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AkzoNobel puts football at the heart of the community with new sponsorship deal

Head of Manufacturing Unit, Jeff Hope and Site Support Coordinator, Jill Johnston from AkzoNobel Ashington with the Dulux dog and players from Ashington Football Club’s junior and senior teams.

A new sponsorship deal with one of the world’s leading paint manufacturers is set to put a local football club in South East Northumberland back at the heart of the community.

AkzoNobel Ashington has agreed a deal with Ashington Football Club to sponsor the Northern League club’s shirts and home ground for the 2019/2020 season, as well as support the club to become more sustainable through investment in training for its coaches and encouraging other local businesses to get involved through skills sharing.

AkzoNobel, which opened its state-of-the-art manufacturing unit in Ashington in 2017, has been a long-time supporter of the football club. Through this new arrangement, the company hopes to help reestablish the club as a central hub of the community.

“Our mission is to create a manufacturing facility that not only provides a unique and inspiring place for people to work, but that also fosters a culture of community. Whenever you buy a tin of Dulux, you are buying more than just a tin of paint, you are supporting local sports teams, local schools and local charities and investing back into your community,” said Jill Johnston, site support coordinator at AkzoNobel Ashington.

“Ashington Football Club shares our culture and has always played a vital role in the town, but like many smaller clubs, it has faced its share of hardship in recent years. With the club having recently merged with the junior division to create a clear pathway from grassroots football to the senior team for aspiring young players, it is our vision to help return the club to its former glory by using some of our apprenticeship levy to upskill the team’s coaches and rally the people of Ashington together to help protect the club’s fantastic heritage and culture.”

To celebrate the new arrangement, AkzoNobel organised a community event at the football club to coincide with the senior team’s home game against Ryhope Colliery Welfare FC on 28 September which they won 3-2.

Attended by local junior sports teams, pupils from Ashington’s primary and secondary schools as well as AkzoNobel staff, friends and family and members of the local business community, the event featured pre and post-match games and sports challenges. The Dulux dog was also on hand for photo opportunities and played a starring role as the team mascot.

“It was a special day for us at the club as we celebrated our partnership with AkzoNobel,” said Brian Shotton, chairman at Ashington Football Club.

“Ashington Football club has existed for over 136 years, but we are now entering an exciting new chapter in our history that will set the foundations for future generations.

“Our stadium has a lot more to offer outside of match days, but we need the support of the local community. This doesn’t just involve fans through the turnstiles and support from local businesses like AkzoNobel to reach our goals, but also by our community offering their skills from coaching to maintenance work.

“We have a proud footballing heritage and an ambition to be the best we can be, but as the club is ran by volunteers, we cannot do it alone.”

“We had a fantastic day at Ashington Football Club,” Jeff Hope, head of manufacturing unit at AkzoNobel Ashington, added.

“For us, our involvement with the wider community in and around Ashington goes full circle. AkzoNobel products that are manufactured in Ashington are then stocked by retailers and sold in Ashington for members of the community to buy. As a site, we then give that money back to the community through our charitable and community initiatives. Our partnership with the football club is a great example of this and we hope that by raising the club’s profile and encouraging other businesses to get involved, we might secure its future for generations to come.”

AkzoNobel is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of decorative paints and specialist coatings with brands including Dulux, Dulux Trade, Cuprinol and Hammerite.