Express & Star

Broadcaster Jacqui Oatley's delight after helping football club with sponsorship

The future is brighter for a junior football team after they received much-needed sponsorship help from a broadcaster moved by their plight.

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Kevin Rogers said he was delighted to help with sponsorship as Paycare was all about helping the community

Bilbrook Juniors Under 14 North were left facing an uncertain future and the possibility of folding over mounting costs and had put out a desperate plea for help with sponsorship.

The plight of the club, which is based in Pendeford, and the possibility of a group of youngsters losing their club reached broadcaster and football commentator Jacqui Oatley.

She was brought up in nearby Codsall and after reading the story in the Express & Star decide to help.

She said: "I saw the story and my instinct was to think about what a shame it was and how it couldn't be and shouldn't be happening and how there must be businesses locally wanting to help young people who want to play sport.

"It was horrible to see the sad faces on the little kids on those photos, who just wanted to play football and were going to lose their team because of money.

"I was secretary for a team when I was playing in London and I know how difficult it is to run a team, so I wanted to help as I'm a Codsall girl and racked my brain for some inspiration."

Jacqui said she had worked with a number of businesses in Wolverhampton who sponsored Wolves and remembered meeting Kevin Rogers, CEO of Paycare, so decided to speak to him about it.

Jacqui Oatley

She said: "I remembered this nice chap I'd met previously at the Wolves end of season dinner I was hosting called Kevin, so decided to contact him as I know what a good egg he is and if he can help, he will help.

"I got in touch with him and he was extremely positive straight away and he's done his bit and also had other people offer help as well."

Kevin, who is also chair of the Wolves Foundation, said that when Jacqui had contacted him and told him about Bilbrook Juniors, it really tugged at his heartstrings and made him want to help.

He said: "At Paycare, we like to support our community and we support a number of other sports teams and grassroots football teams, so we're in the fortunate position where we can offer our support.

"We've agreed to support them through providing some warm up gear and some training gear for £477 and we've been joined by a number of other organisations and Wolverhampton Council in helping the club.

"We're from the community and it's really important as a health and wellbeing company to be able to look after the health and wellbeing of young people and when you've got someone like Jacqui stepping in, it makes a difference."

For Jacqui, the help being given to Bilbrook Juniors was wonderful to see and said it was important that children were able to go out and play.

She said: "I think the idea of a football club like that in the community is important for the community and for the children involved and the idea that it could just fall by the wayside because they don't have enough money to pay for kit and travel is just horrible.

"I've got two young children myself, aged eight and 11, and they do all these sports and it does come to an absolute fortune, but my son loves playing football and video games and the idea of cutting out the football because there aren't enough funds is wrong.

"It's important that we have clubs that people can go and watch and kids can go and play and that's just an essential bare minimum and shouldn't be just a luxury thing.

"I would much rather read a story that says a club is in dire straits and needs help than a story that says a club has had to die and has folded as that would absolutely heartbreaking and at least we can do something to help in the meantime."