Ramsgate Chairman James Lawson hailed a program of summer activities following its “incredible impact” on some of the region’s most disadvantaged children.
Hundreds of young people from all over Thanet flocked to Southwood Stadium, with its newly installed 3G surface, throughout the summer break to enjoy six hours of coaching a day, as well as a hot lunchtime meal. .
The club provided the service to eligible children for free school meals, inspired by England star Marcus Rashford’s campaign on the issue, and Lawson is delighted to have seen the club become more integrated into the community in recent weeks.
“When the lockdown came out, there was a huge issue with the kids who hadn’t been active,” Lawson said.
“There are also concerns about what they eat during the holidays, so we figured we were going to organize activity days, including food, for any child with free school meals.
“We put them on four days a week and had over 100 kids every day. The impact on the children has been incredible.
“We’ve had around 200 kids there throughout the summer on different courses and a system for kids with 1,000 kids, so the 3G surface has been brilliant in that regard.
“We were able to open it up to the whole youth section and the wider community and it really helped with retention.
“These kids who come to our activity days are absolutely amazed by the stadium, they love it. And that means they’re being kept – if we had been in a park, the numbers might have gone down. ”
The Rams’ ability to make a difference was enhanced by a grant from the Trident Community Foundation, established by Pitching In – a multi-million pound grassroots sports investment program put together by Ladbrokes with support from its Entain owner.
TCF grants ranging from £ 1,000 to £ 5,000 have so far been awarded to more than 30 clubs in the Pitching In Isthmian, Southern and Northern leagues and Ramsgate have put theirs to good use.
“The funding was used to bring a team of our coaches to schools before the summer vacation,” Lawson said.
“It allowed us to build trust with schools, parents and children and helped us organize additional physical education sessions after the pandemic, all of which helped keep children active during the summer holidays. .
“Ultimately, the grant allowed us to feed and provide activities for over 100 of the area’s most disadvantaged children. ”
The 3G surface was a game-changer for the Isthmian League’s South East Division team on and off the pitch, with the club already seeing a return on their £ 750,000 investment.
“A grass field is almost a sacred area, while 3G can be used by anyone,” he said.
“We have also seen a real improvement in the quality of the players we can recruit. We brought in Jordan Chiedozie, probably our biggest rookie of all time, and we have several players from professional academies.
“It’s amazing what a 3G surface can offer a club.
Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million pound investment program, Pitching In, designed to support and promote mass sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/