How does Altrincham FC engage with the Armed Forces
Based in Greater Manchester, Altrincham Fc are a professional football club that currently play in the Vanorama National League. They started to develop their ties with the local veteran community back in 2018.
A local veterans organisation Trafford Veterans CIC, approached Altrincham FC Community Manager, Simon Dow, with a view to strengthening the ties between veterans and local sports clubs.
Since then, their relationship has gone from strength to strength, with the club and its fanbase taking their local veteran community to heart.
Simon Dow tells us more about the ways they have been able to provide resources that local forces members can benefit from. One of which was registering Trafford Vets CIC on the Alty For All Scheme, which sees companies and individuals buying discounted Season tickets to donate to a charity of their choice.
“Donating some season tickets to Trafford Veterans CIC was one way we felt we could support the charity and its various users.
The season tickets enable veterans to attend the matches free of charge and provides them with the opportunity to engage with the club”. Simon-Altrincham FC Community Manager
Claire of Trafford veterans CIC feels that the season tickets are more valuable than the club realises.
“The armed forces is a community in its own right and when people leave they still often want that sense of belonging. Football is another community that they can be a part of whilst still spending time with fellow veterans” Claire-Trafford Vets
Providing The Armed Forces Community With A Home
Often local organisations are in need of premises for regular events and Altrincham Football Club soon realised they could make good use of one of their rooms by offering it to the veteran’s organisation on a monthly basis.
This monthly get together has become a popular event with the attendees and is run in a relaxed style with activities and food available. Having an indoor facility means the veterans can continue to benefit from each other’s company even in adverse weather conditions. This reduces feelings of isolation during colder months, particularly for older veterans.
“The monthly support meetings are a fantastic initiative and one that we really wanted to support. Providing the room is a small way that we can support the brilliant work that goes on”.-Simon Dow
Claire and Chris of Trafford Veterans were delighted when the football club very generously offered to give them some permanent advertising pitch side.
“Anything that increases our visibility in the community and helps us to reach more veterans is really helpful. There are people that benefit from our services who might not know we existed if it wasn’t for Altrincham FC promoting us to the football community”- Claire Wright
Simon goes on to give an example of the Altringham supporters getting involved with Trafford Vets,
“We were delighted to support the Trafford Veterans Ukraine appeal at the start of the conflict, we were one of the designated drop off points for medical supplies, sleeping bags, clothes, toiletries etc. The response from our fan base and user groups was amazing, but the big credit goes to Claire & Chris for organising it all and making sure the supplies go to where they needed to go”.
More Armed Forces Support
Trafford Veterans CIC is not the only armed forces community that benefits from the generosity of the club and its fan base. They are also avid supporters of Help For Heroes
A different charity is authorised to collect donations at each home match and Alty Fc have a planned for Help For Heroes on 1st April 2023 when Altrincham play Notts County.
Both Trafford Vets and Help For Heroes are assigned a match this season to promote their cause and this also includes promotion in the match day programme. Mentions in programmes helps the charity message reach more homes and potentially support more veterans in the community.
We spoke to Rhys Edwards, Area fundraising manager for Help For Heroes about this.
“Help for Heroes are excited to be invited to collect at the Altrincham FC ground and look forward to attending the match in April.
Help for Heroes believes those who serve our country deserve support when they’re wounded. Every day, men and women have to leave their career in the Armed Forces as a result of physical or psychological wounds; their lives changed forever.
The Charity helps them, and those still serving, to recover and get on with their lives by providing physical, psychological, financial and welfare support for as long as they need it. It also supports their families because they too can be affected by their loved one’s challenges.
Help for Heroes receives almost no funding from the Government, which means it relies on the spirit and generosity of the great British public, its partners, and volunteers to keep going. It has already supported more than 27,000 people and won’t stop until every wounded veteran and their family gets the support they deserve. You can find out more and support us by visiting Our Website.“
Remembrance Day 2022 was commemorated when Altrincham FC played York City on the 12th of November.
Trafford veterans sent along representatives of the forces to lay a wreath on the pitch ahead of the match, and they were also supported by flag bearers and a bugle player.
The following day, the wreath was placed on the local cenotaph as a mark of respect for all the lives affected by conflict.
The players sported kit that featured the poppy in a mark of Remembrance, with the silence observed impeccably throughout the ground. All usual opposing fan banter is forgotten in these moments where football fans stand shoulder to shoulder on the same side. The side of respect.
Community manager Simon Dow clearly feels that the commitments they have made to their local veteran community are long term, as the benefits are numerous not only for those in the armed forces family, but for the football club too. We will be checking back with Altrincham Fc next year to see how this amazing relationship is developing.
If you would like to help in any way with Altrincham FC Community projects then email Simon on firstname.lastname@example.org
For contributions to Trafford veterans contact Claire on email@example.com
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Trafford Football Club And Their Local Veterans
Social media proved to be a great ally when Trafford Football Club tweeted a few years ago that they wanted to invite local Armed Forces Veterans to lead out their team on for their Remembrance Day Service.
Melody Stephens, part of the Trafford FC committee recalls
“I put out on Twitter that we wanted to invite armed forces veterans to attend the remembrance weekend match & lead the team out on the pitch. Claire from Trafford Veterans CIC got in touch & it went from there. A great relationship was formed instantly and they’ve joined us every year since.”-Melody Stephens
We caught up with John Eadie, the Chairman of Trafford FC to find out more about the first service they carried out with Trafford Vets.
