DAVID Cooper said the Suffolk FA Benevolent Fund ‘massively helped’ him and his family after he suffered a broken leg.
The 28-year-old, who plays for Mildenhall Town, received financial support of £811 from the fund earlier this year.
Right-back David, who is married with two young children, broke his right leg in an accidental collision with goalkeeper Jake Hayhoe during a training session in February.
David, who lives in Mildenhall but works as a supervisor for Gaia Climate Solutions, an underfloor heating company in London, was off work for around two months.
He said: “I was on Statutory Sick Pay of £75 a week and running a house with two young ones was quite challenging. I had to use all my savings along with the money I got from Suffolk FA and my SSP to get through that period.
“Mildenhall held a collection at the game against Bury Town, which also helped to raise about £350.
“But the money I received from the Benevolent Fund massively helped. Without that it would have been a really difficult time for me and my family.
“My wife Emma has her own business, but I am the main breadwinner – my wage pays for most of the bills and whatever Emma earns we use for days out and save it towards holidays,” he said.
David said that he was made aware of the scheme by both his club and his father-in-law Reg Barker, who is also a Suffolk referee.
“I received help with completing the application form and was kept up-to-date with everything,” he added.
David, who suffered a clean break of his tibia, has only just started running again and is hoping to be fit for the start of the forthcoming season when Mildenhall will be competing in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division following relegation from the Bostik League North Division.
Mildenhall Town player David Cooper, who benefited from the Suffolk FA Benevolent Fund, pictured with his two young children
He received £811 from the Benevolent Fund because Mildenhall contribute £50 each season as part of their affiliation fees.
However, other injured players are potentially missing out as their clubs choose not to contribute to the fund or only pay a nominal amount.
The greater a club’s contribution, the more financial assistance a player is potentially entitled to via the scheme, in addition to a claim via the club’s insurance.
For example, if a club donates £1 to the scheme a married person with one dependent will potentially receive £361 for the first five weeks they are off work.
However, if a club donates £10 the player will potentially receive £381, for a £25 contribution the figure rises potentially to £450 and if £50 is paid in annually it goes up to potentially £540.
If an initial claim is approved, an applicant will be entitled to submit another claim if they subsequently provide further medical evidence of financial hardship.
The Suffolk FA Benevolent Fund is also open to applications from referees who have suffered financial loss due to an injury obtained during affiliated football, or the parent of a Youth player who has been financially disadvantaged due to an injury their child has suffered through affiliated football.
And if an applicant does receive financial support from the Suffolk FA Benevolent Fund, he or she can then lodge a claim for further help via The FA. David is currently waiting to see whether he will receive additional financial assistance.
If clubs have already affiliated for the 2019-20 season their application can be amended to include or increase their contribution to the Benevolent Fund.
This can be done by contacting the Football Services Department at Suffolk FA on 01449 616606 option 1.
Claims for help from the Benevolent Fund should be made to Suffolk FA Finance Officer Julie Cole on 01449 616606 option 8.