A PROJECT group has been formed in Innerleithen to push forward plans for creating a community sporting hub at Victoria Park.

Lowland League club Vale of Leithen face a race against time to install floodlights at their home park to meet SFA requirements.

And they are using the rushed ground improvements to kickstart a longer-term plan for creating a community facility to cater for all the town's football clubs as well as athletics and other sports.

On Tuesday evening close to 50 people attended a public meeting in the Vale Club.

As well as committee members from Vale, Leithen Vale and Leithen Rovers, there were representatives from Live Borders, Scottish Borders Council and Leithenburn Athletics Club.

John Anderson from Vale of Leithen has agreed to lead a newly-formed project group.

He told us: "There was a lot of positive comments and the general feeling was that everyone wants to see sporting facilities created which can benefit the whole community.

"Our first aim is to get floodlights and we hope to have a planning application in before the end of the year.

"Several funding streams - both council and non-council - were identified and discussed.

"There is a lot of support for taking this forward and step-by-step we will hopefully end up with a Victoria Park that can cater for all of the community's sporting needs."

As well as erecting floodlights to allow for evening training and matches, further improvements include drainage work on the pitch and eventually a synthetic 3G or 4G surface.

Once the planning application for floodlights has been submitted with Scottish Borders Council, the first of several funding applications will be made.

John added: "As well as external funding we need to also raise money ourselves.

"Over the coming weeks and months we will look at ways we can fundraise ourselves as a club, whether that's events or online crowdfunding.

"We realise this is just the start of a long journey but the support is there.

"The project group will meet every month and continue to take this forward."

Drew Kelly and John McBay from Live Borders and the two councillors in attendance, Stuart Bell and Robin Tatler, have all agreed to join the project group.

And representatives from the town's other sporting clubs will also have a place around the table.

Vale of Leithen chairman Stuart Robertson said: "There has been a feeling for some time that other areas of the Borders get all the facilities, hopefully this is about to change.

"There was a lot of positive comments at the meeting and we hope this can be the start of something that will benefit everyone in and around Innerleithen."