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Saturday 13 October 2012

Premier League helps to boost Non-League Day

More on how clubs and League provide assistance to the clubs in Non-League Football

  • Boreham Wood will enjoy use of the Arsenal first-team coach

  • Kidderminster's Healthkick programme has enjoyed grants totalling £27,000

  • Brian Lee, left, gives Kidderminster their Community award

Read the full Premier League Creating Chances report

This Saturday marks the latest Non-League Day, which celebrates the 40,000 clubs in the semi-professional and amateur game and provides a chance for fans of bigger clubs to experience football at a level they may be unfamiliar with.

Liverpool, Sunderland, Queens Park Rangers and Reading are among the Barclays Premier League clubs who have promoted the initiative to their fans through their matchday programmes, Twitter and/or websites.

Arsenal will be playing their part in the day by assisting Boreham Wood with the donation of their first-team coach for the Blue Square Bet South club's trip to Salisbury City.

"I can't tell you how appreciative we all are that they have supported not just Non-League Day but ourselves in this way," said Boreham Wood manager Ian Allinson, who played more than 100 matches for the Gunners.

The Premier League has been supporting Non-League football in different ways for a number of years including, in 2009, making a £1m solidarity payment to aid the competition when its television partner Setanta TV suddenly withdrew.

"The Premier League saved us after the collapse of the Setanta TV deal when all clubs relied on central funding," said Football Conference Chairman, Brian Lee.

Since then, the Premier League has pledged £6m in solidarity funding for the three seasons from 2010/11-2012/13. "The solidarity payment is most invaluable," said Lee. "During that time, the Conference has grown in stature and all that has only been possible with the financial support of the Premier League."

"The solidarity payment is most invaluable. During that time, the Conference has grown in stature"
Brian Lee

Of the annual £2m, £1.2m is provided as funds to support all 68 Football Conference clubs, while £800,000, which is provided in conjunction with the Professional Footballers' Association, is committed to the Football Conference Trust to whom all Conference clubs can apply for youth development and/or community programmes.

With the Trust, clubs in the Blue Square Premier can apply for £20,000 each season, and those in the Blue Square North and Blue Square South can apply for £15,000. Fifty Conference clubs have accessed more than £1m of this fund to help them with 100 projects that encourage them to become an important part of their communities.

The Trust has also helped to attract more than £1m in additional matching funding towards these project costs. These projects have reached 11,800 people so far, of whom 7,000 are under 11.

As part of Non-League Day fans are being encouraged to get in three matches in one day via the Blue Square Ground Hop, where tickets for the fixtures (Macclesfield Town and Newport County, Stockport County v Kidderminster Harriers and Hyde v Tamworth) cost in total £44 with free coach travel between the stadiums available. The clubs involved have benefited from links with the Premier League and the Football Conference Trust.

Macclesfield's Community Sports Trust has received an offer of £20,000 towards their "Off Target" - Community Street Sports programme, which uses multi-sport activity to engage young people from 8-14 years, with the aim of diverting them from anti-social behaviour.

Newport have run a programme that has benefited from a £12,000 grant from the Trust to work with young people in the NEETs category, aiming to add NVQ qualifications to their academic achievements, as well as coaching qualifications.

Stockport's Community Sports and Education Trust has received grants of more than £17,000 for its "GOALZ" and "County 4 All" projects that look to offer diversions from anti-social behaviour and structured coaching for 16-18-year-olds.

Kidderminster Harriers, whose Harriers Healthkick programme has enjoyed grants totalling £27,000, are the Trust's first Community Club of the Year award, receiving a prize of £10,000.

Hyde have also benefited from significant investment in the pitch and facilities at their Ewen Fields from Manchester City, as part of a three-year agreement where City's team in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League play their matches there.

Other examples are Boston United, who have used the Trust to deliver a health programme that has attracted more than 150 people a week to attend and has been so successful that it has become part of the Boston Health and Wellbeing strategy document to increase health and physical activity in the area.

For more on Non-League Day click here

To find a Non-League match near you click here

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Key Points

  • 13 October marks Non-League Day, which celebrates the semi-professional and amateur game
  • Several Barclays Premier League clubs have helped to promote the day to their fans
  • The Premier League's financial support to the Conference clubs has been hailed as "invaluable"