A youth football team in Hampshire was ‘bowled over’ by a grant from a local power firm to buy the players professional new kit bags.
Shipton Bellinger Rams Football Club under-12s was awarded a £250 Team Sport Award by UK Power Networks Services, a local firm which builds and maintains electricity networks for essential infrastructure.
Paul O’Leary, a manager at the firm, applied for the grant from his employer as his son Barney plays for the team.
He said: “The club was bowled over to receive the grant. The kids can put all their kit in one place and turn up at matches looking and feeling the part.
“It helps with the team’s identity and the players’ independence, to have a ‘think professional, be professional’ mentality, be organised and ready for the game.
“It’s a small village club which relies on support from parents and anyone who can help keep down the costs of running the club for the kids.”
The team train on Fridays at Wellington Academy, Ludgershall, and home matches are played at Shipton Bellinger Football Club ground in Parkhouse Road on Saturdays.
Paul said: “It’s a friendly and inclusive club where they look after the players’ welfare and mindset. It’s not all about winning every match, it’s about kicking a ball around with their friends and getting everyone involved. The kids really benefit.”
Sam Chandler, under-12s coach, from Shipton Bellinger Rams Football Club, said: "Shipton Bellinger Rams is a small village club with 120 children on the books, across six different age groups, spanning from five to 15 years old.
“This kind donation from UK Power Networks Services will go to our under-12s team and will enable the team to buy some kit bags for all of the squad. The under-12s are extremely grateful for this kind donation and are really pleased with the new kit bags."
The company’s Team Sport Award scheme encourages staff to volunteer in the community, support grassroots sport, promote healthy living, teamwork and develop sports opportunities. Hundreds of community and sports groups have benefited from grants since the scheme was set up. During 2022, 86 teams benefited from a share in £21,500.