The deal will extend a partnership that began in December of 2020 and allow the Entain Foundation charitable arm to continue to support the 248 clubs playing in the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues, which together make up the Trident Leagues.
The Entain Foundation will be active in the scheme through ‘Pitching In’, a grassroots sports investment initiative created to provide financial support to ensure the successful operation of the leagues during the pandemic and allow all clubs to engage with local communities and make a positive social impact.
The initiative has grown over the last two years with the launch of the Trident Community Fund (TCF) to help fund community-based projects through a grant application process for the 228 clubs, as well as the Pitching In Volunteer Hub, an online portal to attract volunteers to help fill vacancies at each club.
Since the partnership commenced in December 2020, the TCF has awarded over 65 grants of up to £5,000, supporting programmes such as enabling disadvantaged children to take part in football; youth, women’s and disability coaching schemes; community fitness clubs; first aid and steward training; youth development schemes and; mental health support.
The Pitching In Volunteer Hub was launched in May of this year allowing clubs across the Trident Leagues to post volunteering vacancies on an online portal, with supporters able to search for opportunities either at a specific club or based on their location.
Stuart Pearce, former England international and non-league player with Wealdstone FC player, will continue in his role as Pitching In ambassador as part of the extension.
“This is fabulous news not only for the Pitching In Trident Leagues themselves but for football in general,” Pearce said. “It provides a vital injection of cash to help the leagues to thrive but, perhaps even more importantly, it is helping to bring the clubs and their local communities together.
“The Trident Community Fund is just a brilliant initiative to allow cubs to really connect with their local people while the Volunteer Hub is a real gamechanger for promoting volunteering at the community level.”
Entain chief executive Jette Nygaard-Andersen added: “We are truly proud of what we have achieved with Pitching In and our partnership with the Trident Leagues, particularly in the positive impact it is having on grass roots sports and for social engagement.
“Through the Entain Foundation we are committed to making a positive contribution to grassroots and community sport, which plays such a huge role in the lives of our customers.”
Pitching In Trident League chairs Nick Robinson of the Isthmian League, Mark Harris from the Northern Premier League, and Anthony Hughes from the Southern League, also said: “We couldn’t be more pleased that Entain are extending their Pitching In partnership with us.
“This is truly unlike any other sponsorship that we have been involved in. The entire focus of the programme is around how, together, we can help clubs to develop and deepen their engagement with local communities.”