Barry Griffiths
Barrie Griffiths, 76, retired former Heavy Goods Driver from Pontypridd has been taking part in walking football for two months and is already recognising the health benefits including the benefits of having to make quick decisions to keep himself mentally sharp.

Barrie described ‘For the past twenty seven years I have been keeping fit by playing golf at quite a challenging local course, but at my age I am looking for a way to keep fit when the weather is wet and cold. When I saw it advertised I knew I had to get involved, and they are a great bunch of lads. When I was driving for a living I was over sixteen and a half stone, since getting fit I am now under thirteen and feel a lot better.’  

Ebbw Vale Cricket Club Support 
The Difference We Make: No Boundaries 
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust & Game On Wales Sports 'Offer' 

The relationship between the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Ebbw Vale Cricket Club has stretched back a number of years, with the club not only benefiting from CRT grants, but from advice and support that has led to the club growing from strength to strength. The club, which was established in 1852, set up Ebbw Vale Cricket Limited in February 2015, a social enterprise separate to the club who developed an indoor cricket training centre- which to this day remains only one of three centres in Wales.

This business model allows the club to reinvest any profits in to developing the game of cricket locally and ensuring facilities are affordable for all including age ranges right from under nine’s, ladies teams and first and second teams. Based on a programme established in Australia, the club are also piloting the ‘All Stars’ programme which looks to raise the profile of the game to children aged five to eight.

More than just grant funding 

At the club’s helm, is club secretary Nick Pepper, who has been involved in playing and coaching at the club for over forty years and has been the key link between EVCC and support from CRT. This relationship started with CRT Development Officers identifying and working with Renew Wales to investigate energy sustainability for the club through advice, training and monitoring. CRT support and advice was also provided in improving the club’s governance and financial information and with links to key partners, guidance was provided after the asset transfer process to ensure its long term sustainability. 

Nick believes that the catalyst to the high standard of facilities at the club was kick started by a CRT grant for £7,000 to go towards a boiler, which opened up the centre to the wider community and made it more appealing for all. The centre has opened its doors to archery sessions with Coleg Gwent, keep fit sessions, after school activities and older person’s groups. Nick explained that the new thermostat also allows the club to be more sustainable with its energy use and heating costs. However, most importantly of all, the acquisition of the grant and continued support paved the way for further grant funding including a £55,000 English Cricket Board (ECB) grant which paid for improved lighting, specialist flooring and cricket net tension.

Club Secretary, Nick Pepper outlined ‘As a relatively new social enterprise, the advice we received from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust has been invaluable. From advice on governance to business planning, CRT were there for us and their grant was the catalyst to where we are today – providing excellent facilities that are affordable for the public.’  With a view of continuing the strong relationship with CRT, they are also exploring further asset transfers and coach education projects in conjunction with Game On Wales.
Alan Wells
Alan Wells, 70, retired from Llantwit Fardre has been participating in walking football for over six months and has experienced significant health and social benefits. Since recovering from throat cancer, Alan has been looking for activities to not only improve his fitness, but to participate in a sport with other like-minded people where he can gently get fit and enjoy himself.

Alan outlined ‘The biggest benefit I have recognised is the camaraderie with the others. Taking part has given me the psychological benefit of having something to look forward to. I really never thought I would ever play football again – a game I had not played for over forty years. After a few sessions I was surprised how quickly my skills came back.’

Tondu United - Game On Gear 
Based in the County Borough of Bridgend and serving the former coalfields communities of Tondu, Brynmenyn, and surrounding valley communities, Tondu United FC are a brand new football club set up to tackle the barrier facing young children in participating in football locally with little alternative clubs operating within the local community.  

The club successfully secured a Game On Gear Grant, which is administered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, which gives clubs operating in former coalfields areas the opportunity to purchase kits and sports gear up to the value of £500. 

The club provide opportunities to play football for both boys and girls aged from under six teams to under tens as well as an increasingly popular under thirteen’s girl’s side. 

The club see themselves as ‘more than just a club’, but a community for young people to grow, learn and have fun. The team emphasis is not just on winning matches, but on the social benefit to young people with the club encouraging parents to volunteer and take part in the club whether that is in supporting their children in games, coaching or in other aspects such as first aid and safeguarding.  

Highlighting the benefit of Game On Wales support, Tondu United Coach and Secretary, Joe Powton explained "Our vision incorporates a full club philosophy and way of thinking, which isn’t all about winning and striving to win, but to ensure all players have equal opportunity to succeed and develop. This is why the grant from Game On was essential – to help us expand and increase participation for young children to feel fully inclusive."

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Game On Wales are delighted to support Tondu United – a new, ambitious and dynamic club. Together we work hard to develop the girls’ game; we know that girls have fewer clubs / opportunities (than boys). Through the Game On Gear Grant we help lay the right foundations to encourage more girls to become and stay hooked on football.

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