Alvechurch FC have launched a brand-new walking football scheme thanks to grant funding that helps non-League clubs pursue community projects. 

Funding from the Trident Community Foundation (TCF) has been the "missing piece of the puzzle" for The Pitching In Southern League Premier Central side as they continue to grow their involvement in the local area. 

The funding, launched by Pitching In three years ago, has seen more than £430,000 rewarded to clubs at steps three and four with Alvechurch being only one of 84 clubs to receive it. 

It is a move that the sporting director, Mark Fogarty, is immensely proud of as the team continues to offer a range of footballing options outside the first team. 

Bromsgrove Advertiser: The walking football initiative has been a huge success so far The walking football initiative has been a huge success so far (Image: Beat Media Group)

He said: "If you look at our club over the last two years, we have gone from 13 junior teams to over 70.

"We have got a massive mental health and disability section. A massive women's and girls section now.

"This was a little piece in the jigsaw that was missing, that we wanted to get started with and didn't quite know when that was going to happen. This funding has kick-started us into making this happen." 

Since taking on The Hayes on a 25-year lease at the 20-acre facility in 2017, Alvechurch currently offers five-a-side and futsal along with classrooms for local schools and colleges to use.

The walking football group at Alvechurch started in November last year and is available to people aged 50 and over.

Bromsgrove Advertiser: The group is open those aged 50 and over The group is open those aged 50 and over (Image: Beat Media Group)

Training sessions are free and open to both men and women with physical and mental health benefits for the players involved. 

Alvechurch have appointed the Birmingham County FA's current Inclusive Coach of the Year, Kevin Richmond, to run the scheme with the club hoping to enter teams into league competitions in the future following a positive start to the initiative.

Fogarty added: "It has been fantastic. Although it is early days, we were doing it on a Monday at 4pm and we have had anything from eight and 10 people training.

"We have changed the time to 5pm on Mondays and the interest coming from the different areas of our locality has been really, really good.

"We believe that we will grow it so that eventually we will be able to put our walking football teams into the various leagues."

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