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The power of football making a difference in Guildford

Local children now have access to a low-cost pay-and-play football programme on a state-of-the-art pitch thanks to a successful funding bid involving Guildford Borough Council.

Friday Night Football participants

In conjunction with local partner clubs Guildford Saints Football Club, Worplesdon Rangers Football Club and Cardinals in the Community, the council have successfully sought funding from local and national organisations to deliver the programme at the new state-of-the-art 3G football pitch at Kings Community Sports Hub at Kings College Guildford.

Satellite club funding from Sport England and the National Lottery, along with sponsorship from Specsavers in Guildford, has enabled the Friday Night Football programme to be a huge success for the local community. 

The sessions encourage local children and young people to be more active in a sociable environment, with access to high-quality coaching for just £1 per week. Attendance has quadrupled since the first session and has around 25 boys attending regularly from the local area, Park Barn, and displaced young people who are settling into the local community.

In addition to the above, we are grateful to:

  • Sport Guildford for funding 10 one-year disability football memberships and for furthering the development of the community programme.
  • High Sheriff Youth Awards for funding to develop youth football opportunities for local 5-14-year olds.
  • Aspire for funding the development of women and girls' football opportunities.

Lead Councillor for Tourism, Leisure, and Sport, Cllr James Steel, says:

"Football's power to change society for the better, and bring entire communities together, is almost unrivalled in this country. It is great to see the success of a project which gives some of the least-advantaged people in our community opportunities to get active and stay healthy. As well as the obvious physical benefits, this project can also help participants' mental health, and aid social inclusion and integration.

"The 3G pitch at Kings College is a fantastic facility for the town of Guildford, and I hope it continues to be used and enjoyed by as many people as possible."

Kayte Cable, Co-founder and Projects Manager of Big Leaf Foundation, a charity which helps displaced young people to belong and grow, says:

"We concentrate on combating social isolation, and Friday Night Football gives participants both a chance to make new friends and enjoy facilities that they do not usually have access to."

"That's the power of sport, and you can see the joy it gives them. It brings people together and gives them something to do on a winter's evening."

If you would like to get more active, learn new skills, get involved with many opportunities for volunteering, or simply have fun at a great price, contact Guildford's Sports Development Officer on 01483 444265 or email sportsdevelopment@guildford.gov.uk.

Published on Friday 28 February.