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‘Woodpeckers’ fly thanks to new dugout

A Medway football team has a new pop-up dugout thanks to a £250 sport award from Britain’s largest electricity distributor, UK Power Networks.

From Press releases - 2 January 2019 12:00 AM

dugout for woodpeckers.jpg

Woodpeckers Football Club under-sevens was nominated for the cash by coach and parent, Matthew Hogg, whose son Eddie, age six, plays in the team.

Matthew, a manager in UK Power Networks’ procurement team, realised the players needed somewhere warm and dry to shelter while they wait to play.

He said: “Our pitches are really exposed to the elements. The boys are only six and seven so they can really struggle with the cold and rain when they are not playing. As a five-aside football team with nine players we can only play half the outfield team at a time. I decided to apply for the award after a particularly cold match.

“Our new pop up shelter is superb. It keeps the rain off the subs and means they can stick together for warmth. As their manager, trying to keep them all warm and dry was impossible before the dugout. Now it keeps morale up and maintains their interest when they are substituted.”

Matthew has coached the under-sevens since July, the youngest age group playing competitively in the Medway Messenger Youth League. He said: “I was always interested in football but not involved in the organisational side of the sport before now. Initially I volunteered because my son was involved and now I really enjoy it. It’s rewarding seeing the kids with smiles on their faces. They are a great bunch of kids, it gets me up on a Saturday morning and out doing something in the fresh air. It’s nice to see them develop and learn as a team and as individuals.”

Woodpeckers Football Club under-sevens meet at Temple Mill Primary School in Rochester for training on Saturday and matches Sunday.

The Team Sport Award scheme encourages staff to volunteer in the community and is aimed at promoting 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 £18,000 was donated to sporting groups connected to UK Power Networks staff.