A football club is helping to make former mining community a better place to live thanks to a £5,000 grant.
Thanks to funding of £5,000, awarded by the Coalfields Community Grants scheme, Alfreton Town Football Club (ATFC) has ensured that the local community have a full schedule of activities that they can call upon, which has tackled many of the issues that once blighted the area.
ATFC Community Development Scheme began in 2012 after the club recognised that there were a number of problems that were having a negative impact on the community and needed addressing if the town was to improve and become a place where people would want to work and live.
Recognising that youth unemployment, lack of physical education in junior schools, high childcare costs, antisocial behaviour and loneliness amongst the elderly were immediate concerns the club began applying for grants which would allow them to develop a scheme that would confront the problems head-on.
Club director, John Glasby said: “Alfreton is in the top 25 per cent of socially deprived areas in the UK. When we discussed the issues that people within the community wanted addressing, it was obvious something had to be done.
“As part of the ATFC Community Development Scheme one of our main objectives was to get young people excited about work. In partnership with Derby College we ran an apprenticeship programme to help school leavers and young adults gain a qualification in activity leadership.
“Since then seven people have achieved level 2 qualifications that have gone on to get a place in higher education or full time employment, with another person achieving a level three qualification. We have also seen the development of 17 community activities and 13,000 local people have benefitted.”
As part of their qualifications the club organised for the apprentices to visit local junior schools to teach basic physical education, with the aim of improving the town’s attitude towards being active from a young age.
John continued: “With the apprentices we went into schools and ran free PE lessons and groups for juniors. We averaged six schools per week for children ranging from 5 to 11. There is no structured learning plan for physical education for juniors, unlike secondary schools who hire fully qualified PE teachers. In contrast junior schools tend to run the lessons through one teacher who may be trained in a completely different subject.”
In addition to getting young people back into work, the scheme also encouraged apprentices and young people to visit the elderly, as loneliness amongst the older aged was highlighted as a significant and growing problem within the area.
As funding for the apprenticeship scheme came to an end, it almost led to the closure of the programme. However, the club found that thanks to grants from organisations including the Coalfield’s Community Grants, they were able to carry on visiting schools across the community with the help of retired and part-time footballers at ATFC.
He added: “Running after school clubs, as well as term time sessions, not only helps with childcare costs but it also enables parents to work longer hours. Thanks to schemes such as Coalfield’s Community Grants we are able to carry on providing the children with a full range of activities, which improve their wellbeing and give parents one less thing to think about.
“Teachers have commented that the attention and enthusiasm of the children has also improved in general due to the encouragement and support we provide, which is all thanks to the funding we receive.”
Coalfields Community Grants is a fund which is managed by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the organisation dedicated to supporting coalfield communities to help themselves. The grants programme was developed to support community organisations, social enterprises and activities with funding of up to £10,000 per application available.
Due to the success of the programmes delivered through the funds, including ATFC Community Development Scheme, Coalfields Regeneration Trust has extending the grants available and has announced the launch of a funding pot of £1m, which community groups and organisations can access from April.
Developed to sustain, support and encourage grass roots activities that have a vital and positive impact on the coalfields communities, the grants are expected to attract considerable attention. For further details and to submit an application, visit the Coalfields Regeneration Trust website at http://www.coalfields-regen.org.uk/what-we-do/social-investment/coalfields-community-grants/
For more information on the ATFC Development Scheme visit www.alfretontownfc.com or call 01773 830277.