Former Hearts and Hibs professional football stars, Gary Locke, Mickey Weir and Keith Wright have helped mark a renewal of a year-long partnership between the Borders Railway project and the Midlothian Football Forum.

The deal gives a £5,000 funding boost to the Midlothian Football Forum, a joint initiative between Midlothian Council and the Scottish Football Association that supports football development through ten clubs across the county.

An event to renew the partnership, which kicked off last year, was held on Monday 21st July at Poltonhall in Bonnyrigg. Former players, Gary and Mickey, were joined by former Hibs player and now Midlothian Football Development Officer, Keith Wright, representatives from Borders Railway, the Scottish FA and Midlothian Council, as well as a number of the local teams involved in the initiative.

The additional funding will help enhance the development of young players through new coaches and training equipment, as well as encourage more young people to get involved.

Carol Deveney, Network Rail’s Senior Programme Development Manager for Borders Railway said: “As construction activity for Borders Railway continues to make progress, this new partnership underlines the project’s continued investment in the community. Young people in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders have the most to gain from this new railway and this partnership will help to communicate benefits that the new railway will bring once it becomes operational next year. It will also help keep young people across the region active and away from construction sites during out-of-school times."

Mark Henderson, Network Rail Community Safety Manager, said: “It’s important that we highlight the risks of playing or trespassing on a railway, but just as important is giving the young people an engaging alternative that holds their attention. This initiative echoes similar successful partnerships that we have already established across Scotland. We hope that our continued support goes some way towards helping Midlothian’s football stars of the future.”

David Sheldon, Club Development Manager, Scottish Football Association - South East, said: "We're delighted to be working in partnership with Borders Railway once again. Many of our young footballers can’t wait to be able to use the railway, so this is a great opportunity for them to learn more about the associated benefits, while also benefiting from improved football clubs at the same time.”

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