Global betting and gaming group Entain announced its first grant offers to 27 football clubs in England and Wales under the “Pitching In” program and in partnership with the Trident Leagues.
Pitching In Program Delivers
Entain and the 3 Trident Leagues, the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues, set up the Trident Community Foundation (TCF) in December last year to support the development of grassroots football in the UK as part of its “Pitching In” sports investment program.
Looking to help clubs revive and resume their role within the communities, the TCF members which had their first meeting in February, approved grants of up to £4,000 to 27 clubs. The first wave of grants is set to be followed by others after the £150,000 donation made by Entain via its own Entain Foundation.
16 out of 37 total applications of clubs from the Southern League received funding under the first wave of grants, as the league elected for several projects which will create and expand opportunities for women, children, and disabled footballers, and another two, Poole Town and Workington, focusing on people living in deprived areas.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel and getting these projects off the ground will be the start of clubs getting back in amongst their communities.”Anthony Hughes, Vice-Chairman, Southern League
Northern Premier League
Some of the grants were given to projects which are not football-based, like advance mental health initiatives with Merthyr Town and Merstham, as well as food bank scheme expansion featuring in 6 clubs from the Northern Premier League, among which Newcastle Town.
“We were very pleased with not just the amount but the quality of the applications we received. Through forces totally beyond our control, one of the tasks facing every club in non-league football is to re-establish themselves in their local community.”Mark Harris, Chairman, Northern Premier League
Isthmian League chairman Nick Robinson and the league’s representative for the Pitching In program expressed his belief the grants would give a timely boost to morale which is at an all-time low due to a second consecutive league season being curtailed.
“One of our fears is that spectators have got out of the habit being involved with local clubs, so we want to be able to breathe life into this – it’s not just football, it’s football with a real community effort.”Nick Robinson, Chairman, Isthmian League
Former England international and now ambassador of the program Stuart Pearce believes the funding initiative will become a springboard for many other projects to take off, pointing to the vital role these clubs play for the health and wellbeing of society.
“Initiatives like this will show the true meaning of Pitching In and strengthen existing bonds within communities across the country.”Stuart Pearce, Ambassador, Pitching In
Simon Clare, director of PR at Ladbrokes and spokesperson for the program added that Entain wanted “to make a real difference to grassroots and non-elite sport” by launching the program.
“We can’t wait to see these projects land in, and make a difference, to communities across England and Wales in the months ahead, at a time when they are needed most”.Simon Clare, Director, PR, Ladbrokes, Spokesperson, Pitching In