AFC Fylde Community Foundation is celebrating the return of its ‘Train Like A Pro’ football development programme for young people, in association with partners Cuadrilla and Centrica.
The initiative sees its reach extend to provide 240 children from the region with the exclusive opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a professional athlete, while gaining vital life skills.
‘Train Like A Pro’ will work with 12 local partners to select young people from across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to take part in the initiative, which has been designed to provide equal and inclusive access to sports and enrichment programmes to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Last summer, 60 school children participated in the programme, which coupled practical football coaching with workshops on respect, confidence, diet and nutrition, working with local football clubs Layton Juniors and AFC Blackpool.
The Foundation’s ‘Train Like A Pro’ programme has been made possible by a £16,500 grant from Cuadrilla and Centrica, which will go towards expert coaching staff, new sporting equipment and educational materials.
This year, the sessions will be held at Mill Farm Sports Village in Wesham, where the children will have exclusive access to AFC Fylde’s multi-million-pound stadium and first team training facilities.
Tom Hutton, director of community development at the AFC Fylde Community Foundation, said: “Everyone at the Foundation is delighted to be able to announce the return of the programme due to the positive impact it had on the individuals that took part last year.
“We know that the children found it both engaging and educational, with all of the participants saying how much they enjoyed their experience. Our coaches also observed improvements in confidence and playing ability, following completion of the programme.
“Without the support and donations from Cuadrilla and Centrica, the Foundation would simply not have the funds to bring back this fantastic programme and so on behalf of everyone involved, I’d like to extend my thanks to them.”
‘Train Like A Pro’ will return during February half term, when the first cohort of children will be put through their paces at Mill Farm Sports Village.
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s CEO, commented: “We are proud to be working with even more local partners to identify young people who may not normally have the opportunity to take part in such a rewarding programme.
“We are working closely with the Foundation to deliver a fantastic package of physical training and learning opportunities for young people in the local area during the school holidays and we can’t wait to welcome the first participants next month.”