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Dorchester Town Football Club spreads its community wings
KICKING OFF INITIATIVE: Community Director Allen Knott with parents and youngsters including Jack Berry, centre
DORCHESTER Town Football Club is bidding to show the true meaning of what it means to be the community club.
The Magpies’ Community Trust secured a joint majority shareholding in the county town outfit last year with a view to eventually becoming a fully fledged community club.
Directors are now pulling out all the stops to embrace the football club’s links with the local community and widen the reach of the club off the pitch.
The Conference South club is trying to make the match day experience more enjoyable for families and is setting up a dedicated area at the Avenue Stadium for families to come and enjoy themselves, starting with this Saturday’s home tie against Boreham Wood.
Community director Allen Knott said the area would be covered and have its own dedicated snack bar.
The launch event at the Boreham Wood game will see an adult with two children admitted for just £5 and thereafter it will be £12, with the initiative set to continue at the Magpies’ remaining home fixtures this season.
Mr Knott said: “I’ve been listening to the views of parents and, indeed, our young supporters.
“This initiative will, I hope, be the start of a number of initiatives that will help us gain a reputation as being the best community club in the league.
“I am keen to hear from anyone who can come up with new ideas that will improve our club image or who are prepared to offer practical help of any sort.”
Club chairman Neal Butterworth added: “I am delighted that our new family area has been created.
“This is just another venture that forms part of our overall aim to be fully recognised as a community club. All the directors are working hard to ensure that Dorchester Town Football Club is a valuable asset to the town and that everyone, young or old, feels proud to be associated with us.”
Anne Greenslade, the director with responsibility for the stadium area and the club’s hospitality, said it was important as part of the club’s vision to be run by the community for the community that it had somewhere to make young fans feel welcome at games.
She said: “The club are very pleased to launch their new family area at our match against Boreham Wood and also to provide items in the adjacent kiosk that have been specifically requested by our younger fans.
“The provision of this area was decided upon after a recent meeting between board members and a group of under-10 players and their parents and is part of our ongoing commitment to enhancing the club’s involvement with the local community.”
Mrs Greenslade added that dedicated artwork would be created for the area to help make it ‘a place families can call their own’ while popular club mascot Dinky Bear will also be making regular appearances.
Matt Lucas, director responsible for the team, said having the extra support from the community would be appreciated by the players. He said: “I am a family man myself and as such I thoroughly recommend going to a match as being a great family afternoon out.
“All our players really appreciate the support they receive from our fans.
“They too are keen to develop community links. Please come and support us.”
The club’s commitment to the community also extends to the various youth teams associated with the club and other initiatives aimed at getting more young people involved in the game.
Director for youth teams Lloyd Spracklen said: “We have many youth teams associated with Dorchester Town Football Club.
“The youngest start at five years of age and can stay on to play in our under 17 teams.”
EXCITING CHAPTER FOR CLUB
THE CLUB’S chaplain has described Dorchester town’s community efforts as an ‘exciting new chapter’.
The Venerable Paul Taylor, Archdeacon of Sherborne, said: “An exciting new chapter in the club’s history began this season.
“Dorchester Town Football Club is now largely community trust owned, expressing a philosophy of a club that’s rooted in community life.
“The emphasis is on developing partnerships that focus not so much on the support the local community can give to the club, but rather on how the club can support and contribute to the local community.
“The whole ethos is very much on inclusivity, where all are made to feel welcome, and know that they belong and have a part to play.
“Therefore the club is thrilled that for the first time a large family area is to be created, which will enable parents – and grandparents – and their children to come to matches together.
“It is a matter of some pride to me that I am Chaplain to Dorchester Football Club at this exciting time in its life.”
BROOKS TAKES ON OFFICER ROLE
THE club’s commitment to the wider town has also seen Magpies defender Calvin Brooks take on the role of community officer.
The defender, who graduated through the club’s youth system, has been working with schools, colleges and youth groups as well as mental health and learning difficulty groups.
Last summer saw the founding of the Dorchester Town Ability Counts team, a dedicated side for children and young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities who are coached by Calvin and compete in the Dorset and Wiltshire Ability Counts League, run by the Football Association.
Anyone who is interested in getting involved can contact Calvin at community.dorches tertownfc.com
YOUNG MAGPIES FAN IMPRESSES CLUB CHIEFS
A YOUNG Magpies supporter has impressed club officials with his generosity towards the club.
At a recent home match community director Allen Knott was chatting to fan Jack Berry when, to his surprise and delight, the youngster handed over a bag containing cash.
Jack went on to explain that he had saved up his pocket money and wanted to donate it to the club.
Mr Knott said: “I was so delighted by this act of generosity that I took the youngster straight to the boardroom and invited him meet our chairman. “I was really impressed by this wonderful example of kindness and commitment.”
Club chairman Mr Butterworth was also full of praise for Jack’s kind-hearted donation.
He said: “It was a real pleasure to meet Jack and to receive his gift.
“We are committed to being a community club and value all our supporters. I thank Jack on behalf of everyone.”
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