A FOOTBALL project is making dreams come true by helping Dunfermline families in financial hardship get a match day experience at East End Park.

Pars Pals, set up by Louise Reid this summer, has already helped 75 children and adults who wouldn’t be able to afford a ticket witness the action at Athletic games by collaborating with local schools.

The initiative provides ticket bundles for adults with accompanying children in P4-P7 who are eligible for a free school meal.

There are approximately 900 children within the Dunfermline catchment area that qualify.

The Pars Foundation and Dunfermline Athletic have made previous efforts to give tickets at zero cost to school children but say this has not worked due to the requirement of an accompanying adult having to pay for their ticket.

Louise, volunteer co-ordinator for the foundation, told the Press: “I went to DAFC with the suggestion that we do something valuable for the community that also gets a few more bums on seats!

“The idea originates from something that the Celtic Foundation does, enabling people to go to the match that normally wouldn’t have that chance.

“I wanted it to be quite specific, targeting people in the community that do not really get any treats.

“I worked in education for 18 years so I’ve seen for myself that some children miss out.”

In its pilot year, Pars Pals is already working collaboratively with a small number of primary schools in the area, including Commercial, Canmore, Touch and McLean.

It’s planning to add more schools in its second year and also some suitable charities.

Every child that benefits from a Pars Pals ticket is expected to submit their ‘Match Day story’ and it’s hoped in the near future there can be a public exhibition of their stories.

Louise added: “The kids that have been so far have had a brilliant time. One boy had never been to a football match before and he was beside himself. His mum said she never dreamed that she would be able to take him.

“One child said it was quite an eye-opening experience hearing the language around and another definitely has a future in journalism by the look of his report!

“It can be difficult for children from poorer families to hear others saying what they did at the weekend and for them to get that opportunity a couple of times a year, to say I went to see the Pars with my family, makes a difference.”

The LikeMinds Alliance, established by Mark Smith and made up of a group of friends who raise funds on behalf of local action groups and charities across Crossford, Cairneyhill and Dunfermline, gave over £1,000 to help the Pars Pals project get on its feet.

Mark said: “We are absolutely delighted to support the Pars Pals project which, we are convinced, will bring a lot of joy to many local families.”

Louise added: “We would absolutely love to get some more funding and hopefully it will continue next year.

“Organisations and individuals have donated already so to get more Pars Pals patrons on board would be fantastic.”

If you want to learn more about the project or become a Pars Pal then email parspals@parsfoundation.co.uk