Young players, fans and families at one of the North East’s best-known non-league football clubs now have somewhere new to take a seat, thanks to a four-figure grant from regional employer the Banks Group.
Blyth Spartans Juniors has used a £5,000 grant from The Banks Community Fund to create a new seating area alongside the 3G pitch at its Wensleydale Park ground.
The six eight-seater recycled composite tables, which come with heavy-duty seating, are designed to provide somewhere for families to spend their time while young players are taking part in practice sessions or matches, and to give the players somewhere to sit after their games.
Volunteers from the club’s neighbours Friends of Croft group will also be creating a garden around the seating area in the coming weeks as part of the project.
Blyth Spartans Juniors currently runs a total of 32 junior teams, including a growing number of girls’ teams, and has 525 junior players on its books who are coached by around 80 qualified coaches.
It also runs football camps at the ground during school holidays, with up to 100 local children taking part in its most recent event.
Club volunteers also ran free training sessions for junior players during the recent teacher strikes to ensure local families had somewhere safe for their children to go on those days.
Keith Whisson, chairman at Blyth Spartans Juniors FC, says: “Our ground can get really busy, especially on training days and during the regular football camps that we run, and with so many junior players on our books, there are always lots of family members around.
“Banks’ generous support means we’re able to direct resources towards covering the many other costs that come with running our junior teams.”
“After we completed work on the 3G pitch last year, we had some space left over alongside it and wanted to provide somewhere that everyone could sit comfortably while they were watching their young footballers using it or after they’d finished playing.
“Providing space for 48 people means there’s plenty of room for people to sit, and the heavy-duty seating that we’ve picked out is robust enough to last for a long time.
“The feedback we’ve had so far from both parents and players has been really positive, and once work on the garden has been finished, the area will look even better.
“Banks’ generous support has let us complete work on a project that would otherwise have taken far longer to finish and means we’re able to direct resources towards covering the many other costs that come with running our junior teams.”
Jamilah Hassan, community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “Blyth Spartans sits right at the heart of the local community and plays an important part in the lives of hundreds of local families.
“We’re very pleased to be supporting yet another grass roots organisation in an area that we know very well and can’t wait to see the garden in full bloom in the summer.”
Anyone from a community group close to a Banks Group project who is interested in applying for funding from the Banks Community Fund should first contact the fund manager via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0191 378 6342 before applying for a grant to check if their group or project is eligible.