Express & Star

Much-loved football club in running for national award

A much-loved football club which prides itself in inclusivity and helping those in need has been shortlisted for a national award.

Chair Keith Hardy, Daisy Babb, Spencer Thomas, both age 11 and vice chair Jo Thomas.

Wyrley Juniors Football Club, in Cheslyn Hay, is in the running to be named Community Club of the Year alongside two others.

It comes after youngsters and volunteers at the Long Lane site came together through poppy fundraisers and donations of hot meals to lonely people.

Keith Hardy, chairman of the club, said: "There's over 100 volunteers at the club and I'm really proud of them and our young people as well – they way they've thrown themselves not only into football but into helping others off-field as well.

"We very much emphasise here that 'football is for all' so we recognise anybody, of any ability, should be able to play. And for us, it's not just about winning it's really about the taking part."

Mr Hardy said the club had been nominated for its work in the Sport and Recreation Alliance's Community Sport and Recreation Awards this year, with the winner being announced at a ceremony in Twickenham on March 17.

Wyrley Juniors has organised a poppy initiative in which more than £2,000 was raised for the Poppy Appeal, whilst more than 100 or so fish and chip meals were delivered to elderly and lonely people on New Year's Eve.

"People could nominate others to receive the meal and our young people, our players, delivered them with the help of their parents," he said. "It's nice to see the smiles on their faces for what is very little cost to us, in reality, and the fact the people see someone with a smile on their face too – especially if they're lonely and old – is great."

The club, which has already won two Football Association (FA) Community Club of the Year awards, have a youth committee involved with litter picks as well. Wyrley Juniors also has two autistic teams and is planning to introduce down syndrome sessions.

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