The New Saints FC Foundation – the charity linked to Oswestry’s football club – is celebrating a decade of inspiring individuals and communities across the area with a host of activities.
Formed in 2013, the foundation has developed its community work to build an impressive series of activities for all ages and abilities.
Last year it provided 4,280 holiday activity places across Oswestry, Whittington, St Martins, Gobowen, Weston Rhyn and Ellesmere; worked with over 1,500 children in its youth clubs; provided 4,000 free meals to those that needed them most; and oversaw over 230 fun football skills sessions.
The foundation also works with schools to provide multi-sports after-school clubs, alternative support for disengaged pupils, PE training for teachers and curriculum based PE lessons.
Gill Jones of The New Saints FC Foundation said it aimed to inspire, engage and strengthen local communities through fun and supportive activities.
“Young people at our sessions don’t have to be sports fanatics but all our activities do have the common theme of activity and healthy eating to promote social inclusion and equality.” she said.
The foundation team works with young people through youth clubs across north west Shropshire helping them connect with each other by through healthy activities in their communities.
Fun sessions for children aged from 10-16 years take place on Monday evening at The Pavilion in Gobowen. The Weston Rhyn youth club is also held on Mondays at St John’s Church. The Ellesmere youth club meets on Wednesdays at Ellesmere Town Hall while Whittington youth club is held at the village’s senior citizens building on Thursday evenings.
The foundation helps to support the Oswestry Youth Club with Shropshire Youth Association. This is held on Wednesdays at The Centre in Oak Street with junior and senior sessions.
It also provides All In sessions for children aged between four and sixteen who are registered with Shropshire Council as needing additional support.
Weekly sessions take place from 4.15pm to 6.15pm every Thursday during term time at the Park Hall Venue offering activities led by multi-sports coaches and support workers.
“These are programmes for children who find it difficult to take part in many activities, but still want to enjoy sports, clubs and activities with other children. The sessions are really packed with fun and games geared to different abilities depending on the needs of each individual,” said Gill.
During the school holidays, the foundation joins forces with partners to run free multi-activity events for children of all abilities which include a free lunchtime meal. Last year over 4,280 places were booked.
At the other end of the age scale, the foundation is making sure that all adults have access to activities that can help keep them physically and mentally healthy. Its Walking Football sessions are held every Thursday evening during term time from 8pm to 9pm at the Park Hall Venue for people of all ages and abilities to come together in a non-pressured environment.
The foundation’s work also takes in promotion of women’s and girls’ football. Its head of women and girls football oversees training, coaching and an outreach programme. The TNS women’s first team has already risen to play in the Women’s Welsh Premier League and its success has shone a light on the pathway for girls to play at the highest levels.
The foundation also organises fun football sessions for children and young people of all abilities, accredited by the FAW and sponsored by McDonalds.
“The focus of these sessions is very much on supporting children to be fit and healthy and making sure they always get to be part of the team,” said Gill Jones.
The foundation also helps with seasonal celebrations. Last year it held a Christmas dinner for seniors at the Park Hall Venue and in its summer celebrations include the popular TNS in the Park event to coincide with Oswestry Food Festival in July.