Ro­mans help­ing hol­i­day food­bank

Bath Chronicle - - SPORT - Henry Bur­ridge Sports Writer @Hjbur­ridge | 01225 322264 henry.bur­[email protected]­plc.com

Bath City are a com­mu­nity club in more than just own­er­ship. Since the Big Bath City Bid’s suc­cess in 2016 and the full switch to com­mu­nity own­er­ship early the fol­low­ing year, the club and those be­hind it have made many moves to sup­port the lo­cal area and char­i­ties. And City’s lat­est ini­tia­tive is fit­ting this hol­i­day sea­son; the club are or­gan­is­ing a col­lec­tion for Bath Food­bank, just in time for Christ­mas. But there’s a twist - with fes­tive items sought to pro­vide a Christ­mas gift. Or­gan­iser Jon Blain ex­plained: “It’s been 18 months since we’ve been a com­mu­nity owned club, we thought we should do some­thing to help out the lo­cal Tw­er­ton com­mu­nity and given that the food­bank is over the road, we thought it would be nice to col­lect some­thing that’s not just stan­dard value beans, et cetera.

“We ac­tu­ally wanted to try and do some­thing a bit nicer for the com­mu­nity at Christ­mas, so we thought a Christ­mas food­bank col­lec­tion would be a good thing to do. “We went from there, asked the club if they wanted to do it and they said yes. “It’s Christ­mas time and we should be try­ing to help and do some­thing more for Tw­er­ton, and try and make ev­ery­thing a lit­tle bit bet­ter for ev­ery­one.”

Dona­tions can be made in Char­lie’s Bar at this week­end’s game against Con­cord Rangers, as well as the club shop at other times. Blain added: “We’re look­ing for your more lux­u­ri­ous items; mince pies, Christ­mas pud­dings, Christ­mas choco­lates - coins or a box of He­roes - some­thing to make peo­ple in the lo­cal com­mu­nity that are strug­gling see that peo­ple do ac­tu­ally care, and we want to do some­thing a bit nicer for them. “If any­one wants to drop any­thing off at any points, the col­lec­tion boxes are al­ways here at Tw­er­ton Park.

“But it’s par­tic­u­larly aimed at the Con­cord game on De­cem­ber 8, then Rose Cot­tage [a Tw­er­ton com­mu­nity cen­tre] are go­ing to come over and get it. “Any point peo­ple can bring in through­out the sea­son if they’re do­ing their shop­ping and feel like they want to get some­thing else to help peo­ple out; it’s al­ways wel­come.” But there is plenty more go­ing on for the club. One of those other projects is Dream Big, formed ear­lier this year by lo­cal res­i­dents to build chil­dren’s self-worth through sport and other ac­tiv­i­ties, as well as en­cour­ag­ing co­he­sion among the lo­cal Tw­er­ton pop­u­la­tion. And the club have jumped right in to help­ing out. Ro­mans boss Jerry Gill - who took on the Chel­tenham Half Marathon to raise funds for two char­i­ties in Septem­ber - has been run­ning weekly foot­ball ses­sions with young­sters and par­ents. The project has also re­ceived help from the Bath City FC Foun­da­tion. “I’ve been in­volved since last sea­son,” Gill, pic­tured, said. “It’s about do­ing some work in and around the Tw­er­ton ar­eas with some of the more de­prived ar­eas, if you like, with some of the chil­dren and sin­gle-par­ent fam­i­lies, and some of them that have got two par­ents, ob­vi­ously; fam­i­lies that don’t earn quite as much money as peo­ple would like, and find it dif­fi­cult to get them into sports clubs. “It’s through some fund­ing through the Foun­da­tion as well. “I re­ally en­joy do­ing that, it’s up at Pen­nyquick Park and we just have fun. It’s nice for the young chil­dren to come out and the par­ents as well who join in, and they have fun as well. That’s im­por­tant. “We’re a com­mu­nity club and it’s im­por­tant that we con­tinue to do that work in the com­mu­nity, try and get more peo­ple at Tw­er­ton but show what kind of club we were as well.” Closer links to the area, as well as at­trac­tive foot­ball and on-pitch suc­cess, have driven up crowds at Tw­er­ton Park, with the av­er­age now over 900. It’s a far cry from as soon as 2015, as Blain re­calls. He said: “I re­mem­ber few years back we came to a game with 270 against Farn­bor­ough where Nick Mc­cootie scored four. “You were there think­ing ‘we’ve not got much chance here if this is the crowd in for a league game.’ “You look around now, the crowd is get­ting big­ger and big­ger, the ground looks fuller, and it’s nice. “Ev­ery­one likes com­ing here; it’s a proper foot­ball ground, but it is bet­ter when peo­ple are ac­tu­ally here. “It makes it look bet­ter, ev­ery­one’s hap­pier, there’s more of a buzz and it’s more of a thing peo­ple should be get­ting be­hind.” Last month Gill and a num­ber of club rep­re­sen­ta­tives at­tended the Bath Sports Awards, where the City boss pre­sented a gong and took part in a Q&A along­side rugby and Olympic stars. “That’s re­ally good for our club,” Gill said. “I was there, John In­verdale hosted, and it was a priv­elege to present an award as well, and also to go up as part of a panel for a Q&A. “We are get­ting recog­nised as a big force in the city now; it’s not just talk­ing about the rugby and the ath­letes up at Bath Uni, it’s about the foot­ball club as well. “The word’s spread­ing on us and that’s what we want to do. We’re pro­duc­ing a prod­uct out there and the club’s mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion and get­ting in­vited along to these things, it can only be good.” Bath City’s post­poned trip to Slough Town will now take place on Tues­day, Jan­uary 8 (7.45pm), at Ar­bour Park. Next Tues­day’s re­ar­ranged home game against Bil­ler­icay Town will kick-off at 7.30pm.

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