By James Dodd
Here’s how an army of enthusiastic volunteers created an award winning grassroots football club in Swansea.
Thanks to this amazing football club, the whole community benefits from their clubhouse, kitchen and pitch and it brings everyone together.
There is a leg club which takes place in the clubhouse. Donna Thomas; a community staff nurse of the Ystradgynlais Hospital; explained how “it started in January 2017”.
She also explained that the purpose was to “bring lots of people together from the community to enhance their wellbeing, reduce social isolation and maintain healthy legs”.
Wynne Hughes; who is also a volunteer and a healthcare assistant; explained the growth and importance of the club.
“We have five stations on a Thursday from 9 to 12:30 and we have up to nearly 400 members.
“Everybody likes coming here because they can have the social aspect, have a cup of tea and biscuits, and it saves us and GPs a lot of money going out to the houses that we can do it here”.
Another fantastic story is Andrea Smith and her son Steffan. Andrea is the founder of the Cwm Wanderers ASD Academy, which allows everyone of all abilities to play football.
“My son Steffan is autistic, and he had been asking me for a few years if he could play football for Cwm Wanderers mainstream. I knew there would be a lot of challenges with that and I was having some difficulty in getting him out of his room.
He struggled with friendships. I thought ‘what can I do to help him gain an interest in football, play football and help other children in the area to develop their football skills and socialising skills?’”
She went on to say, “it is about getting the children out of their rooms, together, forming friendships and inclusion for the club – working with mainstream children and academy children and bringing them altogether as one.”
Despite a slow start, Smith is delighted with the success and high demand of the academy.
“Two years ago, we started with three players and quickly it grew to 30 children due to the demand of the service we provide. We currently have a waiting list of 70 children that want to join the club.
“It has really sky rocketed since the start.”
Finally, Stuart Evans is a treasurer of Cwm Wanderers and he explained how huge it is for the club to give back to their community.
“The school took over the old pitch. We benefitted and I think it is only fair that we put it out to the community. I think it is vital to keep the community involved. Ultimately, we rely on the community to support us from a social point of view as well as playing football.
“I think the more events we put on as a club and is inclusive for everybody [means] it pays off and reaches dividends, hopefully on the football side going forward as well.”CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR NEAREST JUNIOR FOOTBALL CLUB