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Celtic secure charitable status
Wednesday 29th November 2017 @ 11:36 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Stalybridge Celtic’s Community Development Programme has been officially awarded charitable status.

The launch, which took place at Bower Fold on Tuesday morning, was well attended by numerous organisations, including The Prince’s Trust, The Believe and Achieve Trust, The National League Trust and more.

The charity, now known as Stalybridge Celtic Foundation, will be headed by by four appointed trustees, including Gerald Crossley, Paul Battye, Jane Nelson and Brian Coll.

The aims and objectives of the charity are to provide and assist in the provision of community activities, projects and initiatives, by working with clubs, schools and organisations in the interests of social welfare for recreation or other leisure time occupation of individuals who have need of such facilities.

Factors include youth, age infirmity or disability, financial hardship or social circumstances, with the objective being to improve their life.

Following the launch on Monday, Celtic’s community development officer, Mike Smith, said he was delighted with the accolade. “It’s fantastic; it’s the end of a long, hard road, and it’s taken us a while, but we got over the finishing line in the end, so there’s good things ahead.”

The club’s charitable status will now provide the club with extra resources to help the whole community – something Mike is pleased about. He added: “Within football, from the Manchester United Foundation right down to Plymouth and all across the country, most clubs’ community work is governed by a charity, so it enables us to access funding outside of the football family, and work with external partners and external funders to do more for our local communities.”

As a result of the funding, Mike’s job will now become a lot busier – although he doesn’t mind one bit. He said: “It will make us more accesible to a wider community, as we can do different projects with different money and funding, so it will enable us to reach more people.”

Mike’s efforts to secure charitable status were hailed by chair of the trustees, Gerald Crossley. He said: “The foundation obtained charitable status in July this year, and Mike has been working with us in the community for the last five years. It’s his effort and his work with local people, local organisations and local businesses which has achieved the state we’re in today. We’re delighted that we’re a registered charity, as it gives us an opportunity to approach larger funding bodies and larger organisations, where we can hopefully take our projects to the next stage.”

Future projects include working with the NHS to launch the ‘Get Fit Challenege’. This is essentially aimed at improving the health of men over the age of 40.

The club is also looking to do some community car boot sales at Bower Fold; walking football festivals and corporate six-a-side matches on the pitch; and the club is also looking to expand their Active Goals Schools programme, in order to get more schools involved in extra curricular activity.

However, one of the club’s most popular and successful projects is the Vintage Celtic walking football team. Created in 2014, the squad has racked up numerous trophies and continues to grow in popularity. Brian Coll, who often laces his boots for the squad, says the team has brought a new lease of life to the club. “It’s brought new people into Stalybridge, and it’s been a vehicle to bring a new sponsor on board, who are more than happy with the decision they’ve made. As it grows – and walking football is growing – we hope to do more and more, not just with footballers, but with people who might not have played football, but would just like to get fit.”