AFC Fylde Community Foundation is celebrating the return of its ‘Train Like A Pro’ football development programme for young people, extending its reach to provide 240 children from the region with the exclusive opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a professional athlete, while gaining vital life skills.
‘Train Like A Pro’ will work with 12 local partners to select young people from across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to take part in the initiative, which has been designed to provide equal and inclusive access to sports and enrichment programmes to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Last summer, 60 school children participated in the programme, which coupled practical football coaching with workshops on respect, confidence, diet and nutrition, working with local football clubs Layton Juniors and AFC Blackpool.
The Foundation’s ‘Train Like A Pro’ programme has been made possible by a £16,500 grant from Cuadrilla and Centrica, which will go towards expert coaching staff, new sporting equipment and educational materials.
This year, the sessions will be held at Mill Farm Sports Village in Wesham, where the children will have exclusive access to AFC Fylde’s multi-million-pound stadium and first team training facilities.
Tom Hutton, director of community development at the AFC Fylde Community Foundation, said: “Everyone at the Foundation is delighted to be able to announce the return of the programme due to the positive impact it had on the individuals that took part last year.
“We know that the children found it both engaging and educational, with all of the participants saying how much they enjoyed their experience. Our coaches also observed improvements in confidence and playing ability, following completion of the programme.
“Without the support and donations from Cuadrilla and Centrica, the Foundation would simply not have the funds to bring back this fantastic programme and so on behalf of everyone involved, I’d like to extend my thanks to them.”
‘Train Like A Pro’ will return next month, when the first cohort of children will be put through their paces at Mill Farm Sports Village, during February Half Term.
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s CEO, commented: “We are proud to be working with even more local partners to identify young people who may not normally have the opportunity to take part in such a rewarding programme.
“We are working closely with the Foundation to deliver a fantastic package of physical training and learning opportunities for young people in the local area during the school holidays and we can’t wait to welcome the first participants next month.”
Reflecting on the success of last year’s programme, Amanda Borrino, club secretary at Layton Juniors Football Club, added: “Train Like A Pro provides a fantastic opportunity for any young footballer. Meeting players and the manager of a professional club was very exciting for our young footballers, it really did give them a simulation of the daily life of a pro footballer and something for them to aspire to,you never know where their football journey could lead.
“The programme would have not been possible without the generosity of Cuadrilla, who has also helped my club out with much needed items for the clubhouse. Equally without an innovative professional football club like AFC Fylde, who gladly open their facilities and resources to grassroots clubs like Layton juniors FC. This is truly an excellent community football club. I hope the twelve clubs involved this year thoroughly enjoy the once in a lifetime experience.”
The Foundation celebrated the return of the programme at Mill Farm stadium during half time of AFC Fylde’s National League North fixture against Altrincham on Saturday 28th January 2017.
For more information about the support available via AFC Fylde Community Foundation or to find out more about the employment opportunities available, visit www.afcfyldefoundation.co.uk, follow on Twitter @afcfct.