Entain and the Trident Leagues Announce Community Foundation Grant Offers to 27 Football Clubs

Entain’s “Pitching In” programme and the three Trident Leagues (The Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues) today announced that it was making its first grant offers to 27 football clubs in England and Wales from the newly created Trident Community Foundation.

The Trident Community Foundation, launched in December as part of Pitching In’s landmark grassroots sport investment programme, met for the first time in February to consider applications from Trident League Clubs. A wide range of vital projects to help Trident League clubs resume and revive their roles within their communities have formed the basis of successful applications.

In total 27 clubs have been offered grants of up to £4,000 from the opening set of allocations, with a focus on re-engaging the clubs with communities who have been denied the chance to play or watch live football for most of the past year. This is the first wave of grants to be approved by the Trident Community Foundation and there will be further grants made available from this season’s earmarked £150,000 fund donated by Ladbrokes’ owner, Entain, via its own Entain Foundation.

The Trident Community Foundation includes representatives of the Northern Premier League, The Southern League and The Isthmian League, two representatives from Entain (Ladbrokes) representatives and the Non-League Paper editor-in-chief David Emery, as Chairman.

The Pitching In Southern League is home to 16 of the successful clubs at this stage.

The Southern League vice-chairman Anthony Hughes was delighted with the response from member clubs:

“It has been phenomenal. We ended up receiving 37 applications and we were overwhelmed by the response. The difficult part was allocating the funds as all the projects were worthy.

“We have tried to reward a variety of applications that are creative and innovative, covering as many different facets of the community as possible. It has been such a difficult time over the last year and everyone is looking forward to being able to get people back together.

“This gives us the first impetus to start looking ahead to when things open up again.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel and getting these projects off the ground will be the start of clubs getting back in amongst their communities.”

Creating or expanding opportunities for women, children and disabled footballers provide the basis of several approved bids, while Poole Town and Workington are set to focus on social provision and increasing safe participation in sport for people living in deprived areas.

Not all the proposals are football-based, with Merthyr Town and Merstham among those who hope to use the funds to advance mental health initiatives and Newcastle Town, one of six Pitching In Northern Premier League clubs to be offered a grant, aiming to expand a food bank scheme.

Pitching In Northern Premier League chairman Mark Harris, said today “We were very pleased with not just the amount but the quality of the applications we received.

“Through forces totally beyond our control, one of the tasks facing every club in non-league football is to re-establish themselves in their local community.

“The Trident Community Foundation is a great way to help clubs do that as we try to start returning to some degree of normality.

“We have to collectively remind our local communities of the important role non-league football plays, and what better way to do that than through community-facing activities.”

Pitching In Isthmian League chairman Nick Robinson believes the grants will provide a timely morale-boost in the wake of a second consecutive league season being curtailed.

“This is the time to be giving good news,” he said. “It is the honey to go with the bitter pill.

“One of our fears is that spectators have got out of the habit being involved with local clubs, so we want to be able to breathe life into this – it’s not just football, it’s football with a real community effort.

“The principles behind the various projects are brilliant and it’s vital to engage youngsters, in particular, to get the names of the clubs and leagues into their psyche.”

Pitching In ambassador Stuart Pearce knows all about the value of the non-league community from his early days at Wealdstone and hopes this will be the springboard for a vast array of projects to take off. The former England skipper, 58, said:

“These clubs will have a vital role to play in the health and wellbeing of society when restrictions ease.

“Initiatives like this will show the true meaning of Pitching In and strengthen existing bonds within communities across the country.

“I would like to congratulate those who have been successful – and this is just the start. I look forward to seeing these initiatives come to life and more ideas come in.”

Pitching In spokesperson, Ladbrokes PR Director, Simon Clare added: “When we launched our Pitching In sponsorship of the Trident Leagues, our ambition was for Entain and our Ladbrokes brand to make a real difference to grassroots and non-elite sport, and we are thrilled to be a founding partner of the Trident Community Fund.

“This is only the start, and yet already we are inspired and enthused by the variety and nature of the projects that have been proposed by the Trident league clubs. We can’t wait to see these projects land in, and make a difference, to communities across England and Wales in the months ahead, at a time when they are needed most”



List of Clubs offered grants by the Trident Community Foundation

Northern Premier League
Newcastle Town FC, Marine FC, Workington FC, Scarborough FC, Lincoln United FC, Pontefract Colliers FC.

