Skip to main content
football pitch
football pitch

Bowhill Rovers mow path to success for club and community

Bowhill Rovers is an amateur football club in Cardenden, affiliated to the Scottish Football Association. The Club provides footballing opportunities for young adults who want to play competitively and stay fit and healthy. The club competes in the Fife Amateur Men's Football League.

They received funding from the Ventient Westfield Community Fund to maintain the pitches for use by the teams and the wider community.

About the Fund 
Ventient Energy Westfield Wind Farm Community Fund (Cardenden) can support community projects benefiting residents of the Cardenden Community Council area. This charitable fund is provided by Westfield Wind Farm Limited (WWFL) the owner and operators of the Westfield wind farm in Fife. The Fund was opened in 2014.  An annual amount of £9,375, inflation-adjusted, is paid into the fund each year for the operating life of the wind farm, which is expected to be 25 years.

Who are Bowhill Rovers
Bowhill Rovers is an amateur football club in Cardenden, affiliated to the Scottish Football Association. The Club provides footballing opportunities for young adults who want to play competitively and stay fit and healthy. The club competes in the Fife Amateur Men's Football League.

Bowhill Rovers Highs and Lows - 2017 to 2022
In 2017, for the first time ever, Bowhill Rovers won the first division title in the Fife Amateur Men’s Saturday football league and in the same season the club reached the Scottish Cup semifinal as well as a further two cup finals.  The following season, in 2018, the club defended their league title and in 2019, Bowhill Rovers won the league title for the third time in a row, as well as winning the league cup.

During this time, the community would attend the games in droves to support their local team, there was buzz and excitement throughout Cardenden as a result of the teams winning achievements.

In the following season of 2019/2020 things started to wane - players were injured, suspended or left the club, and the club entered into a decline.  Then, in 2020, due to COVID, the season was abandoned.  Due to a declining moral, the manager and assistant manager left the club, and a suitable long-term replacement could not be found.  This meant that the club missed signing deadlines and could not find players to commit to signing without a permanent manager in place.  

The club continued to stumble along for a few years, finishing mid to lower league table, narrowly avoiding relegation in 2022.   
During this time, its community support dipped, and lower numbers of spectator were attending the games.  

In 2022, the committee faced a difficult decision to fold the club due to lack of funds, as fundraising had been impossible throughout the pandemic and the club had found it difficult to find sponsors due to its lack of success.  The Cardenden community stopped coming to watch the games and it was struggling to field eleven players each week.  

It was during this time that the club took the difficult decision to step away from participating for one season to re-energise the clubs and its players. This decision meant that the club was automatically relegated to the third division when it re-entered the league structure twelve months later.

Down Time for the Club 
Over the twelve-month period, the committee kept the club facilities ticking over and it searched for a new manager who could attract local players and others to a revitalised squad.   In June 2023, the club appointed Stevie Brown as manager and John Jarvis as assistant manager, and they immediately set about recruiting a squad that was not only capable of not only competing in the third division but having the skills to be promoted in the first returned season. The committee set about raising funds to support the club’s comeback to purchase new equipment and strips, tracksuits.

The Project 
The club’s pitches are located at Wallsgreen Park, Cardenden and are Council owned. However, the Club is responsible for the upkeep of the pitches. It is important for the club to provide a hub with suitable facilities and a well-maintained pitch as this has helped motivate the team to attend and be a part of a community team with others learning valuable life skills.

During the revamp of the Bowhill Rovers, the club’s lawn mower broke down and it could not afford to repair it as the bill was close to £1,000.  The club was faced with asking the council to cut the grass at £100 per cut per week, but couldn’t afford the charges, so went about seeking funding from another source.  

The group turned to the Westfield Cardenden Fund to contribute towards the overall cost of purchasing a lawn mower which would not only support the team but the local community and other groups who use the space.  

At the end of 2023, the Cardenden Panel agreed to award £1,000 to contribute to the overall project cost of purchasing the mower.  

The mower has been transformative in terms of providing the Club with the independence they require to maintain the pitches to train and play.  

The freedom of not having to rely on the council and the reduced burden of collecting grass by volunteers has positivising benefited the team and the wider community.

A member of the club said:

Getting the award gave us some breathing space to try and build up some funds for future repairs. We have had to pay out more money throughout the season to maintain the mower, but it’s been manageable, and this was down to the award given by Westfield Cardenden and Foundation Scotland, and for that we were and still are very grateful. It was used as a springboard to better things because we were able to support the manager and his players in their aspirations.

Keeping the pitches mowed was important not just for the Bowhill Rovers team but for others who use the pitches outside of the team's formal training sessions, such as children and young people. If the pitches were not maintained by the Club, the team would have needed to train and play on an astro turf outside of the village.  

There were concerns that this may have impacted on the club's standing in the community and would also mean the children and other groups/events such as the John Thomson Memorial Committee or the Highland Games would not have the opportunity to benefit from the maintained pitches.

Where the Club is today 
In 2023, the club achieved their ambition of winning the third division title and thus earning a promotion and entering into the second division in their first attempt since re-entering the league.

Bowhill Rovers has also managed to reach the last 64 of the Scottish Cup, losing narrowly to a first division team in Glasgow.  The team reached the Fife cup semifinal only to be defeated by a narrow margin by the defending Fife first division league champions and Scottish cup holders Cupar Hearts. The Bowhill Rovers team have achieved great heights over the past twelve months and the village has returned to support them in greater numbers,

Learning and Outcomes 
Providing funding for a piece of equipment which supports the club’s autonomy to manage its pitch space empowers the club to take ownership of its space.  This in turn encourages its players and supporters to take pride in their club, attending matches and fundraising events which promote community cohesion and spirit.  

The volunteers on the committee have also gained much needed self-esteem, as some are unable to work or are retired and the roles and responsibilities give a sense of purpose and pride in what’s being achieved.

The club is inspiring young people to take part and play and there are discussions about setting up young teams.

This project is a great example of how Ventient Energy (Cardenden) funding has provided primary and secondary impact for the club - through the maintenance and upkeep of its main place of play, it also allows other community groups to benefit.