“Trafford Vets led the team out ahead of the game and the applause for them was outstanding. It was a fantastic atmosphere. One thing that sticks out was the 2021 service. We hadn’t all been together because of Covid for 2 years. One of the Veterans, a Gentleman called Frank in his later years, read his own poem as part of the ceremony and you could hear a pin drop whilst he did. The whole service was incredibly well thought out and respectfully received by both the supporters and players of both teams” John Eadie
Trafford Football Club knew by the reaction of their supporters that the local Veteran community were well thought of and so they decided they could do more to help.
“Us smaller clubs struggle with funding so we found other ways we could help them rather than just financially. One thing we do is give the Trafford Vets a page in our programme every week for them to publicise their events and raise awareness about them. It’s a small thing but it helps to get their message out” – John Eadie
Trafford Veterans have certainly seen an increase in their numbers at events since the club started publicising their work in the community. They also found that many Vets discussed football at their social events, with some saying they couldn’t attend anymore for various reasons. Amazingly Trafford FC stepped in once again.
“We decided as a club to donate 2 season tickets to Trafford Vets which they give to a different armed forces member or veteran every game. It works both ways, it helps Vets who are struggling financially or need to socialise more, but it helps to increase our fanbase as Vets will often have family members come along with them too” John Eadie.
Trafford Veterans Giving Back
More surprises were to come though when Trafford Veterans found themselves in a position to do something in return for the club that helped them so much.
During Covid when all football clubs were struggling due to having no gate money. Trafford Veterans decided to sponsor a kit for the forthcoming season at Trafford Football Club but paid the sponsorship early to help out the club.
Trafford Vets now sponsor the warm up tops for the main team and the first kit for the under 18s.
“We are incredibly proud to see our logo on the kits. The whole thing has come full circle now with us supporting each other rather than it being one sided. Their support is incredible and we are so pleased to see permanent Armed Forces flags up in the stands now”-Claire Wright
After speaking to Melody, John and Claire we feel there is more to come from this tight team. Plans are already underway for the Armistice Day service at the ground
“This year our Armistice Day commemorations will land on the 12th November against Macclesfield and we know they too will honour and respect the service”-John Eadie
If you would like to support Trafford FC or Trafford Veterans CIC in anyway then please contact them via their websites. For other teams that support Trafford Veterans please read our article on Sale United FC
Here at Terraces and Troops we love to report on the bond between football and the forces. If you have a story for us get in touch. If you need to raise fund for your armed forces or football organisation, then we can help.
Sale United Football Club Partners With Trafford Veterans
Sale United Football Club is one of the largest grassroots club in the North West of England and is an FA Chartered Community Club. Their work on inclusion and welfare for the local community is impressive. Comprising of a huge 64 teams, it’s no surprise that many of the players and supporters have armed forces connections.
We spoke to Sale United Football Clubs Chairman and Facilities Manager, Colin Dowdy about their involvement with the local Veteran Community.
Colin, like many others throughout Sale United, is deeply committed to Veteran welfare and when they were introduced to Trafford Veterans CIC they were eager to help them achieve their goal of reaching as many local veterans as possible.
Sale United had a small clubhouse that was occasionally used for refreshments during some games. Other than that, this clubhouse was pretty much unused and in need of a little TLC. This little used facility was soon to be given a new lease of life.
In line with their community focussed ethos, Sale United approached Trafford Vets with the idea of them being able to access the clubhouse for Veteran related activities and events.
Claire Wright of Trafford Veterans CIC was delighted with the offer and with a little funding, a group of Veterans set to work redecorating the clubhouse to make it their very own Veterans Hub. Comprising of a small kitchen area and an area for seating, the Hub was soon put to work as the home of Trafford Veterans CIC.
Sale United Gives Trafford Veterans A Home
Claire is able to use the clubhouse as an office midweek which has streamlined their activities and means they have been able to put on many more activities due to having a permanent building. Claire served in the Royal Navy Reserves and then the Royal Navy for many years and understands first hand many of the issues Armed Forces Veterans face.
“Having the Hub has given us a sense of permanence and security. It’s important for anyone, especially Veterans to have a feeling of belonging. Having this space has made a huge difference in terms of the activities we can offer. Sale United have been fantastic with their support. We can do more in the community now and make a bigger impact.”-Claire Wright
Trafford Veterans were able to facilitate a Mental Health Awareness Course at the Hub, with many in attendance.
The area outside the Hub is suitable for larger gatherings which means the family and friends aof veterans can also attend events. In warmer weather it isn’t unusual for the BBQ to be on.
Sale United FC Proud Of This Commitment
“It was an absolute pleasure to be able to help Trafford Veterans find a home. Their work in the local community is outstanding and we are a community club. The Hub is a credit to their hard work and it is always great to see so many people attending”- Colin Dowdy
It’s clear this this is just the beginning of a partnership between Sale United FC and their local Veteran Community.
“We are looking for ways to do more, like any club we have financial restrictions and limitations but as we have shown with The Hub, there are other ways to help.” Colin Dowdy
Through Claire at Trafford Veterans , a band called The North West Veterans Corps of Drums has also been given space to practice in another, larger outbuilding belonging to Sale United.
We are sure that Sale United FC will continue to support Trafford Veterans CIC along with 2 other local football teams, Trafford FC and Altrincham FC.
If you can think of more ways to support Sale United FC or Trafford Veterans CIC in their community projects or would like to find out about their activities and events, please go to their websites or get in touch via email.
Sale United Website- Saleunitedfc.co.uk Colin Dowdy- firstname.lastname@example.org
Trafford Veterans Website- Traffordveterans.org/ Trafford Vets- email@example.com
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