A village football club that only reformed last year after folding in 2017 is enjoying its new lease of life with the boost of new funding from a local power company.
West Row Gunners FC has received a £250 Team Sport award from UK Power Networks, the company which distributes electricity across the East of England.
Employee Jamie Butler, 32, an experienced apprentice at UK Power Networks, applied for the award for a playing squad he is a member of to receive new equipment. He also volunteers as the club’s treasurer.
He first played for the club in 2005 and was introduced to it by his father, Philip, who also featured for the team making for a long family association.
When the club folded three years’ ago, Jamie feared it might never return, but despite the additional challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, it is going strong again now and has re-established itself as a focal point for the local community. As with all grassroots football, play will be suspended during this month’s lockdown.
Jamie said: “I have been involved with West Row Gunners in some form or another for the past 15 years playing for them for almost all of that time. The club did not have enough interest three years’ ago and had to fold but with the help of a few keen individuals we got the club up and running again last year.
“Without kind donations like this the club would not be able to function and possilbly fold again which would be terrible as there is now a keen interest from West Row village people. It’s been great to bring the community together again watching football on Saturday afternoons.”
The Team Sport Award scheme encourages UK Power Networks staff to volunteer in the community and is aimed at promoting healthy living, teamwork and development of sporting opportunities.
Hundreds of community and sports groups have benefited from grants since the scheme was set up. Last year over 70 teams benefitted to a combined sum of more than £18,000.