Who needs a Saudi prince? City kids celebrate footie cash boost
- Credit: Old Catton Junior Football Club
A thriving youth football club is seeing an influx of players as it benefits from new facilities, a cash injection and its first dedicated girl's team.
Old Catton Junior Club successfully applied to the Norfolk County Football Association for a Weetabix Wildcats centre in the summer.
This has enabled girls from the ages of 6-12 to play non-competitive football for the very first time.
Having had only one or two girls in the existing boys teams before the Weetabix centre has now seen a surge of interest in young girls taking up the sport.
Mark Winhall, operations and sponsorship manager for the club, said the sessions have been attracting a full allocation of girls every week.
There is a cap of 25 girls per session.
Mr Winhall said: "Looking at the Wildcats girls, we are hoping to create another three girls teams going forward then there is also scope to extend the under 16s.
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"After the lockdowns, grassroot football is very good in helping the mental state of youngsters when they have been cooped up for so long."
The Lavare Park club is flourishing post-lockdown with 326 players currently registered across the club overall.
New 600-watt LED floodlights have been installed around the perimeter of Austin Way after the club successfully applied to Broadland District Council for planning permission.
In addition to the floodlights, new sprinklers are in place thanks to the hard work and fundraising efforts of volunteers.
And a further boost has come in the form of £1,000 sponsorship from Norfolk Wealth Management.
Mr Winhall, who used to be a coach at the football club, said: "Anything over £500 would be classed as big for a junior football club. At grassroots level, this is massive and three teams will benefit from it.
"I think it will give us scope for attracting new players. Bearing in mind the football club has been here for 50 years, it has progressed really well over the last 10 years."
Norfolk Wealth Management is sponsoring kits for the under 11s and under 10s teams.