Youngsters at a Castle Point football club can kick into touch the prospect of getting wet on the sidelines when they return to action after lockdown.
Thundersley Rovers under-11s squad has been granted a £250 Team Sport Award from UK Power Networks, the company which distributes electricity across the East of England.
The club used the money to buy the players new rain jackets to keep themselves warm and dry once play is allowed to resume at grassroots level.
Employee Colin Smith, who manages roadworks in London for the company, sourced the donation from his firm.
Colin coaches the team, which includes his son Jake, and is looking forward to resuming what has been a stop-start season due to the coronavirus restrictions.
Colin said: “It’s great to be able to purchase the rain jackets for the team because not everyone can be on the pitch at the same time so those not involved need to keep warm on the touchline as well as during pre-match warm-ups. Everyone at the club is really grateful for the award.
“I first became involved with the club about five years ago and volunteered to become a coach which I really enjoy even if it does come with a few pressures and responsibilities.
“You find yourself thinking a lot about what line-up to select and the best tactics to deploy in games and I must admit when you lose the disappointment does stay with you for a few days even when you tell yourself results don’t really matter at this age!
“I had an uncle who was involved in football coaching in London during the 1980s and 1990s who worked with the likes of now former professionals Ledley King and Ashley Cole when they were younger so I suppose there is a bit of a family tradition.
“I have done my first level of FA badges for coaching, but for me it’s really about seeing the boys develop their skills and confidence. We have had to pause playing a couple of times this season, but we’ve fitted in as much football as we’ve been able to.”
The Team Sport Award scheme encourages UK Power Networks staff to volunteer in the community and is aimed at promoting healthy living, teamwork and development of sporting opportunities.
Hundreds of community and sports groups have benefited from grants since the scheme was set up. During 2020, more than 60 teams benefitted to a combined sum of £15,500.