DESPITE the problems that a global pandemic has caused for local sporting organisations, loyal supporters are helping to keep Lochore Welfare in good shape.

The club, who only entered the SFA pyramid system in October, has seen its season suspended but secretary Tom Graham is delighted with the way they've coped in adversity with restrictions, no fans allowed at games and their social club being shut.

All the non league sides have found their finances under severe strain due to the pandemic, but Welfare has brought money coming in through various sources.

Tom explained: “The Welfare Social Club, next to the ground, has seen a tremendous stream of finance come into the club since it opened and when the Covid restrictions closed it there were concerns.

"However, the Scottish Government’s grants for income lost during the pandemic has helped provide a good source of support, plus funds from the National Lottery and the government for football clubs has seen £3,600 received so far by us with a similar sum due later in the season,” said Tom.

“There is a regular draw and former chairman John Kirkland organised a Christmas raffle which brought in more than £1,000, so we have found ourselves in as good a financial position as we could have hoped for, through a lot of hard work by the committee and the generosity of the public supporting the draw and the raffle.

“We have 10 committee members now, which means that the work can get spread around, so all in all things are fairly healthy.”

And he paid tribute to John Kirkland, and his wife Michelle, adding: “A few years back they did some incredible work to keep things going as there were not a lot of people around at that time to help them."

Tom has been away from Central Park, Crosshill, since 2005, living and working in Perthshire, but decided to get back involved in the club last summer as the decision was taken to join the East of Scotland League and end their days with the Fife junior scene.

He said: “The club took a big decision to join the pyramid system but it was the right way to go and hopefully we can see a resumption of action soon after the suspension is lifted.

“We have made a reasonable start with a win, three draws and four defeats in our first eight games, but a few breaks in the drawn matches could have seen us on 10 points as we were dominant in all three games.

“However, we have 20 games to play and if we can get football back into action within the next few weeks, we can have a real go at making the new First Division planned for next season.”

Tom added: “We have a useful team with a good youthful squad under two excellent young advisors, in manager James Adam and coach Jim Davies, and the lads have shown that they can mix it with some of the better teams in Conference B of the First Division.

“We all understand why the season has been suspended, with the spiralling rise in Covid cases, but we hope that our season can be completed because we can play on into May and June if need be as used to be done in the junior days.

“Hopefully that can happen and our supporters will get a chance of seeing the team in its bid to make the top eight of Conference B.”