Spennymoor Town FC has agreed a deal with East Durham College (EDC) to take its youth football offer to a new level.
Spennymoor Town Youth FC has taken huge strides forward in recent years with National League Trust membership and FA Charter Standard Community Club status back in May 2020. Together, these accreditations demonstrate the highest level of youth football provision in grass roots sport.
The partnership will see the academy, the ladies team and the first team move from their current training and base at Tudhoe to the high-quality facilities at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus in the summer and Peterlee Campus in the winter. The youth football club’s matches will also be played at these facilities.
The move will provide the club with long-awaited changing facilities, improved pitches, artificial 3G provision, an indoor sports hall, more secure parking and dedicated strength and conditioning suites. Crucially, the partnership with East Durham College will introduce exciting new educational pathways and courses to help young people learn more about sport and prepare them for further education and working life.
The deal has been agreed as part of a wider employment and education project taking place with Chief Executive Brad Groves’ company Great Annual Savings Group (GAS); the academy’s main sponsor this season.
Mr Groves said: “The College and our team at GAS have been working out the details for some time on a wider plan to boost employment opportunities in the region at a critical time. I am thrilled that it is now coming to fruition and is creating more prospects for the young people in Spennymoor Town Youth FC.
“We have spoken publicly for the last 12 months about the need for changing and parking facilities on the Tudhoe training site for the welfare and safety of our players. It is a critical next step as we develop all areas of the football club.
“Unfortunately, discussions with Durham County Council, who own the site, resulted in no support. Coupled with the forthcoming demolition of part of the Tudhoe site for housing, we were forced to look elsewhere to find a solution for our young players, otherwise we would have been forced to close the academy.
“This led us to conversations with East Durham College, who immediately recognised the social value Spennymoor Town is creating in the County Durham area and wanted to be involved. The facilities at Houghall and Peterlee are the best around in grassroots sport and the players will see huge benefit from them in terms of their development, welfare and overall enjoyment of football.
“The educational pathways EDC will offer mean that our players will be able to link their passion for football with a boost to their employability and academic aspirations through high-quality provision.
“The development over the last two years has been significant, as recognised by national footballing authorities and pro clubs. I am proud of the level the academy has reached.”
Suzanne Duncan, Principal and Chief Executive of EDC, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with such a highly successful club with an ambitious vision for local young people and our community.
“Supporting and developing grass roots football has been an important part of East Durham College’s mission for over two decades now. The College has built up a fantastic reputation for its Sports offer and particularly its Sports Academies.
“We are very proud to be associated with such an important community club and wish them every success both on and off the pitch.”
Chris English, Curriculum Director of Professional Studies at EDC, said: “This is a fantastic partnership and one which will provide young people from the wider community fantastic opportunities to gain academic qualifications and open doors to a variety of exciting career destinations.
“We have first-class sporting facilities and pitches here at EDC, of which many professional football clubs would be envious. We are delighted to offer Spennymoor Town the opportunity to benefit from them.”
Andy Lowe, Head of Academy at Spennymoor Town FC, said: “Spennymoor Town Youth FC provides an offer of great depth and quality for an incredibly affordable price.
“We provide free kit; tracksuits; mascot experiences; safeguarding expertise; health and safety; age-specific and position specific coaching from UEFA A and B licensed coaches; links with the first team and other professional clubs in the region; free presentation evenings at Ramside Hall; and now the highest quality premises and facilities in grass roots sport.
“On top of this, the club is now improving its young people’s employment prospects through education pathways in the North East. There is no other grassroots football academy that can offer so much.
“The move will be better for our parents too. The new premises offer better parking and Houghall Campus has an excellent catering facility for teas, coffees and refreshments.
“This is an exciting development on our plan for the club and will have a huge positive impact on our players and the families we work with.”
The new training and match arrangements will take effect from week commencing 2nd November 2020, subject to the latest guidance on Covid-19 from the Government and Durham FA.