ALTRINCHAM’S growing emphasis on public relations has brought them a £10,000 cheque as the Blue Square Bet North’s Community Club of the Year.

Twelve months after lifting the Conference North’s Respect Trophy, for best disciplinary record, Alty have shown they are setting the right example off the pitch as well, after having their community work honoured by the Football Conference Trust.

Judges based their decision on levels of commitment to community activities and had no hesitation naming Alty as outright winners after hearing the scale of their involvement with youngsters in the area.

Chairman Grahame Rowley provided an insight into how the club are connecting with boys and girls throughout the area by saying: “In any typical week, when you take into account coaching in schools and the 40-odd junior teams playing games, there are approaching 1,000 local kids participating in football directly through Altrincham FC.

“That is some statistic, and one we are extremely proud of. Reaching out to the community, as well as striving for excellence on the pitch, is what this club is all about, and we will continue to pursue both objectives as best we can.”

As well as a thriving junior set-up, boasting well over 40 teams of all ages, and a ladies’ team and social section, Alty’s community programme is devoting more time and energy to developing a growing presence within local schools. Free tickets to first-team games are regularly distributed, lunchtime clubs are held in several Trafford junior schools and fun weeks and drop-in sessions are staged during holidays, as well as curriculum coaching after school.

A delighted Rowley added: “Everyone at the club is absolutely thrilled to receive this award. We see it as a tribute to the many volunteers – well over 100 – who ensure the boys’, girls’ and ladies’ teams can continue, and also to the high standard of coaching delivered by community officer Chris Bullock and the coaching team.

“The club decided a few years ago that it had to become more integrated into the community, and it is gratifying that our efforts have been recognised externally. The award is also further encouragement for our efforts to provide a focal point for the local community via the Community Sports Hall, for which a planning submission has recently been made.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the club's community activities should email, or call the club on 0161 928 1045.