Guiseley AFC is not just a football club with activity on match days.
The National League club has a first team playing at the highest level of non-league football in the country but it also has an important team off the field.
The Guiseley AFC Community Foundation was set up by former GAFC Chairman Phil Rogerson, a man who devoted 37 years of his life to the club and who is still driving the Foundation as its Chairman from his retirement base in Cornwall.
The Foundation has a new impetus under its new Community Foundation Development Manager Steve Taylor and a Board of Trustees which includes Father David Pickett, the Rector of St Oswald’s Parish Church, Guiseley, who is the football club’s Chaplain; Coun Graham Latty; Peter Gable, the Chairman of Guiseley and District Lions Club; Mick Glossop, the Chairman of Guiseley AFC Supporters’ Club; and Kinnon North, Foundation supporter since its inception.
The Foundation enjoys 65 per cent match funding for its activities from the National League Trust who are, in turn, supported by the Premier League and the Professional Footballers’ Association.
The Foundation is thus able to run a variety of activities but is required to raise the balance of its funding.
Since Taylor arrived at the club in September he has launched a new Matchday Experience which sees children spend the day with the Foundation at Nethermoor.
They get a behind the scenes tour where they meet the staff and players, including Foundation Player Ambassador Danny Lowe, and have a photograph taken with the club mascot Ossie the Lion.
They have lunch in the clubhouse followed by a football session on the 3G pitch before walking out onto the pitch, pre-match with the Guiseley team before watching the game.
The Foundation has become heavily involved in work with local schools and its coaches have been delivering PE curriculum sessions at Guiseley Infants School and an after school football club at SS Peter & Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Yeadon.
A Little Lions sports club is up and running for 2 – 4 year-olds at Guiseley Theatre on Wednesday from 10 to 11am.
This is aimed at improving balance, co-ordination and social skills with fun games and football skills.
Taylor worked for Sheffield Wednesday for a number of years in a similar position and is continuing an innovative idea he used there by offering sports sessions for children who are Home Educated.
The Foundation has also relaunched Friday Football at Nethermoor on the 3G pitch from 3.45pm to 5pm and is open to boys and girls aged 7 to 14 years.
The Foundation’s School Holiday Soccer Camps continue to be a success having been run for over four years by its coaches Ben Walker, Luke Porritt and Danny Ellis.
Taylor said: “The Foundation has also been working closely with AVSED and we will be looking at potential long term activities with them for the elderly.
“We are hoping to link with club sponsor United Gas & Power (UGP) to provide impartial advice on switching Utility Supplier.”
The Foundation ran its annual collection for the Otley Food Bank at their game against Sutton United when players and spectators contributed a vast amount of groceries and other products.
The Foundation has a number of activities planned for the New Year to increase their involvement in the local community and further afield.
Taylor said: “We will be increasing the number of PE sessions delivered at Guiseley Infants School and this will include a girls only lunchtime session.
“We will also be working with The National League and Premier League and will be applying for funding for the new Premier League Primary Stars initiative.
“This is a programme that helps schools to increase the level of PE and sport in the school, increase teacher confidence to deliver PE to a high standard and also provide classroom support in English and Maths and other skills such as team work. We hope to launch this in the summer term.”
Having joined the management board of the local Children’s Centre, another new initiative will be sports sessions to help them promote a positive and healthy lifestyle in their children.
In the wider community by the end of February the Foundation’s coaches will be delivering football sessions at Wetherby Young Offenders’ Institute.
Of this Taylor said: “This will be for a selected cohort that we will try and help through the avenue of sport and football in particular. If the standards are achieved we will be looking at moving them on to a Level 1 coaching course and possibly providing work experience opportunities.”
The Foundation will also be hosting a National League Schools U-11s tournament with the winning team representing Guiseley AFC at a Regional Final with the eventual winners appearing at Wembley in the National League Promotion Final.
The Foundation will also be looking to establish footballing activity for the over 50s with Taylor saying: “We want to start daytime Walking Football sessions and/or over 50s and 60s football sessions so I am asking people to get in touch with suggestions of times and days they would like them to be held.
“Some men I spoke to said that despite their age they would still like to play proper five-a-side and not walking football so we hope to accommodate both.”
The Foundation continues to reach out into the wider community and in the New Year will be working with Memory Lane to set up a memory cafe for people with dementia.
l If you would like further information about any of the GAFC Community Foundation’s activities then contact Steve Taylor by completing the Contact Form