The charity boss behind a new Elgin sports complex is hoping to support community groups provide more safe sporting spaces across Moray.
Elgin Sports Community Trust was formed in 2017 amid concerns about public pitches being littered with needles, broken glass and dog mess.
Lesser Borough Briggs was previously a barren piece of ground next to the River Lossie.
That was before the group agreed a 99-year lease for the site.
The facility, complete with one full-size Astroturf football pitch and two five-a-side pitches, is set to open on Monday.
Any sport played on grass can take place at the Gleaner Arena.
Drive to improve Moray sporting facilities
Elgin Sports Community Trust chairman Dave Allen is hoping the new facility can encourage more youngsters to get active.
He reckons the project is “only the beginning” in their vision to improve sports facilities across the region.
Support had been secured from the project by contractor Volker Fitzpatrick, which completed some of the construction for free, with Sport Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise both pledging £100,000.
The project has also received support from the likes of Robertsons, the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation and Gordon and MacPhail.
Elgin facility completed amid global pandemic
Mr Allen said: “It is remarkable that all the trustees are volunteers who have done work in their spare time during a global pandemic.
“Volker Fitzpatrick came on board for groundworks which made it affordable.
“Their free work was to the value to around £400,000 to £450,000 which is a lot of money.
‘This is all for Moray’
“This facility provides a safe accessible clean and state-of-the-art playing surface.
“This is the first of what I hope is many facilities we help with.
“Once we cover running costs, we want to help other recreation facilities by revamping or building stuff.
“This is all for Moray and we will have money to invest and expertise about going through the process.
“The catalyst was I have really three sporty sons and had to clear dog mess, broken bottles and needles from council-run facilities.”
Nurturing Elgin sporting talent
Over the years, he has watched droves of sporting talent leaving the region.
He said: “All the best sports people are leaving the area to go to Aberdeen or Ross County for football and to Stirling for triathlon.
“I think it is an opportunity for sports men and women to realise that we have a chance to grow something here.”
Meanwhile, the trust are keen to support community groups working with people who are anxious about going into the community post pandemic.
There are also plans to build changing facilities, a coffee shop and covering for one of the five aside pitches at Lesser Borough Briggs.