Since receiving their Grow the Game grant in 2015, AFC Melksham Disabled Football Club has been able to develop an adult’s team to partner their already established Under-16 side.
The Grow the Game grant not only kept the Under-16 team in existence, it created a new adult team which created a players pathway between the junior and senior squads. “The money from Grow the Game allowed us to set up an adult’s team, without which would have left our Under-16 team in danger of folding”, said club chairman Mike Rogers.
Not so long ago, the Standard Chartered club was only participating in friendly matches. However, after receiving their funding both teams are now affiliated to the Wiltshire FA and are participating in competitive leagues. Both age groups were successful last season, in which they won the Wiltshire and Dorset Disability League at Under-16 and adult level.
The club relies solely on external funding to reduce the costs that parents have to pay for their children to pay, with all coaches working on a voluntary basis. AFC Melksham Disabled FC prides itself on a community feel, with parents, carers and families all involved when the team participates in up to five annual tournaments.
Additionally, the club has used its funding to employ a welfare officer, pay for league affiliation fees, and provide their coaches with level one and two courses. Mike Rogers concluded: "The club has grown fantastically and we have seen our players develop confidence, friendships and experiences which have seen many of them find work experience, which wouldn’t have been possible without funding from Grow the Game."