A Football club is turning charity pounds into promising futures thanks to a cash boost from a community treasure chest and now the volunteers at Willington Football Club are urging other voluntary groups to accept the same helping hand.

The 2D Ltd Legacy Community First fund provided £850 for Willington Football Club, through the County Durham Community Foundation. With more funding now available for distribution, small groups and organisations have until Sunday, October 29 to be in with a chance of benefitting. Willington Football Club used their grant to put on two football camps for children and pulled in enough new players to launch a new under 8s side.

Richard Manuel is coach and welfare officer for the club. He said:

“For a club like us, £850 is a lot of money. If we didn’t have grants like this we’d be leaning on the parents more and they do enough for us already. It is a deprived area and if costs are high then some children won’t be able to take part.

“We used the money to run the holiday camps at a more reasonable price for our local parents.

“If the cost of these events is high, attendance is much lower, so there’s no doubt this funding makes the camps more realistic and affordable for parents.

“It’s massive for us because that new team will play through the leagues for the next five to six years.”

Richard, who works full-time as an administrator for Westerton Storage in Binchester, spends much of his spare time with the club. His youngest son Leo, 12, plays at the club, and his elder son Joel, 14, used to as well, and still participates in the sport.

He said: “We have great coaches, great volunteers and 120 young people coming through the teams and all we want to do is carry on the good work because of the difference it makes.

“When they first came to camp some of the children were like rabbits in the headlights but now we can’t shut them up and that’s exactly what we want. They’ve quickly made friends and got to know the coaches.

“I’ve been in team sports all my life and played County Cricket for Durham, which gave me friends all over the world. I honestly don’t know where I would have ended up without sport in my life.

“Coaching now is a way for me to keep sport going in my life. I want to carry on and help with all the hard work that our manager Rob Lee has put into the club for the past 20 years so it can keep running and benefit our children. ”

The 2D Ltd Legacy Community First Fund is aimed at small voluntary and community groups and charities aimed at benefitting people in the ex-districts of Teesdale and Wear Valley, excluding Shildon. Grants of between £500 and £1,000 are available for groups that fit the bill.