Scottish Woodlands Ltd will make history later this month when the company sponsors the strips of both Scotland and Wales for two international football matches.
The games, between under-15 and under-17 girls, take place in Port Talbot, South Wales. The visiting Scots will wear shirts with the Scottish Woodlands Ltd name, while the home team will have Flintshire Woodlands (the trading arm of Scottish Woodlands in Wales) on their strips.
David Robertson, Investment and Business Development Director for Scottish Woodlands Ltd, said: “This will be a fantastic day for the company - to sponsor both the Scottish and Welsh teams in two highly competitive and high-quality girls’ games.
“I'm sure football will be the real winner - but we're very pleased that the company will be sponsoring the winning team, whoever that might be!”
The annual fixtures are organised by the Boys and Girls' Clubs of Scotland and Wales, which uses sport as a focus for its work in developing skills of leadership, teamwork and mental health awareness, and putting young people on the right path in life.
David Taylor, Chairman of Boys and Girls Clubs Scotland, said: “The annual international matches between Scotland and Wales have taken place between the boys' clubs for over seven decades. The girls' games are more recent, but have happened for more than 20 years.
“The games rotate between Scotland and Wales - with the girls in Wales and the boys in Scotland this year. We're absolutely delighted that Scottish Woodlands Ltd has agreed to sponsor the strips of both teams for the girls’ games. It's a first for us.”
The Boys and Girls' Clubs football teams are seen as an additional pathway into the sport, beyond the traditional international route. Several former professional players have made the jump, the best-known being Martin Boyle, currently playing for Hibs and Australia, and John Hartson, the ex-Welsh international and Celtic player who is now a pundit.
Mr Taylor said scouts attended the international games, and some of the players who had not been picked up through the official national structure might be signed by clubs over time. However, he stressed that the purpose of the games was much wider - about active and healthy lifestyles, positive experiences, and lifetime friendships.
“We make the games a real international experience for the players,” said Mr Taylor. “They travel together on a team bus and stay in a hotel or on a university campus. They sing the l anthems before the games and present them with their international cap at a dinner.”
Jamie Reith, Business Development Manager for Scottish Woodlands Ltd, will travel to Wales to watch the games. His daughter, Libby, who plays for Jeanfield Swifts in Perth, will represent Scotland under-15s.
“It's a brilliant experience for all the girls and a great way to widen participation in football and teach them positive life skills,” he said.
Libby Reith in her Scotland shirt ahead of the game, with her former Jeanfield Swifts team-mate Katie Henderson in the Welsh strip
“Scottish Woodlands Ltd is delighted to support such a terrific initiative. With the games being played in Wales, it's a particularly good opportunity to promote Flintshire Woodlands and the work it is doing - especially as the games (on 23 July) are immediately followed by the Royal Welsh Show, from 24-27 July.”
Flintshire Woodlands, based in Chirk, North Wales, will be at the Royal Welsh Show and is involved in the management of more than 10,000 hectares (about 25,000 acres) of woodland in Wales. It provides a complete range of forestry management and contracting services, including new woodland creation, planning and implementation, timber harvesting, forestry investment and property acquisition, and Woodland Carbon Code projects.
A team of eight will represent the business at the Royal Welsh Show [in the Forestry Section at 758-FOR], including Senior Forest Managers Charles Gittins and Alastair Squire, Forest Manager Ed Shelton and Office Manager Carol Shone from the Chirk office. They will be joined by Michael Hall, Scottish Woodlands Operations Director for South East Scotland, England and Wales, Assistant Regional Manager Gareth Owen, Assistant Forest Manager Dafydd Powell and HR adviser Jude Alexander.
“The Royal Welsh Show is the highlight of the Welsh agricultural calendar,” said Mr Hall. “The increased focus on environmental gain is seeing the farming community seek opportunities in tree planting, providing an ideal opportunity at the show for Flintshire Woodlands to meet existing and new land-based clients.”
* Boys and Girls Clubs Scotland has been at the forefront of working with young people in Scotland since 1928. The charity helps young people to achieve their potential through social and personal development opportunities. Find out more here