It’s best known as the home of Bo’ness United. But these days it is much, much more than that.
Newtown Park is a field of dreams for scores of people who play for teams or join in activities at the venue.
The aim of the Newtown Park Association (NPA) is to establish the ground as a community hub and they are well on their way to achieving their goal.
Newtown Park is now in use seven days a week — a far cry from the old days when a lack of floodlights and the need to protect the playing surface from the vagaries of the British weather meant that use of the pitch was very limited indeed.
Bo’ness United played around 25-30 matches a season, and Newtown Park was otherwise off limits to other potential users. But even United were somewhat hampered by the ground’s limitations. In order to train on dark winter nights they had to find other venues which had floodlights, and that meant travelling outwith the Bo’ness area.
All that changed in 2019 when the NPA carried out major ground redevelopment work. Floodlights and a new 3g synthetic pitch were installed at a cost of £700,000, with the work taking six months to complete. Newtown Park was transformed — and the NPA was finally able to roll out the welcome mat for other teams and community groups to take advantage of the facilities.
Now Newtown Park is used by two senior football teams, Bo’ness United and Bo’ness Athletic, as well as a newly-formed Under-20s team, Bo’ness United Community FC and the amateur football team.
Founded as a one-team boys’ club in 2006, Bo’ness United Community FC has gone from strength to strength and now boasts over 320 players, from pre-school age upwards, as well as over 70 volunteers. They are based at Murries Park in Bo’ness but also make use of Newtown Park.
Other groups are also taking advantage of the facilities at Newtown Park. In particular the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT), a registered charity which has been rolling out two projects at Newtown Park during 2022.
One of these projects, Game On Girls, offered a seven-week coaching programme for primary school girls, aiming to promote girls’ football and build on the huge upswing in the popularity of women’s football.
The other CRT-backed initiative, delivered in partnership with the Falkirk Foundation, saw Newtown Park being used for a Sport Works programme. This was a 10-week programme funded by the Department of Work and Pensions aimed at helping school-leavers into employment — classroom-based but with PE aspects to the course which involved use of the pitch.
Newtown Park has even hosted International football in recent times. The Scottish Cerebral Palsy team have been holding monthly training sessions at Newtown Park, and in June the venue hosted an international between Scotland and their English counterparts.
Scores of people just like you are getting a kick out of life at Newtown Park. Why don’t you join them?
The benefits of participating in sport — both physical and in terms of mental health — are well documented.
Perhaps the activities currently on offer at Newtown Park don’t cater for your age group or interests. It doesn’t have to be football-related — pitch in with your own ideas!
Get in touch with the Newtown Park Association with your ideas for future events and activities. The NPA exists to serve the community and ensure that as many people as possible — young and old — can take advantage of the facilities on offer.
Although the pitch is being used seven days a week there is plenty of availability for new activities, groups and clubs, particularly during the day. Contact the NPA for more details.
Make it your goal to get involved at Newtown Park!