Ashton United empowers volunteers with Trident grant for community challenges

Ashton United is setting its volunteers a number of challenges as part of an innovative way to retain and recruit extra hands.

The Pitching In Northern Premier League Premier Division side has used its latest grant from the Trident Community Foundation to partner with The Challenge Hub, where its 75 volunteers can undertake physical, educational, and social challenges.

It is all part of the Robins’ efforts to make its priceless volunteers feel valued, with seven hardy souls recently undertaking a sponsored walk from Hurst Cross to Matlock for their league meeting.

The game itself may have been called off due to bad weather but vice-chairman Steve Hobson hailed it as the start of an exciting series of events.

“They raised £4,000 for our charity Ashton United in the Community,” explained Hobson.

“They did it over two days, setting off on the Friday to Bakewell. When they set off the heavens opened and they had every single weather condition you could imagine. We were thinking we would have to go and rescue them.

“They got to Matlock the following day and the game got called off. I can’t praise them enough for what they did.

“We have got 75 registered volunteers and one of things that is really big for us is retaining them, looking after them, making them feel special and valued.”

The Robins’ supporters and volunteers have not been deterred and have plans to run a drinks stall during the upcoming Manchester Marathon as well as organising a sponsored spin.

All the money raised will go to the club’s charity, Ashton United in the Community, which runs myriad schemes to help out its local population.

Hobson revealed it is all possible thanks to funding from the Trident Community Foundation, with Ashton’s scheme one of hundreds supported by the programme that has given out over £430,000 to community projects since being launched by NPL partners Pitching In in December 2020.

He added: “The grant funding makes it happen because we’ve got to pay to join the challenge, which is only a tenner, but we have allocated a budget of £150 a person to be able to carry out these challenges over the next year.

“We are in an area that is in the top two per cent of the most deprived in England. They’d never be able to do these things but for the Trident grant.

“A challenge might be swimming but they can’t afford to pay for the swimming baths, so out of the grant we would pay for that. It facilitates this challenge taking place.

“Ashton United in the Community is an anchor charity in our community. While it is a separate entity from the club, we work hand in glove.

“We are giving back to our community, as we have done for the 140 years we have been in the area.”

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