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Teenager Grange sets up new club
7:00pm Thursday 10th October 2013 in Sport
A DETERMINED Worcestershire teenager has started up his own youth football team to keep rural youngsters active.
The Chantry School pupil Joe Grange, 15, established Lower Teme Lions in the Ambassador Evesham League Under 16s Division.
Grange began mid-week evening training sessions at his Martley school by recruiting regular guest coaches after plenty of telephone calls.
He made presentations to local parish councils and secured a home ground at Berryfields Playing Field, Broadwas, near Worcester.
Grange then spoke to Ted Grizzell, managing director of Malvern-based Zig Zag Coaching, who helped him apply for a £5,000 grant from the Football Foundation’s Grow the Game scheme to start up new clubs.
The busy teenager also bagged kit sponsorship from Cotheridge firm Garden and Hire Spares and formed a committee as well as appointing manager Max Howie, who coaches with Grizzell.
They plan to start teams in other age groups at Lions over the next three years as part of the grant agreement and also offer coaching opportunities to players.
Grange’s mother Samantha Rayner, who is club treasurer, said: “Joe saw a niche for a football team catering for his age group.
“He wanted to play Saturday football and, after trying to find a local team, he realised there weren’t any on the west side of the river.
“Realising that parents really don’t enjoy having to travel over the bridge to the other side of Worcester after work for weekly training sessions, he decided to set about creating his own team.
“He was also aware there was a lack of opportunities for youths from the villages surrounding his school to get involved as many of the teams were located some distance away from the rural areas the teens lived in.”
Grow the Game funding, aided by the Football Association, increases participation by helping clubs to provide opportunities for new players or train support volunteers.
They have awarded 874 grants so far worth around £4.2million to grassroots clubs.
Grange said: “It was excellent to receive this grant from the Football Foundation. It was a much-needed boost and has really helped to get the club off the ground.”
Howie added: “It’s been great to see the progress made and very exciting to be involved in not only setting up a new team but a new club."”
Grizzell said: “I feel privileged to have been able to support Lower Teme through the set-up process and now into their first season within my previous role as Worcestershire FA football development officer.
“The club is driven by young people and is a shining example of how effective they can be for the good of the community.
“It is rare to find such a positive, enthusiastic and development-focused group of 15 to 16-year-olds and I am proud to be part of the club.”