Club gets kick out of changing behaviour
11:09am Fri Feb 15, 2013
A football club that keeps boys off the streets has been provided with new training equipment and kit.
Goalkeeper Jamie Keenaghan makes a save during a training session with Hawtonville Lions FC.
Goalkeeper Jamie Keenaghan makes a save during a training session with Hawtonville Lions FC.

The Nottinghamshire county councillor for the area, Mr Keith Girling, was so impressed by the project on Newark’s Hawtonville Estate that he dipped into his community fund and donated £950 to Hawtonville Lions FC.

The money has paid for club jackets, goal nets, footballs, water bottles, a first aid kit, stop watches, whistles, and training aids such as cones.

The Football In The Community project started after a member of the public approached Phil and Gemma Gosling last September as they were having a kick-around with their sons and step-sons.

The couple, who had not long moved to the area from Bilsthorpe, were approached after a similar project had finished, leaving young boys on the estate with little to do.

Both run the club on a voluntary basis.

Mr Girling, who visited the club on Saturday, said: “What appealed to me was that this was people from the community running it.

“It’s a great initiative and something that they are doing themselves because there is a need.

“It’s having a lot of impact already. I’m convinced it will grow because it’ll be endorsed by the lads who take part and they’ll encourage their mates.

“It’s a very good alternative to standing around on street corners and causing trouble.”

Hawtonville Lions, which is endorsed by the sports development team at Newark and Sherwood District Council, have 14 players.

Mr Gosling is head coach and his wife acts as secretary and first aider.

The boys, who are aged eight to 14, cannot enter a league as they don’t fit into one age category.

Mrs Gosling said all ages and abilities were catered for.

“Some of the boys aren’t happy unless they are kicking a ball,” she said.

“Others won’t leave the house unless they are coming to play.

“It keeps them off the streets, keeps them out of trouble and really boosts their confidence. We can see a change in behaviour.”

The club meets at the Windsor Road pitches from 10am-noon every Saturday. Once a boy has attended five times he receives a team jacket and is eligible for the club’s rewards scheme, which includes trips bowling or to watch Mansfield Town or Nottingham Forest play.

Players contribute £1 a week in subscriptions.

Further donations totalling hundreds of pounds have been received from Magnus CofE School and through the Bailey Bridge Charity Shop.

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