Members of Braunton Ability Football Club have been rewarded for their commitment and dedication with a brand new football training kit thanks to community grants.

On Saturday (29 February) Braunton Ward Councillors from North Devon Council, Councillors Derrick and Liz Spear and Jasmine Chesters presented players with their new training kit during their weekly training and match session.  Along with fellow Councillor, Pat Barker, the total Community Councillor Grant to the club was for £400. 

As well as the Community Councillor Grants, the club also received grants from The Vivian Moon Braunton Community Trust Fund and Fullabrook CIC. Ross Moon attended the training kit presentation on behalf of both organisations and presented the kit to the players.

Through the Community Councillor Grant Scheme, each North Devon councillor has £1,000 to support projects and services run by community or voluntary groups and not-for-profit organisations each year. Youth clubs, toddler groups, sports clubs, museums, village halls and environmental groups have all benefited from grants in the past.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says: "Our Community Councillor Grant Scheme provides councillors with the opportunity to offer grants to groups in their community who will really benefit and provide vital facilities and services to the residents of North Devon. It's a very popular scheme and can provide that valuable boost to help fund community projects and help others get their ideas off the ground."

Lead Coach at Braunton Ability Football Club, Melanie Benson-Regan, says: "Being able to provide these brand new training kits which we have bought with the grants to our players today (3 March 2020) for free is simply amazing.  We are truly grateful and thankful for this support to our club.

"Most of our players are either in education or unable to work so we fundraise to keep our sessions free of charge. This principle is really important to us and means that the activity is accessible to all.  Some of our players have never been part of a team before but thrive on the excitement of attending our Saturday morning sessions which are totally inclusive and help to reduce isolation and loneliness. We bring people together whose lives may never have otherwise crossed and this also includes our wonderful volunteers."

Parent of team member of the club, Dawn Shakespeare, says: "My 12 year old son has been coming along to the club since November and he absolutely loves it. The players all work together well as a team and will feel even more so now that they have their new training kit. The coaches and instructors are brilliant which makes Lewis want to come back every week. Not only is he learning more about football, but he has made lots of new friends and his confidence has grown."

Fullabrook CIC Representative and Chairman of the Vivian Moon Braunton Community Trust Fund (VMBCTF), Ross Moon, says: "Both Fullabrook CIC and VMBCTF were delighted to have been able to supply kit and hoodies to the club enabling the members to have a proud sense of belonging and self-assurance.”

The weekly sessions held by the club are open to anyone with a physical, sensory or learning disability including those with mental health issues with players ranging from 7 - 60 years. The session gives players the opportunity to build confidence, have fun, work as part of a team, increase their fitness and make new friends. For more information about the club or to attend a session contact Melanie Benson - Regan melanieregan7@icloud.com.

Applications for councillor community grants from North Devon Council are currently closed but re-open on 1 April. Applications are invited from any not-for-profit group or organisation with a project or service located within the North Devon district or be of significant benefit to people living in North Devon. More information about the scheme is available on the website.

More information about grants from Fullabrook CIC, including the area of benefit is available on their website or by contacting the administrator admin@fullabrook-cic.org.

More information about grants from The Vivian Moon Braunton Community Trust Fund, whose areas of benefit include the parish of Braunton and Wrafton together, online application and criteria are available on their website or by contacting their administrator info@vmbctf.org