'It's really brought the best out of our town' - Winners of Club Together campaign announced
PUBLISHED: 19:30 16 December 2018
Three youth football teams have been crowned the winners of our 'Club Together' campaign - taking home a share of £10,000 to spend on vital sporting equipment for budding stars.
Throughout the Summer and Autumn, teams were encouraged to sign up to the giveaway – which involved collecting tokens printed in the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.
The top three clubs with the most tokens, calculated on a pro rata basis based on the number of members, won prizes of £1,500, £1,000 and £500.
Leiston FC, Achilles Under 9s and Bures United FC took first, second and third place respectively – securing hundreds of pounds to spend at Ipswich-based kit supplier Total Football.
A spokesperson for winners Leiston FC said the campaign has “really brought the best out of our town”.
“The whole town has got behind the club with tokens being collected by supporters, town councillors, companies, the library and just people in the street,” they said.
David Grimwood, from Achilles Under 9s based in Ipswich, said lots of people in the Achilles FC first team clubbed together to support the youngsters.
“They have worked so hard to get the tokens,” he said. “It’s fantastic.”
Speaking on behalf of Bures United FC, Jon Hearnden said the club’s £500 prize would be a huge boost – adding that he wished to thank the community for their “fantastic” support throughout the campaign.
“We have a very small village club so having funds to enable us to provide the boys with the latest kit and the right equipment to develop as a young bunch of players is a fantastic thing for us,” he said.
“It is a costly business, so having £500 that we can use to buy new kit and equipment – it means we have £500 that we can spend elsewhere.”
Mr Hearnden stressed the club was shown a huge amount of support from the Bures community, who collected a total of 1,551 tokens.
“People dropped tokens into the pubs and subsequently into our houses,” he said. The local newsagent also agreed to slip notes through people’s doors along with their daily newspaper, flagging up the campaign and asking for their support.
“These sorts of things when we can make the club a better place are important,” Mr Hearnden added.
“I have got two boys that are now playing. For me it is important for them to get on at school but it is a life lesson to get into sport.”
When asked how the club planned to spend the money, Mr Hearnden said: “We haven’t actually decided as a community yet. We will make sure that the fund is split between our youth teams – it won’t go to just one team.
“Because we are a small village club we have got gaps in age groups. Over the coming years we want to make sure we have something running for under 16s all the way down to under 6s.”
Richard Neal, Suffolk FA chief executive, said the campaign would “benefit boys’ and girls’ youth teams in the county”.
A spokesman for Archant, publisher of the EADT and the Ipswich Star, said: “Thank you to all the clubs that have taken part and Total Football, Suffolk FA and Ipswich Fit for their support.”