LOCAL football clubs are benefiting from a fund established by Suffolk County Council.
Grants of between £250 and £2,500 are available to voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations and sports clubs in Suffolk via the Suffolk Community Restart Fund administered by Community Action Suffolk.
The aim of the fund is to enable VCSE organisations to restart previous activities safely and/or to support them to switch to new ways of working.
All VCSE groups are eligible to apply, provided funding requested is for equipment, adaptations or staffing (but these need to additional and not part of your core costs) to enable an existing/previous activity to resume safely or to enable a new activity/service to be developed/launched.
Among those to benefit already are Carlton Colville Town FC who received a grant of £1,000, Haughley United FC who received £500, and Eastbury Eagles FC who received £300.
Carlton Colville Town FC, with teams in Division 5 South of the Anglian Combination League as well as Divisions 1 and 2 of the Lowestoft & District League, lost two years’ worth of sponsorship due to Covid.
Club secretary Carl Baldry said the money they received will go towards washing of all match-day kits weekly at a professional establishment, cleaning of training equipment twice a week, hand sanitiser for training and matches, hand cleaning stations inside changing rooms, toilets and outside facilities, new personalised water bottles so players have one each and cleaning solutions and equipment.
He said: “Many expenses we wouldn’t have been able to afford to pay due to us losing two full years of sponsorship due to Covid, meaning the grant has made us able to make our club more Covid safe.”
Haughley United FC, whose first team play in the Senior Division of the Macron SIL, are purchasing a new gazebo thanks to the £500 grant they received.
Secretary Lee Forsdyke said: “Last season due to Covid restrictions we had a mini-bar serving customers outside, this at times was in poor weather. This cost the club financially, so if restrictions return we can now house customers in the gazebo, and we can also use it for fundraising.”
Premier Logo’s Bury & District Sunday League Division Two side Eastbury Eagles FC received a grant of £300 to put towards training equipment as well as bibs and additional kit.
Secretary Heaven Brown said: “As a Sunday league football team you don't have unlimited funds available to purchase what you need and when you need it, but this grant has enabled us to buy some of the things that we did need.
“It was a massive boost for Eastbury Eagles!”
Bethany Taylor, Community Restart Co-ordinator at Community Action Suffolk said: “We are delighted to have been able to support so many community and voluntary groups across the county, having already awarded around £90,000 to sports groups alone and would love to reach as many as possible.”
There is no deadline for applications, but would-be applicants are advised to apply as soon as possible.
To find out more about the fund and whether your club is eligible click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the successful Suffolk clubs Carlton Colville Town (purple shirts) are pictured in action above playing against Yelverton Reserves (red shirts) in a recent Anglian Combination fixture.