CCAFC announce joint coaching academy with Spennymoor Town

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Collingwood College Football Club may be the biggest association of their kind in the country with teams running from A to N, but now they can also claim to be more than just a football club thanks to a new initiative with National League North side Spennymoor Town, aimed at students interested in coaching.

The partnership will give Collingwood students the chance to earn their FA Level 1 and Level 2 in Coaching Football qualifications at no extra cost while helping to coach teams from under-6 to under-18 level in Spennymoor’s impressive academy system. Both clubs will fund the coaching badges, which would usually cost £150 and £300, respectively.

“This is a very important development for CCAFC,” president Abe Butterworth told Palatinate. “It’s allowing us to move on from the idea that we are just about football matches at the weekend. We’re striving to be a club that supports our members, giving them platforms to go and better themselves but also one that gives something back to the local community.”

Spennymoor are a north-east club on the rise having achieved three promotions in the past five seasons, and narrowly missed out on promotion to the National League this year when they lost on penalties in the play-off final. CCAFC members will benefit from work experience opportunities in the club’s social media and marketing, finance, mascot work, match day logistics and stewarding departments as part of the agreement.

The new coaching academy is just one of the ways CCAFC are getting involved in the local community. The club’s charity sponsor for the 2019-2020 season is the Sir Stanley Matthews Coaching Foundation (SSMCF), which aims to give young people access to sport, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“A primary aim of CCAFC for the upcoming year, and the next step in its natural progression as a club, is to further its outreach in terms of being involved in the local Durham community,” outreach secretary Callum Elson, who set up the coaching academy with Spennymoor, said. “The partnership with Spennymoor is just one strand of our wider vision, and concentrates on providing students with opportunities further than simply playing football in the college leagues.”

The club’s 24 Hours Of Football in aid of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) raised over £7,500 last year and was named the Best Student Led Event by Durham’s Student Union. This year an even bigger event is planned for 22-23 November with other colleges, disability teams, junior teams and the Vice Chancellor’s ‘dream team’ all taking part for SSMCF.

One of the club’s most notable community initiatives is the upcoming Foodbank 5-a-side League for local teenagers to make use of Collingwood’s state-of-the-art facilities, which will kick off later this term. All donations from the tournament will go to Durham Foodbank, which provides three days’ emergency food to anyone going hungry as part of a nationwide network of foodbanks.

It is clear that CCAFC are not content with just being another college football side, even with 14 teams playing across the leagues.

“These initiatives are important for many reasons,” said Elson. “Not only do we raise crucial funds and awareness for charitable causes, but we make CCAFC more than just a football club – giving members opportunities to better themselves and other people.”

Club president Butterworth said: “At CCAFC we recognise our relative advantage in society and therefore must strive to give something back to others. We have wonderful facilities up at Collingwood and many members who are keen to get involved. We can, and must, use this position to help those that don’t have the same chances as ourselves.”

Image by Toby Hillery

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