A CLUB that has been promoting grassroots sport for generations has received the royal seal of approval.
Droylsden Youth Centre, the umbrella organisation for Droylsden Juniors Football Club and Droylsden Amateur Boxing Club, is one of four Tameside organisations to have recently received a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services – the highest possible award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and the equivalent to an MBE.
The centre first started out as a youth club in 1963 and has grown from strength to the huge concern it is today – a football club running 28 teams and coaching over 350 players and a boxing club with over 40 members.
The organisation is based in the new £1.3m Droylsden Community and Sports Centre, which boasts its own all-weather astro-turf pitch, in Lewis Road adjacent to the Sunnybank Park football pitches where home matches are played.
More than 70 volunteers regularly give up their time to supporting the clubs and giving local youngsters opportunities to get involved in sport.
Chief Executive Officer Alan Bradbury MBE, who founded the centre alongside boxing club founder Charlie Grice BEM, has devoted 53 years to developing the club.
He said: “It has been fantastic to see the club grow from its humble beginnings to the big club it is now. It’s hard work but I love it – it still gets me to see those four to six -years olds first starting out in the soccer school on Saturday mornings.
“The club is a huge part of the local community – we now have third generation players who are cheered on by grandparents who themselves used to play for the club. Not only are we coaching children in sport, we are setting them up for life - helping to tackle obesity, promoting healthy lifestyles and teaching discipline and how to be good citizens.
“The children also make friends who remain friends for life.
“Winning the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services is massive for the club – it’s a great honour and recognition that we are a well-run organisation having a positive impact on the community.”
For further information on the club see www.droylsdenjuniorsfc.co.uk
The other Tameside organisation to receive the award are: Willow Wood Hospice, Mossley Juniors FC and Ryecroft Hall Community Association. They are all being highlighted as part of the Council’s Proud Tameside campaign, which recognises people, places and services that make a positive difference to the borough and local lives.