Saints (Brackley) Community Trust
For some years now Brackley Town Football Club has received charitable funds from the National League Trust to use for community projects. The NL Trust has expressed a hope that member clubs would all in due course establish their own charities for work within the community. With the invaluable help of the South Northants Volunteer Bureau, whose services fortunately come free and to whom the trustees are immensely grateful, this has now been done.
Saints (Brackley) Community Project is now registered with the Charity Commission. The initial trustees are Caryl Billingham, Jan Lay, Ian Leask, Rosie Moffat and Stephen Toghill; all have connections with the football club but are very aware that their principal role as trustees of the new charity is to the charity itself.
The trustees will be working closely with Kim Grantham and Andy Thompson who both run projects that will benefit from the funds the charity can attract, and the charity will be helped by Janene Butters, Chief Executive of Brackley Town Football Club.
Kim explains a little about the history and the future of the Saints Community Project:
“The Saints Community Project first opened its doors in September 2015 under the guise of a coffee morning, meeting weekly on Wednesdays at Brackley Town Football Club.
Since its early days it's grown into so much more and provides a community within a community for those in Brackley and the surrounding villages who may feel isolated or lonely in their daily lives. It is used as a group to empower us and remind us that life is for living. It's a very supportive and inclusive community that has a heavy focus on fun and laughter.
With regular event days, pantomimes, bingo sessions, trips out, informative talks, fundraising for charities, helping and supporting local organisations and lunch clubs, this wasn't just a morning a week but a focus for the week and something for everyone.
It has grown into our community within the community, welcoming new members to an ever-growing group. Prior to Covid our numbers would regularly see over 100 members attend with more on the event days. Even though a devastating fire destroyed the club house in July 2019 we all stuck together and met every week in alternative venues.
The pandemic has impacted all our lives and it certainly was a very uncertain time for all our members. But together we pulled through and did many joint activities to keep us all connected. stronger and more determined than ever to enjoy life. “
Andy’s focus is of course on football for the younger generation and here he outlines the exciting work that has been undertaken in the recent past, in particular to encourage girls into football:
“Brackley Town FC have been working with local primary schools, among other projects, to bring football to girls. We have been running our satellite girls’ clubs for a little over a year locally. We first started the clubs in Newbottle and Charlton primary school and this was well attended. In the last school year, even though this was disrupted by Covid, we started an additional club at Southfield School. This happens still on a Monday after school and is aimed at girls in years 1-4. Girls who first started in this group are now attending the mixed group on a Friday evening.
This school year has seen interest grow again. We are running clubs in Bicester at Bure Park Primary school and have 23 girls signed up weekly for this. A new club also started at Helmdon Primary School last week.
The Girls Satellite clubs have now started to feed into our Wildcats sessions which run on a Tuesday evening at Brackley Town FC 4.30 -5.30pm. The Wildcats sessions are well attended weekly. This club has grown from initially two girls to now 15 girls attending on a regular basis.
The aim of the Satellite Clubs was to give local girls the opportunity to experience and enjoy football with the opportunity to join a progressive Girls football club with a pathway into adult football.”