Isthmian League
Canvey Island FC, Carshalton Athletic FC, Hastings United FC, Merstham FC, Whitstable Town FC

Southern League
Barnstaple Town FC, Basingstoke Town FC, Coalville Town FC, Corby Town FC, Dorchester Town FC, Gosport Borough FC, Hendon FC, Merthyr Town FC, Metropolitan Police FC, Poole Town FC, Redditch United FC, St Ives FC, St Neots Town FC, Taunton Town FC, Weston-SuperMare FC, Winchester City FC

The Trident Community Foundation

  • The Trident Community Foundation has been set up by the three Trident Leagues (the Southern, Isthmian and Northern Premier Leagues) and Pitching In (set up by ENTAIN to provide grassroots sport investment)
  • The 228 football Clubs playing in the three Trident Leagues will be able to apply for grants of up to £5,000 to help fund a variety of different community-based projects.
  • David Emery, editor of the Non-League paper, is to be the first Independent Chairman of the TCF Board. The TCF Board will include representatives of the three Trident leagues and two representatives of ENTAIN Group.

The Trident League Partnership (launched on 3rd September 2020)

  • The Pitching In Investment Programme has become the Official partner of the Northern Premier, Southern and Isthmian Leagues which make up the Trident leagues at levels seven and eight of the English football pyramid (steps 3 and 4 of the National League System) in a multi-year agreement

The Pitching In Isthmian League

  • The Isthmian League was founded in 1905 and covers London, the East and South East of England with 82 Clubs across 4 divisions at Steps 3 and 4 of the FA National League System
    There are 22 clubs in the Isthmian Premiership and the champions of the 2018/2019 season were Dorking Wanderers
  • Worthing were in first position when the 2019/20 season was terminated on 26 March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic; however, they were not officially recognised as champions

The Pitching In Northern Premier League

  • The Northern Premier League was founded in 1968 and covers all Northern England and the northern/central areas of the Midlands.
  • There are 61 clubs across the Premier Division (Division One North West and Division One South East which make up the Northern Premier League
  • The Premier Division champions for the 2018/19 season were Farsley Celtic with South Shields top of the league when the 2019/20 season was terminated on 26thMarch 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic

The Pitching In Southern League

  • The Southern League was founded in 1894 and covers the Midlands and South of England and Wales
  • There are 84 clubs which are divided into four divisions; Premier Division Central, Premier Division South, Division One Central and Division One South
  • The Premier Division central champions for the 2018/19 season were Kettering Town with Weymouth champions of the Premier Division South. Peterborough Sports were top of the Central Premier and Truro City top of the South Premier when the 2019/20 season was terminated on 26thMarch 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic

Pitching In Partnership With SportsAid (Launched 27th September 2020)

  • Pitching In announced on 27thSeptember 2020 that through its partnership with SportsAid, it is supporting 51 young British athletes over the next twelve months, providing financial support, recognition and personal development.
  • Notable beneficiaries of GVC’s partnership in 2019/20 include archer Eleanor Piper, rifle shooter Ruth Mwandumba, track and field star Joel Clarke-Khan, para table tennis player Craig Allen and wheelchair basketball talent Ross Davidson
  • A total of 12 recipients of support in 2019 have continued on the programme with GVC in 2020
  • July saw Cheyanne Evans-Gray join the 2020 cohort, the sprinter, who competes for Croydon Harriers and set a new British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championships record over 60m this year, balances training with a job at one of GVC’s Ladbrokes betting shops in Croydon
  • The young athletes will be following in the footsteps of legendary figures such as Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Mo Farah, Dame Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds OBE – all of whom received SportsAid support – and more recent beneficiaries including Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Peaty MBE

About Entain plc

Entain plc (LSE:ENT) is a FTSE100 company and is one of the world’s largest sports-betting and gaming groups, operating both online and in the retail sector. The Group owns a comprehensive portfolio of established brands; Sports Brands include bwin, Coral, Crystalbet, Eurobet, Ladbrokes, Neds and Sportingbet; Gaming Brands include CasinoClub, Foxy Bingo, Gala, Gioco Digitale, partypoker and PartyCasino. The Group owns proprietary technology across all of its core product verticals and in addition to its B2C operations provides services to a number of third-party customers on a B2B basis. The Group has also entered into a joint-venture with MGM Resorts to capitalise on the sports-betting and gaming opportunity in the US. The Group is tax resident in the UK with licenses in more than 20 countries, across five continents.

For more information see the Group’s website: www.entaingroup.com