Councils show support for Stratford Town FC
The chairman of a community-oriented football club has commended the behind-the-scenes support of local councils as television crews head to Stratford to cover an historic tie.
Jed McRory, chairman of Stratford Town FC, has praised Warwickshire County Council and Stratford District Council for helping the club to increase its impact in the community on its way to reaching the FA Cup First Round for the first time in the club’s 80-year history.
The Bards, who sent Boston United out of the competition with a late winner, now await an FA Cup First Round clash against League One side Shrewsbury Town at the Arden Garages Stadium on Sunday, November 7 at 3pm.
The game will be broadcast live on ITV4, and Jed has thanked those who have helped the club on its way to domestic cup success.
Jed’s hometown club faced financial difficulty when he took over as chairman in 2018 with the aim of making it financially stable by turning it into a pillar of the community, and improving relationships with organisations away from the sporting world.
Warwickshire County Council provided support to Jed and his team initially via the Survive, Sustain and Grow Programme.
The club also secured funding to refurbish its 3G training pitches and replace floodlights, while improving transport connections for people in the local area thanks to its enhanced relationships with a variety of organisations across the region.
The club operates as a Community Interest Company (CIC), and while it has boosted matchday attendance and launched successful women’s sides, it has also helped 60 young people in Stratford gain the equivalent of four A-levels via BTEC qualifications whilst playing in a regional education league in the last year.
Its sports education programme is aimed at young people who do not have the required Ucas points to go to university and are less likely to find a job, giving them opportunities to earn a place in higher education and improve their prospects whilst playing competitive matches and learning crucial life skills.
Jed said: “The support we have had from Warwickshire County and Stratford District Councils has been instrumental to the club’s growth in recent years.
“We have seen really inspiring progression with a number of our students going on to study at university, finding employment, or staying with us as we continue our exciting project.
“To see our impact in the community grow as our footballing credentials have risen has been incredible, as we have a huge community focus at the club with a desire to make a real difference to people in the Stratford area.”
Helen Brewster, owner of ATL Solutions, provided one-to-one business support to Jed and Stratford Town FC to improve their links to other local organisations, generate access to funding, and provide strategic advice in the running of a CIC.
She said: “What drives Jed is extremely rare, he has an incredible passion to push the club forward, and their latest achievement on the pitch is a testament to all the hard work behind the scenes.
“We are delighted to have played a role in helping the club achieve such a dramatic turnaround in a relatively short space of time alongside Warwickshire County Council. It shows how businesses of all kinds can benefit from hearing another perspective.”