Firside hoping to light up Norfolk’s youth football

Firside Athletic Youth have enjoyed 21 years of football fun – but they are hoping to get the chance to make the winter nights a little easier on their 250 players.

The FA Charter standard club, up and running since 1989, plays and trains at Firside Junior School, Hellesdon, with more than a dozen teams – including two girls' teams and a third coming through called the Firside Foxes.

The club also runs a junior soccer club for children aged five to seven.

'It really is great to see so many children having fun and learning different games,' said Mick Duffin, vice chairman. 'Last year we decided to try and bring the club a little more into the future by adding an all weather 3G pitch, netting and a few lights. We estimated it at about �60,000 and were quite shocked to discover it would be more like �180,000.

'You can receive grants but they take a long time to apply for and no one has spare money left when you do apply, which means that although we have a place to play and train on a Saturday, as the evenings draw in there is not enough space to train under the floodlights available to us.

'We are one of those clubs who try and keep training fees down to a bare minimum so that everyone can afford to play, so what little money we collect from the parents now goes on rent at other all weather pitches throughout the winter months. Over the last year we have managed to raise a little over �2,000 and we have kindly been offered �500 from the Norwich Lions Club, who have also recently sponsored some waterproofs for one of our teams, which is brilliant. But I can see it taking quite a few years to raise the sort of money we need, unless we can get help.'

Anyone who can offer to help Firside Athletic Youth can email Mick at or call him on 01603 893589 or 07931 205563. Or if you know someone who would like to join the fun at Firside, visit the club's website – – or pop in on a Saturday morning, from 9.30am.