AN exciting new grassroots football venture for kids is rising from the ashes of a much-loved set up which folded last year.

Parents have worked alongside coaches and volunteers to form Ardgowan Thistle FC, which is aimed at youngsters from Inverkip, Wemyss Bay and south west Inverclyde.

Coach Robert Henderson and an army of volunteers have put an action plan in place to let children play the game again following the sad demise of Ardgowan Football Development in 2020.

With support from local businesses, they are planning to run teams at all age groups when lockdown restrictions are eased.

They are looking for primary-aged kids from Inverkip, Wemyss Bay, Gourock and south west Greenock to join them.

Organiser Robert said: "We're all very excited about the end of the pandemic and the return of grassroots football.

"Football was hit hard by the pandemic and the old committee decided it would be too difficult to continue, so they folded the club they had established in 2001.

"But we wanted to resurrect something and the old committee very kindly donated funds and equipment.

"We're very aware that children have had a hard time over the last year, with their schools being closed for long stretches, activities curtailed or simply stopped, and opportunities to just spend time with their friends cut right back.

"The committee and coaches here at Ardgowan Thistle are determined to give as many kids as we can the opportunity to get physically and mentally active again, in the company of their friends, and in an inclusive and encouraging atmosphere."

The club will be based at the pitches next to Wemyss Bay Primary.

Robert added: "We have a plan for a full restart in all age groups from P1 - P7, and we're going to run teams right through secondary school from August.

"We will offer football to kids in eight year groups, continually growing over the next five years until we give young people the opportunity to play football in a safe and friendly environment right through from five years old to seventeen."

The club has lined up 11 brand new volunteer coaches who will be put through the necessary training and disclosure check clearance over the summer.

Robert added: "We've been really fortunate to have received a lot of support from so many in our communities, not least the parents and carers of the kids."

"We would also like to thank Ivy Cottage Dental Practice, Wemyss Bay Cabs, Pearson of Wemyss Bay, Mearns T McCaskie Butchers and Direct Roofing for their support and graphic designer Stephen Harrison for our new club crest."