St Albans Football Club supporters’ group is building on community links

Stand by your Saints have already scored points in the wider community by strengthening ties with th

Stand by your Saints have already scored points in the wider community by strengthening ties with the City's Football Club St Albans FC. (L-R) Suzy Moody, Senior Coordinator for Home Start/Emily Hornsby, PT Administrator for Home Start/Lee Wood, CoChair of SBYS. - Credit: Archant

A campaign with the goal of strengthening the tie between the wider community and St Albans City Football Club has kicked-off its 2016 fundraising efforts.

Stand By Your Saints (SBYS), which was formed last June, visited Home-Start in St Albans to hand out gifts for families in the city.

SBYS co chair Lee Wood said “At this time of year, it is so important to reach out to the wider community.

“We have collected toys, games and books which we hope will bring joy to children this week and we are looking forward to working closely with Home-Start in the New Year to enable them to help more families in need,”

Home-Start is an independent charity that provides trained volunteers to families with at least one child under the age of five in need of practical and emotional support. It learned last June that the county council was withdrawing its funding and it now relies on community support.

Suzy Moody, senior coordinator and manager of Home-Start, was excited about the partnership between the two organisations:

She said: “Home-Start are able to provide this support by a network of trained volunteers and through generous donations like that provided by Stand By Your Saints.

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“We have chatted to the Stand By Your Saints team and are really excited about what we can do in 2016 to widen the involvement of the families we work with and the Football Club and have lots of ideas which we can’t wait to get going with.

“Community support and inclusion is vital to our work and we are grateful for being able to forge this new link with the supporters.”

SBYS will look to use further events in the future to promote the club as well as helping the community through football.

Lee, whose Uncle Ron played for the club for five years in the 1960s and 70s, believes sports teams can make a real difference in an area such as St Albans.

He said: “A thriving football club will always help a city,

“We believe the football club has been overlooked. Some people do not know that there is a team in the city.

“By working in collaboration with St Albans City FC we want to help build a vision that goes beyond Saturday afternoons at 3 o’clock.”

Since its inception last June the SBYS initiative has already resulted in the installation of baby facilities and a soft play centre at the teams’s home ground, Clarence Park, and the club has given the drive full backing.

Over the coming months SBYS will use the clubhouse to hold Saturday clubs and other fundraising events. A race night planned for the end of January has already sold out

Lee added: “We aim to reach a wide demographic. We want Clarence Park to be accessible so that everyone feels welcome.”

As part of the visit to Home-Start, SBYS also handed out a match day treat to a lucky winning family.