Romans helping holiday foodbank
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.