Sports betting and gaming group Entain has announced a multi-year extension of its community sports investment-based partnership with the Trident Leagues. The company is set to provide "critical" funding in the coming years, backed by the Entain Foundation under the "Pitching In" banner for the 248 clubs that make up the Northern Premier, Isthmian and Southern Leagues. These leagues make up steps three and four of the English league system.
Initially launched in 2020, the Pitching In partnership was specifically created to provide the financial investment required "to not only ensure the successful operation of the leagues through the Covid-19 pandemic, but to enable individual clubs to engage with their local communities and make a positive social impact."
The Pitching In partnership has been designed from the ground up to deepen links between clubs and their local communities, Entain explains. The delivery of this aim has been supported by two major initiatives: the Trident Community Fund (“TCF”) and the Pitching In Volunteer Hub, both of which will see further investment as the partnership continues.
In December 2020, Entain became the founding partner of the TCF, investing GBP 150,000 every year specifically to enable clubs to engage in a wide range of community-based projects and invest in their local areas. To date, over 65 grants of up to GBP 5,000 have been made with a focus on strengthening community relations.
Projects include programs to enable disadvantaged children to participate in football; youth, women’s and disability coaching schemes; community fitness clubs; walking football for older generations; first aid and steward training; youth development schemes and; mental health support, and more.
In May, Entain unveiled the Pitching In Volunteer Hub, an online portal aimed to become a one-stop-shop for every Trident League club to connect football fans with potential volunteers. It provides a simple web-based interface through which clubs are able to post volunteering vacancies, while fans can search for available opportunities either at a specific club or based on their location.
Entain is proud to announce the extension of our partnership with the @PitchingIn Trident Leagues:— Entain (@EntainGroup) August 3, 2022
👕 Extending support for grassroots clubs
💜 Helping clubs deepen community relationships with their local communities
Find out more: https://t.co/TqzciY7QrN
Stuart Pearce, former England legend and captain, who spent over five years in non-league football as a Wealdstone FC player, will continue to serve as the Pitching In ambassador. Commenting on the launch, Pearce said: “This is fabulous news not only for the Pitching In Trident Leagues themselves but for football in general."
"It provides a vital injection of cash to help the leagues to thrive but, perhaps even more importantly, it is helping to bring the clubs and their local communities together. The Trident Community Fund is just a brilliant initiative to allow cubs to really connect with their local people while the Volunteer Hub is a real game changer for promoting volunteering at the community level," Pearce added.
Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen added: “We are truly proud of what we have achieved with Pitching In and our partnership with the Trident Leagues, particularly in the positive impact it is having on grassroots sports and for social engagement."
Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen
“Through the Entain Foundation we are committed to making a positive contribution to grassroots and community sport, which plays such a huge role in the lives of our customers," she concluded.
In a joint statement, the Pitching In Trident League Chairs – Nick Robinson, Isthmian League), Mark Harris (Northern Premier League) and Anthony Hughes (Southern League) – said: “We couldn’t be more pleased that Entain are extending their Pitching In partnership with us. This is truly unlike any other sponsorship that we have been involved in. The entire focus of the programme is around how, together, we can help clubs to develop and deepen their engagement with local communities. "