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Entain and Trident Leagues announce community foundation grant offers to 27 football clubs

9 March 2021

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Entain’s “Pitching In” program and the three Trident Leagues (The Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues) today announced that it was making its first grant offers to 27 football clubs in England and Wales from the newly created Trident Community Foundation.

The Trident Community Foundation, launched in December as part of Pitching In’s landmark grassroots sport investment program, met for the first time in February to consider applications from Trident League Clubs. A wide range of vital projects to help Trident League clubs resume and revive their roles within their communities have formed the basis of successful applications.

In total 27 clubs have been offered grants of up to £4,000 from the opening set of allocations, with a focus on re-engaging the clubs with communities who have been denied the chance to play or watch live football for most of the past year. This is the first wave of grants to be approved by the Trident Community Foundation and there will be further grants made available from this season’s earmarked £150,000 fund donated by Ladbrokes’ owner, Entain, via its own Entain Foundation.

The Trident Community Foundation includes representatives of the Northern Premier League, The Southern League and The Isthmian League, two representatives from Entain (Ladbrokes) representatives and the Non-League Paper editor-in-chief David Emery, as Chairman.

The Pitching In Southern League is home to 16 of the successful clubs at this stage.

The Southern League vice-chairman Anthony Hughes was delighted with the response from member clubs:

“It has been phenomenal. We ended up receiving 37 applications and we were overwhelmed by the response. The difficult part was allocating the funds as all the projects were worthy.

“We have tried to reward a variety of applications that are creative and innovative, covering as many different facets of the community as possible. It has been such a difficult time over the last year and everyone is looking forward to being able to get people back together.

“This gives us the first impetus to start looking ahead to when things open up again.

“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.”

Creating or expanding opportunities for women, children and disabled footballers provide the basis of several approved bids, while Poole Town and Workington are set to focus on social provision and increasing safe participation in sport for people living in deprived areas.

Not all the proposals are football-based, with Merthyr Town and Merstham among those who hope to use the funds to advance mental health initiatives and Newcastle Town, one of six Pitching In Northern Premier League clubs to be offered a grant, aiming to expand a food bank scheme.

Pitching In Northern Premier League chairman Mark Harris, said today “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.

“The Trident Community Foundation is a great way to help clubs do that as we try to start returning to some degree of normality.

“We have to collectively remind our local communities of the important role non-league football plays, and what better way to do that than through community-facing activities.”

Pitching In Isthmian League chairman Nick Robinson believes the grants will provide a timely morale-boost in the wake of a second consecutive league season being curtailed.

“This is the time to be giving good news,” he said. “It is the honey to go with the bitter pill.

“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.

“The principles behind the various projects are brilliant and it’s vital to engage youngsters, in particular, to get the names of the clubs and leagues into their psyche.”

Pitching In ambassador Stuart Pearce knows all about the value of the non-league community from his early days at Wealdstone and hopes this will be the springboard for a vast array of projects to take off. The former England skipper, 58, said:

“These clubs will have a vital role to play in the health and wellbeing of society when restrictions ease.

“Initiatives like this will show the true meaning of Pitching In and strengthen existing bonds within communities across the country.

“I would like to congratulate those who have been successful – and this is just the start. I look forward to seeing these initiatives come to life and more ideas come in.”

Pitching In spokesperson, Ladbrokes PR Director, Simon Clare added: “When we launched our Pitching In sponsorship of the Trident Leagues, our ambition was for Entain and our Ladbrokes brand to make a real difference to grassroots and non-elite sport, and we are thrilled to be a founding partner of the Trident Community Fund.

“This is only the start, and yet already we are inspired and enthused by the variety and nature of the projects that have been proposed by the Trident league clubs. 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”

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