Earlier this year the Greenock Morton Community Trust made a shrewd transfer move when they recruited Tom Elliott from Falkirk as their Community Engagement Manager.  It was hoped that the Championship club would use the experience of Elliott to stimulate interest in football and their club in Greenock and the surrounding area.

Allan Moore (Manager, Morton FC) and Mark McNally (Assistant Manager) helped to promote our SUMMER CAMPS at King’s Oak Primary School.  Stuart Rafferty (SFA Development Manager) and Tom Elliott (Community Engagement Manager, GMCT) also joined forces with the P3 pupils from the local primary school to officially launch the camps

With Elliott on board it was decided for the first time to dip Morton’s toe into the water of running Summer Camps and it would be fair to say that they moved beyond stimulating interest and scored a right few winners.

Former Morton goalscoring, and one time FA Cup Finalist for Sunderland, Warren Hawke who is Morton’s consultant for club development, said: “The Trust was only set up earlier this year and it is a registered charity, which brings together Greenock Morton Football Club and Greenock Morton Supporters’ Trust. The aim is to use the Morton brand to deliver quality community coaching and social inclusion programmes to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds across the Inverclyde area.”

Hawke admits that bringing in the 47-year-old former Partick Thistle, Stenhousemuir and Petershill Juniors player Elliott has helped move the GMCT up a gear as he said: “Tom spent the past decade heading up award winning community programmes at Stenhousemuir and Falkirk. He was unanimously chosen as the ideal candidate to take our trust forward and we have noticed a huge impact since he started and took up his role back in April.”

“Tom is the guy who has been there, seen it, done it and bought the t-shirt. We could have had any person with a community coaching background in the whole of Scotland apply, and none of them would have come as highly recognised as Tom Elliott.”

Hawke added: “Tom brought a fantastic pedigree with him, having started up programmes from scratch. He spent four years at Stenhousemuir and then a decade at Falkirk where he started the Falkirk Foundation.”

“When he did that he had just a pad, a pen and a telephone but more importantly he had desire and a vision. By the end of his time with the Bairns he had 11 full-time staff teaching children every single week. The GMCT has a passion for engaging with the Community across various ages and initiatives, and Tom is the perfect match for that.”

Morton Football Holiday Courses

If the GMCT had any doubts over whether their high profile recruitment was worthwhile they were banished during the summer with Hawke adding: “We worked on generating interest in summer camps where we could coach children some football skills during a 5 day programme. The interest in those camps blew us away and blew Tom away. He along with everyone else could not have known how successful the summer camps would be.”

“We based them at four locations at Battery Park in Gourock, Dunoon Stadium, Wemyss Bay and Port Glasgow and ran them for six weeks. They were run in partnership with Inverclyde Leisure, Active Schools/ Sports Development Inverclyde, the Scottish Football Association and Dunoon Youth Football League.”

“We had huge numbers attending.”

Hawke quantified the success by saying: “We had set a target of 400 children across the camps but over 600 attended at least one full week’s summer camp. That is terrific figure for us to achieve in our first year. A good number of them attended for second and third weeks as well.”

There were also two children who simply could not get enough with Hawke adding: “We had 2 children that attended every day of every week. Six weeks solid of football coaching and if we were running a course this week then they would have been there as well.”

“Girls could come along to any camp and overall made up about 15% of those who attended. We also ran a week of a girls only course and that attracted nearly 20 girls every day. Another real success for the camps.”

Morton Football Holiday course for girls

A relaxed approach to carrying out their football drills was key with Hawke adding: “It was great fun and after allowing the kids to settle in on their first day we would have themed days running across the week. There was Crazy Hair Day, Inverclyde has Talent, Superhero Day and World Cup Day. There were also visits from the Morton management team of Allan Moore and Mark McNally as well as his players when medals were given out at the end of the week.”

Hawke added: “I cannot thank Allan, Mark and the players enough for their support throughout the summer.  From the official launch back in early June until the final presentation day at the end of week 6 they helped create a buzz around the summer camps.”


“They would hand out medals, sign t-shirts that we provided and also join in for a kick about. For a lot of the children there playing football with a Morton player is a dream come true.”

Hawke was also keen to praise the people who ran the show every day as he added: “The GMCT coaches and volunteers have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the summer camp experience and massive thanks go to every one of them. They delivered coaching on a daily basis and their enthusiasm and encouragement has been outstanding and I hope the lads now enjoy a well-earned break.”

The coaches were Sean Crighton, Peter Weatherson, Paddy McAlees and Peter Dunn and for two of them there is no such thing as a break from football as Hawke said: “Sean coaches with us and then plays with Elgin City at the weekends and Peter Weatherston has just left Morton after 10 years and joined Annan. Of course he scored the winning goal between the sides in a recent Ramsdens Cup tie and I am not sure if everyone was happy to see him take their group on the Monday afterwards.”

week 6 sotw

Hawke added: “Led by Tom’s vision l believe that the GMCT has delivered much more than expected, however that is not the end of the story.  Just because the summer has finished does not mean the fun and participation stops.”

“We have just announced an expansion to our Mini Morton programme which coaches youngsters throughout the year. We want kids to be involved every week of the year and as well as that all the fun returns in October for the structured weekly camps.  ”

Elliott said, “It has been a magnificent first summer with the people of Inverclyde and l have personally been overwhelmed by the number of children taking park.  I must say a big thank you to all the parents for supporting the programme by bringing the kids along every day and joining us on a Friday for presentation day.”

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This