BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Falkirk have netted a Scottish football first by offering players and fans a free creche for their children on match-day.
The Championship side are living up to their Bairns nickname after teaming up with the Little Stars nursery that is already based at the club’s community stadium.
The agreement means the facility, which already runs from Monday to Friday, will open on Saturdays when Falkirk are playing at home and will cater for kids aged one to five for no charge.
It is hoped the family-friendly innovation will attract more supporters to games by providing childcare for the duration of the matches.
Falkirk chairman Doug Henderson said: “This is all about being a community and family club and we believe it to be a first in Scottish football, certainly as a free facility.
“The facility is there during the week as a commercial operation and the fact it is on site makes it easy to also provide it at the weekend for matches.
“By offering this to our supporters free of charge, our aim is to make football as accessible as possible and to lead the way for other clubs to follow suit.”
Falkirk striker Lee Miller has booked two of his kids, five-year-old son Bobby and 18-month-old daughter Jude, into the crèche for its opening day on Saturday, when the Bairns host St Mirren.
And the former Aberdeen, Middlesbrough, Bristol City, Carlisle Untied and Kilmarnock player has praised the initiative.
He said: “The facilities in the nursery are fantastic and it will be a great thing for the kids and their families.
“Two of my kids are still quite young and are not really that bothered about the football; they would rather go in there and play!
“My wife will bring my two youngest nine times out of 10 for the home games and they can go in there and enjoy themselves and the families can have peace of mind that they’re being looked after.”
Little Stars has been operating at the Falkirk Stadium for 10 years and was the second tenant housed in the office space within the ground.
Owner Kevin Gilmartin said: “Falkirk and Little Stars are working in partnership more now than ever before.
“The nursery now sponsors the match-day mascot and, with the addition of the free match-day creche service, we hope to continue to build on our strong relationship with the football club and the local community.”