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Alty broaden their community involvement
9:00am Monday 9th April 2012 in Alty FC news
ALTRINCHAM have further reinforced their image as 'the People’s Club' of non-League football by forming a separate company to look after community affairs.
The Altrincham Football Club Community Sports Ltd has been set up to try and maximise funding for a series of programmes aimed at enriching lives and encouraging more local people to form an attachment with Moss Lane.
Alty’s recently-appointed community officer Chris Bullock would welcome any ideas or suggestions on 0161 928 1045, but a number of initiatives are already taking shape, following a move that is being seen as another positive step towards forging even closer links with the town and surrounding areas.
Peter Foster, a director of the new company along with Neil Faulkner, Karen Rowley, Carole Nash and Fred Nash, explained how people of all ages and backgrounds, male and female, stand to benefit.
"One of the reasons for forming the new company was that it should give us a better chance of getting the grants we need to fund the programmes we want to run," he said. "There seems to be a growing reluctance to give grants for community activities if the money is going into a football club’s bank account.
"The preference is for clubs to do what we have done, so there can be no blurring of any lines and everyone knows that any grant will be used 100 per cent for its intended purpose.
‘The bulk of the money comes from the Premier League and the Professional Footballers Association,, who pass funds on to the Conference for distribution among the clubs, and we are applying for £15,000-worth of grants for the next year, because we’ve got lots of projects already underway and more we want to introduce.
"The launch of a ladies team was funded this way, and it has been such a success, we are looking to expand it. We aim to arrange more fun weeks for the school holidays, and while it is important to connect with kids and try and ensure they become Altrincham supporters, we haven’t forgotten those at the other end of the age scale.
"Exercise for the more mature adult is another idea we are looking at. It would be aimed at 60+ and would be along the lines of walking football. Plenty of people in their 60s probably shouldn’t be running around too much, for health and fitness reasons, but might still like the idea of kicking a ball around. This could be the perfect solution, and we may give it a try at Walton Park in Sale and see how it takes off.
"Another possibility is sessions for at-risk children and youths in the summer holidays. A couple of hours of football, or some other activity, that will hopefully capture their imagination and keep them occupied.
"It is early days for us, but what we have is a desire to reach out to people in the community and, in Chris Bullock, someone who is extremely enthusiastic and absolutely fantastic with kids. It has to be a two-way street, of course, and it will be. The benefits to the club are unmistakeable.
"The girls from the ladies team have been brilliant at selling tickets and getting involved in the fabric of the club, and our junior section runs 37 teams as well as a Saturday morning club.
"You can see the effect of that from the crowds we are getting at matches. Six or seven years ago, the age mix was quite unhealthy. It was orientated towards 50+. Now you look round, and there are teenagers and under-12s everywhere. Catch them young and make them feel they belong, and they will be supporters for life.
"Funds are needed to sustain what we are doing, though. Equipment, booking fees and qualified coaches all need to be paid for, and that is why help is always appreciated. We are applying for as much grant money as possible but are always happy to hear from anyone with any ideas or suggestions."
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