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It’s time, then, for our weekly write-up of football-related charities and charity events that are deserving of your time and money. This week, we feature a charity match, a new project from Kick It Out and an initiative to help non-league football clubs fill their matchday programmes. As ever, we would ask you to remember that if you would like your charity or good cause mentioned on this page, drop us a line via the Contact page at the top of this page and we will get straight back to you.
Northern Leagues United: We all know that there are plenty of people out there that can write about football, but can these people play it as well as they describe it? This is a question that may or may not be answered on Saturday, with a charity match to be played at Birtley Town FC tomorrow afternoon between a team of football writers that will feature Simon Bird from The Mirror, Mark Douglas (The Journal and Sunday Sun), Joe Daunt (Metro Radio), Simon Pryde (BBC Radio Newcastle), Richard Mason and Scott Wilson (Northern Echo), Iain Macintosh (The New Paper and Sports Illustrated), Mike Grady (Morning Star), Grant Russell (STV), Ian Cusack (When Saturday Comes), Stuart Fuller (The Ball is Round), Jeff Livingstone and David Hartrick (In Bed With Maradona) and a team made up of the supporters of clubs in the Northern League.
The day has been organised in aid of Onagawa Supporters, which was set up by Mike Innes earlier this year. Onagawa is a small town in Japan that was devastated by the tsunami that hit the country earlier this year, and its football club, Cobaltore Onagawa, has been at the heart of raising funds to recover from a tragedy that affected everybody in the community. The day at Birtley starts at 11.30 tomorrow morning with a youth team match, followed by an opportunity to see whether the writers are better players than the fans. The match also marks the official opening of a new volunteer-built clubhouse at the ground, so there will be plenty of food and drink available, as well as a raffle with some outstanding prizes. Further information about Northern Leagues United is available here.
Kick It Out’s Mentoring & Leadership Project: All football supporters in Britain will be aware of the good work that has been carried out by the anti-racism campaign group, Kick It Out. Their advertisements, after all, adorn many football grounds in the Premier League and the Football League. Still, though, Kick It Out is continuing its good work in carious communities the length and breadth of the country, and one of the key projects that it is undertaking at the moment is its Mentoring & Leadership Project. Led by the former England international Earl Barrett, this project is aimed at finding football’s future administrators, coaches and referees from within local grassroots clubs and community organisations, and addressing the wider under representation of diverse communities across the football industry. The diversity of the game, we can all agree, will be greatly benefitted by such projects.
This project was due to start in June, but a postponement to this month means that it is not too late for you to express an interest should you wish to. There are free places available at sessions in Bristol, Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle, and this project is being run in conjunction with the Equality and Human Rights Commission. So, if you have sat back and wondered whether you could do better as a coach, administrator or even referee, here is a chance to get some further information. There are further details on how you can get involved with Kick It Out’s Mentoring & Leadership Project here.
FC United Of Manchester’s Energyshare: Regular readers of this site will already be aware of the ongoing saga of FC United of Manchester and their hopes of finding a hope of their own. Groundsharing at Bury is having a crippling effect on the club’s ability to grow and reach its full potential, and it looked as if there was no light at the end of tunnel after the collapse of their proposed move to a site on Ten Acres Lane last year. The club has, however, identified a new site in the Moston area of the city and are fighting hard to try and secure this site for the club and part of their proposals for the site is an idea in keeping with their well-established tradition – perhaps most recognisable from their community share scheme and their principle of selling season tickets on the basis of what their supporters feel that they are worth – of innovative fundraising.
As part of the Moston proposals, the club wants to develop a district heating system that will benefit not only our stadium but other organisations in the area as well. The Energyshare scheme involves the club setting up of an energy supply company to work with neighbouring organisations to ensure they can be partners in the scheme and enjoy cheaper electricity bills, while having input into how it works. Energyshare re-uses the heat produced in electricity production to heat buildings near the ground. The system would be very energy efficient, potentially offering energy savings of up to thirty per cent and giving both the club and its neighbours cheaper energy prices. Energyshare is the organisation that will be co-ordinating these schemes, and they are currently looking for renewable energy projects across Britain for the trial round of funding. FC United of Manchester have already registered to be considered for a share of this, and this is where you come in. They need votes to get through to the next round of the process, and you can help them out by supporting their bid. You can do this by clicking here, and you can find out more about Energyshare here.
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Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.