Members of a successful Northumberland disabled football team are looking good both on and off the pitch after winning funding for new branded training kit through the local branch of Newcastle Building Society.
Cramlington United FC runs three teams for people with disabilities, with each one competing against opponents from around the region.
Around 25 regular players with disabilities including epilepsy, autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy and learning difficulties make up the teams which play in the five and seven-a-side matches.
Players are banded depending on the type and severity of their disability, and all three of the teams won their sections of the Newcastle Development League last season.
The club had been looking to enhance the training kit available to its disability teams to ensure their players felt a part of the wider club set-up and were easily identifiable on match days.
After being nominated by Amy Foggett, a customer at Newcastle Building Society’s Craster Court branch in Cramlington and the driving force behind the success of the three disability teams, a £974 grant has been given by the Society to enable her to buy branded training tops and rain jackets for all the players.
The funding has been provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which has been set up to provide grants to charities and community groups that are located in or around the communities served by the Society’s branch network, and put forward for support by its customers.
Founded five years ago, Cramlington United’s disability teams draw their players, who are aged between 13 and 57, from right across Northumberland.
The costs of running the teams are met from general club funds to ensure as many people as possible are able to participate, and the club is now looking at its options for forming its first ever 11-a-side disability team.
Amy Foggett says: “We laid the training tops and rain jackets out as a surprise in the changing rooms and told the players to go and see what they could find – the reaction we got from all of them was fantastic and there was so much excitement when everyone realised they were theirs to keep.
“A lot of our disabled players aren’t able to work, which means that they don’t have a lot of spare money – they often can’t afford to buy a decent coat, let alone their own training kit, so having these tops will make a real difference.
“Finances at community clubs like ours are also always challenging and there’s no way we could have afforded to buy this new kit without the Society’s generous support.”
Since its launch in 2016, the Fund has contributed £142,000 in grants to projects across the Society’s North East and Cumbria heartland, and is so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 77,000 people.
The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. Grant applications for a maximum of £3,000 can be made in any Society branch or via the newcastle.co.uk website by customers who wish to support their local communities.
Kelly Beattie, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Cramlington branch, adds: “A huge amount of time and effort goes into running Cramlington United’s disability teams, and the enthusiasm of the players is matched by the success they’ve been enjoying on the pitch.
“Supporting our local communities is central to the Society’s values, and we’re proud to be getting behind such a fantastic community sports club.”