A PROGRAMME providing all female pupils a chance to develop physically and socially though football at a Wee County school was celebrated last week.

Lornshill Academy marked its Girls' School of Football success as part of Scottish Women and Girls into Sports Week.

The academy became the first in Scotland to run a School of Football programme exclusively for girls when it opened in 2012.

The theme for 2019 is Leaders within Women and Girls Sport, supporting leaders to be the best they can be.

One such person of note at the School of Football is Chelsea Raymond, who is currently undertaking a PhD on the Girls' School of Football at the University of Stirling and who was recently recognised for her commitment to Women and Girls' football in Scotland at the Scottish FA Grassroots Awards.

Chelsea, speaking to the Advertiser last week, described how important football can be to young women, saying: "I think football can be a really powerful tool in helping girls gain confidence in understanding and using their developing bodies."

Local MSP Keith Brown joined the players during Scottish Women and Girls into Sports Week, which provides an opportunity to throw a spotlight on women and girls' participation in sport and physical activity.

He said: "The Girls' School of Football has been an incredible success and leading example for girls' football in Scotland since its inception in 2012.

"It is important that we continue to encourage girls and women into sport, building skills in confidence and collaboration that will create the new generation of leaders for Scotland.

"I was delighted to join the players here today and get a glimpse of their talents, and I am sure at some point in the future we will see them pulling on a Scotland jersey."

The Girls' School of Football is part of the My School of Football programme which is a partnership with the Cashback for Communities initiative, a Scottish Government programme which takes money seized from criminals and invests it in the next generation.