Entain has made public the first set of clubs that will receive funding from the operator to help their COVID-19 recovery.
The funding will form part of the company’s ‘Pitching In’ initiative, designed to help amateur sports clubs in the UK.
The scheme is in collaboration with the Isthmian, Northern and Southern Premier Leagues, through the Trident Community Fund (TCF).
Multiple clubs to receive funding
Entain has announced that 27 amateur clubs throughout England and Wales will receive grants as part of the initiative. The maximum amount for each of these is £4,000.
The money is intended to help these sides “re-engage with their communities”, who have been unable to play football for most of the past 12 months.
16 of the 27 clubs are based in the Southern League. The division’s Vice Chairman Anthony Hughes said: “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.”
Teams in the Northern Premier League secured grants: Newcastle Town, Lincoln United, Scarborough FC, Workington, Marine FC and Pontefract Collieries.
Northern Premier League Chairman Mark Harris said: “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.”
Isthmian League also gets support
Clubs in the Isthmian League to receive funding were Canvey Island, Hastings United, Whitstable Town, Merstham FC and Carshalton Athletic.
Chair Nick Robinson 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.”