A popular footbal club for youngsters has announced it will kick off a new season on 23 May.
Forres Soccer 7s offers weekly football sessions for all abilities between the ages of 4 and 16, and its board believes with extra measures in place, it is safe to start their season next month.
Chairman Paul Lynch said: “The safety of the children, coaches and parents are in the forefront of our minds. Our last match day was on 8 March last year and at that point we had no idea how long this was going to stop us.
“As for every other club it was frustrating for us to be off for so long but we knew the safest thing to do was to stick by the Government guidelines.
“We made the decision to start back up this May as we feel it is safe to do so. We have bought in sanistising stations, face masks, wipes and handheld thermometers.
“We are continuing to stagger the starting times with the Developmental 4’s (4-6 year olds) starting at 10am and the Super 5’s (7-9 year olds) and Junior 7’s (10-12 year olds) starting 15 minutes after the 4’s finish.
“This will allow enough time for the kit, goals and balls to be changed over and for the parents and children to leave/arrive safely, reducing the numbers of people at one time.
Paul said parents were eager to see the club restart. The season would normally have started in February, and the club has reduced the cost of membership to a single £20 across the entire age range. It will also offer free places to children who get free school meals.
“Everyone at the club are looking forward to the new season, it has been a long 14 months away and we can’t wait to get back at it. I know the parents are looking forward to is starting back again as we have been receiving messages for the last two months, asking when we are open again.
“Due to our charitable status, we are now in a position to be able to offer free places for children in receipt of Free School Meals. We don’t want any children missing out on being able to play football at our club,” said Paul.
As well as the weekly games, the club’s fundraising activities were cancelled.
Paul explained: “We usually organise tournaments, an Easter fun day and family bingo nights so we are looking forward to when we can start organising them again. The funds we raise all go back into the club to buy new kits, equipment, footballs etc.
“The board also made the decision to extend the club sponsorships for an extra year, which will make up for the year we have lost. We thought this was only fair as all the sponsors of the club have been fantastic to us and they are always willing to help the club out whenever they can.”