Hamilton Squash Club is the first member club to participate in Scottish Squash’s landmark Going for Gold initiative, supported by housebuilders, Springfield Properties.

The South Lanarkshire club were successful in a recent application process which has seen them roll out a new Club Junior Development Programme.

Going for Gold has been launched by Scottish Squash to provide a sustainable introductory junior development programme through free squash coaching.

The new investment is designed to help ambitious clubs make a step change in how they deliver junior programmes by professionalising their coaching infrastructure over a two-year period.

During this cycle 800 hours of free junior coaching development will be available to kids across South Lanarkshire and the first session kicked-off last weekend.

Coaching sessions will take place at Hamilton Squash Club and in schools across the region thanks to Scottish Squash’s partnership with South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture‘s Active School’s team.

The Active Schools Network means Going for Gold has the ability to reach more than 140 primary schools and 17 high schools across South Lanarkshire.

Hamilton Squash Club’s Ron Carlisle said: “We have been trying for a while to get a junior initiative at the club so it’s great news we have been successful in our Going for Gold application.

“It means we now have a structured long term junior programme and a dedicated coach who is going to be here every week.

 “The programme is exactly what we need to encourage kids to play squash and hopefully it will breathe new life into the club.”

Matt Bedwell will be the Going for Gold coach based at Hamilton Squash Club and he’s branded his bespoke programme – The Squash Collective.

He said: “I will have my own coaching sessions at the club but an important part of my job will be getting into the schools, introducing pupils to squash and driving participation. It was great to get started on Saturday.”

The Active Schools Network provides more and higher quality opportunities for pupils to take part in sport and physical activity and to develop effective pathways between schools and sports clubs in the local community.

Karen McInally, Active Schools Manager for South Lanarkshire, said: “When we heard about the opportunity in South Lanarkshire for the Going for Gold project we were delighted to get involved.

“We engage with all schools in South Lanarkshire through our Active Schools programme.

“We have 50 per cent of young people participating in sport and physical activity and being able to offer squash as an additional activity through Going for Gold is fantastic.

“Given it’s such a rounded, well developed programme it really adds value and we’re very excited about it.”

Springfield Properties Marketing Assistant, Megan Scotland, added: “Going for Gold is a great initiative that will encourage youngsters to get into squash and offer them professional coaching to improve their skill.

“Springfield are excited to be included and support this scheme as it develops across Scotland. No doubt we’ll be training potential future winners of the Springfield Scottish Squash Open in years to come.”