Charity Street Soccer Scotland has secured the rights to transform the Lynch Centre in Dundee, with a focus on community and wellbeing at its heart.

The charity, which supports more than a thousand people across Scotland each year, plans to create a “change centre” at the South Road complex, offering local people use of the Centre as well as opportunities for children and young people to use the facilities, in a bid to help those suffering from social disadvantage.

Street Soccer Scotland plans to invest £150,000 in renovations to the complex, with funding from the Scottish Government’s Social Innovation Partnership, The Hunter Foundation and The Northwood Charitable Trust.

Initial plans for the Lynch Centre, one of Dundee’s oldest sport venues, show designs to renovate the existing building, which is in need of some updating, offering transformation of the existing office suite into an area where Street Soccer we can provide advice, support and education to their players.  Over time there are also ambitious plans to transform the rest of the centre which currently offers two large sports halls, an internal gym, a viewing gallery and a number of changing facilities.

The charity, which will take over the premises in April, also plans to open the premises to partners working to support people facing disadvantage, including providing a base to expert advisors to support those struggling with money-issues, welfare or housing.

David Mackenzie, Dundee Regional Manager for Street Soccer Scotland, said:

“Being born and bred in the city, I’m so proud that we can bring this opportunity to my hometown. This centre will aim to transform lives for the better and develop new skill sets for people to reinvent themselves. It will offer hope, relationships and purpose, but much more than that, by being at the heart of the local community, it’ll break away some of the misconceptions and stigma around social disadvantage by bringing people together through a range of different activities. 

“We want to be part of the community, working with people and a wide range of partners to build trust and understanding to achieve positive change in all our target groups.

“We want to provide security and a positive structure, not just to our players but members of the wider community too – some of whom may be facing similar issues.

“The Lynch Centre was named to recognise the lifelong voluntary work contributed by the three Lynch brothers to serve the community, we want continue this heritage by helping people”

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“I’m delighted to be able to support this renovation through our Social Innovation Partnership with the Hunter Foundation. The partnership is about exactly this kind of activity: supporting wellbeing and tackling disadvantage and inequality.

“I’ve seen first-hand the excellent work Street Soccer Scotland does for people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. As part of this new initiative the Lynch Centre will become a focal point for the community, allowing Street Soccer Scotland to help transform lives through football.” 

Sinclair Aitken, Chair of Leisure & Culture Dundee, said:

“Street Soccer Scotland is such an inspirational organisation, and we are really pleased at how our initial partnership has developed over the last few years.

“We have supported them every step of the way in Dundee and it’s fantastic to see the energy they put in through their programmes bring positive change to people’s lives. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Street Soccer Scotland, supporting people throughout the city and, particularly with their new initiatives at the Lynch Centre.”

Councillor Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said:

“To be able to attract a social enterprise with such a long and impressive track record of success as Street Soccer Scotland to the Lynch Centre is a win for them and the city.”There is an awful lot of detail to be covered when entering into arrangements like this so I am delighted that it has been concluded and grateful for the hard work by council and Leisure & Culture Dundee officers as well as staff at Street Soccer Scotland.”

“It is their passion and commitment that has finally got this one into the back of the net!”