AN INVERCLYDE member of the Scottish Youth Parliament has kicked off a call for local politicians to improve the availability of publicly-owned football pitches for young people throughout the district.

Matthew Quinn brought forward a motion at a recent meeting of the youth parliament urging the Scottish Government and local authorities to provide free-of-charge access to sporting facilities and pitches.

The motion won the backing of 90.7 per cent of MSYPs and Matthew is now seeking the support of local representatives to move the proposals another step forward.

He told the Tele he would like to see all of Inverclyde’s pitches made available to locals, preferably through the use of crawl holes.

(Image: Duncan Bryceland)

He said: “When I was running for youth parliament this was one of three main issues I focused on, and I found it kept coming up over and over.

“Young people were saying we need to open the pitches and we have to work on sporting facilities.

“I thought this needed to be the first issue I worked on and I thought the motion was the best way to start something.

“I’m aware councillors will be going on recess in July but I’m going to put an email out and ask them to support the motion, I don’t see why they wouldn’t. It’s not controversial, it’s common sense.

“We can’t ask taxpayers to pay money for facilities and then when their kids want to go and use them, they’re locked, that doesn’t seem fair to me.

“We saw the result Scotland had at the Euros and we need to encourage more young people to develop their skills and train and if the facilities are not open then they’re not going to have the facilities to do that.”

Matthew believes that access to quality, affordable and accessible facilities will have a range of benefits for local young people and the wider community.

(Image: Duncan Bryceland)

He added: “It seems common sense to me that you would unlock them during the day, come and lock them at night or whatever, but even just a crawl hole would mean that people could go in.

“No bikes, no scooters and no vandalism or anything like that.

“I hear all the time about antisocial behaviour but if you close these places, if there’s nowhere to go, then the antisocial behaviour will get worse.

“It’s good for mental health and exercise and if young people have a place to go and focus their energy I do think it’ll help with antisocial behaviour as well.”