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Power company helps football team hit its funding goal for new equipment

Youngsters at Bedfordshire football club AFC Shillington will enjoy the net rewards of a donation from UK Power Networks on the eve of the new Premier League season.

From Press releases - 10 August 2017 12:00 AM

AFC Shillington team group pic.jpg

The club can now buy new soccer equipment for its potential stars for the future, the under-10s side who, when moving up an age level, will need to use bigger goal nets.

The company, which delivers electricity to eight million customers across East Anglia, London and the South East, has given the club a much-needed £250 grant as part of its Team Sports Award programme.

It donated the money following an application from employee Adam Heley, who maintains and upgrades overhead power lines for UK Power Networks in the Bedford area.

Adam has coached the same group of players, with his own son Ashley in the ranks, since they were five years old and has been excited to see them develop their skills.

To make the transition to Under-11s the team will play on bigger pitches which means different equipment is needed and while the club has some it already it is in need of upgrading.

Adam Heley said: “The bigger goal nets we have are suffering from a bit of wear and tear and it’s a great boost for the boys to make the step up to under-11s nine-a-side football with brand new equipment.

“As well as goal nets, we can now invest in new balls and cones so there is a freshness to the equipment we will use for our training sessions and in games.

“I been coaching the team for five years now and it’s been great to see everyone grow and mature. The key at this age is they enjoy their football, but the boys are performing well and playing to a good level.

“I have previously secured a donation from UK Power Networks for a judo club I support so it’s fantastic to now be able to help the football side too, as my son Ashley is very much into both sports.”

The Team Sport Award scheme is designed to encourage staff to volunteer in, and support local communities, and promotes healthy living, teamwork and development of sporting opportunities.

Hundreds of community and sports groups have benefited from grants since the scheme was set up. Last year £13,000 was donated to sporting groups connected to UK Power Networks staff.

AFC Shillington based at Greenfields off Bury Road in Shillington has around 150 youngsters involved with its various junior sides accredited by the Football Association. The Premier League season starts tomorrow (Friday) when Arsenal host Leicester City.