SOME of East Ayrshire’s best-known football grounds have been getting a close season spruce-up – with the help of the area’s community payback team.

The group has carried out maintenance work at several clubs in the area to allow the clubs themselves to carry out essential repairs such as painting goal posts, pay booths, dugouts, changing rooms, gates and fences.

Cumnock Juniors, Glenafton Athletic, Lugar Boswell and Bonnyton Thistle are all involved with the community payback scheme.

The teams have also been cutting grass, scraping moss, weeding, litter picking and mending privacy netting surrounding pitches at grounds such as Townhead Park, Loch Park, Rosebank Park and the Synergy Arena to maximise the safety of those who use the facilities.

It was Covid that prompted East Ayrshire Council’s events and resilience management officer to contact the community payback team, asking them to get involved with the clubs to help with general maintenance and essential repairs at no additional expense to the clubs – several of whom were struggling after lockdown rules forced football to be cancelled and cut off their main income stream.

The clubs are eligible for help from the scheme, which provides a way for people who have fallen into criminal offending, often the result of mental health or addiction issues, thanks to their charitable status and the range of community engagement projects they undertake to support wellbeing, combat social isolation and promote inclusion.

Other community work being carried out by clubs includes the Townhead Strollers receiving CPR training from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and competing in a charity football tournament which raised money for the family of three year-old Malin Mackay who has rare lymphoblastic leukaemia.

East Ayrshire councillor Jim McMahon said: “Our Community Payback teams have been doing incredible work at football clubs across East Ayrshire and my thanks go to them for working hard.

“Through them, as well as the football clubs’ dedicated committee members and volunteers, the clubs are making a difference to so many people in the communities of East Ayrshire and allowing them to continue to carry out important community engagement projects.”