenix Community Centre is now ready to offer a variety of sports and keep fit activities for the local youngsters.

The boxing club is already up and running and squash is one of the sports determined to raise its profile in the area.

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Stephanie Lynas, an 11-year-old from Saint Rose of Lima Primary School, recently took to the court under the watchful eye of West Region development officer, David Fallon.

“I already go into some of the primaries in the area. The aim is to get the kids started, then run after-school clubs at the Phoenix Centre,” explained Fallon. “Lochend Community High and and St Andrew’s Secondary are target schools.”

For the pair in charge, the opportunities abound. “We are already working with Boxing Scotland and Scottish Squash and table tennis is another available sport,” said Cumming.

“The aim is to open sporting doors for the local youngsters. For instance, Richard and I have already started learning about golf.

“We want the kids to be able to come to the Centre and try things out, or be pointed in the right direction if they want to try something new. Traditionally, football has been the main sport, but we want to offer so much more.”

Gym facilities are also on site – and there are activities and get-togethers to help those with special needs.

For Fallon, it is the chance to unearth talent and promote his sport. “A lot of the kids in the area have never even heard of squash,” he said. “But we can go into schools, put tape on a wall in the gym and get them hitting balls. It starts in the PE classes – but will hopefully lead to so much more.”

Stephanie enjoyed the new experience. “I do some gymnastics at school but would like to play more squash,” said the P7 pupil who will go to the next session at St Andrew’s. “Today was really good fun.”