An Over-40s football team is match fit and ready for the upcoming season after receiving support from a local councillor.

Grindon Broadway Over-40s, which has been established in the city for 25 years, has received an £800 Community Chest grant from Cllr Debra Waller, a Labour councillor for the Sandhill ward, to fund new kits, training equipment and cover running-costs.

Community Chest grants were introduced by Sunderland City Council to provide support for ‘one off’ projects that are of benefit to the local community. Ward councillors have a grant allocation to award to community groups and organisations to deliver activities, events or to purchase equipment.

The club approached Cllr Waller to find out what support was on offer and – after tapping into a Community Chest grant – was able to invest in new home and away kits, training equipment and secure the club’s short-term future.

Speaking about the grant, Cllr Waller said: “Community organisations such as grassroots sports clubs play a key role in promoting social inclusion and we’re delighted to have been able to lend our support to Grindon Over-40s.

“The Community Chest grants were set up to support projects and organisations that provide genuine community benefit and – as a club that has been embedded in the community for so long – the Over-40s are a great example of this in action.”

An amount of £10,000 is available to each ward annually as part of the Community Chest fund and Cllr Waller has urged other community groups and clubs in need of support to get in touch if they could benefit from the support on offer.

Amber's Law Sunderland Charity

Grindon Broadway Over-40s pledge their support to Amber’s Law.

She added: “As a ward councillor, it’s my job to ensure local residents are heard and to ensure the projects and initiatives that hold our communities together continue to receive the support they need and I’d encourage any community group or organisation seeking support to get in touch.

“The health and wellness benefits such community projects and organisations deliver are huge and as we look to life post-pandemic, grants such as this will be crucial to ensuring they continue to receive the support they need as we look to the future.”

Michael Greenwell, who has managed Grindon Broadway Over-40s for the past two seasons, said: “Grindon Broadway Over-40s revenue comes from our local sponsors, members contributions and running football cards and raffles.

“However this year has been financially challenging for a lot of clubs, including ourselves, as the lockdown has cut off significant revenue streams.

“The community grants received from Sunderland City Council along with the continued sponsorship of Sycamore Care Centre has greatly assisted our continued participation in The Sunderland and District Mill View Over-40s league.

“The support we’ve received from Debra and the Area Support Team has been first-class and we can’t thank them enough. The grants received have secured the immediate future of the club and the gratitude of the players, members and officials.”

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