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3 Great Causes

A few weeks back we posted saying that we are going to be raising money for 2 clubs and a charitable cause with the goal being £500 to each of them from The Amelie Fund. The money will be raised from our Non-profit online raffles (links in comments).

Having already given out £600 to the Midlothian Sabres, the plan is to re-use the fundraising model over and over again and to raise as much money for the sport as possible.

We very proudly would like to announce the 3 beneficiaries that we will be working to raise the funding for.

First up we have the charitable cause, we have gone with a movement that is already part of the Britball landscape and is constantly growing – Lifting the Lid. Run by Wayne Drew of the Tamworth Phoenix, this mental health focussed org aim to promote awareness and create a dialogue within the American Football Community.

Specifically, the £500 will go on an initiative to get a group of Coaches/Well-being Officers trained on suicide-specific skill areas.

In Wayne’s own words:

I’ve been planning on hosting a suicide intervention course for coaches/wellbeing officers around the Midlands, hoping to make this something that can be replicated nationally. This would give these individuals the necessary de-escalation skills required to provide guidance and suicide first aid to a person at risk in ways that meet their individual safety needs. Also it would enable the coaches to identify the key elements of an effective suicide safety plan and the actions required to implement it as well as other important aspects of suicide prevention including life-promotion and self-care. This money would enable 16 attendees on the course and if we could get it filled that would be 16 coaches who could potentially help save a life.

One of the club’s receiving £500 will be the Iceni Spears, this small women’s team based in Norwich have come up with a fantastic recruitment campaign that they hope will see them compete in the 2019 Sapphire Series. They called the campaign ‘Find Your Fit’ as they targeted women who felt they were too unfit, too small, too big or too slow to play sports. The great news is that this fantastic spin on a standard recruitment campaign worked and the Spears now have created another headache for themselves that they will use the money to solve. Vice Chairwoman, Louie Saxton-Houston explains:

This recruitment drive has returned a range of sizes, shapes and abilities, and has been particularly helpful for building our O Line! Unfortunately, we’ve found this presents new challenges in terms of supplying kit. Our smallest girls just don’t fit the smallest women’s pads on the market, and the biggest girls don’t fit the biggest on offer. Very few outlets manufacture lowers suitable for women’s hips and thighs, and we find ourselves struggling for solutions.

We would use the funding to purchase smaller and larger kit – including junior pads, women’s lowers and XL helmets. Sadly, it doesn’t reflect well on us to preach inclusion for all sizes if we then struggle to equip those who don’t fit the narrow mould on the market for women. This funding would make so many of our players feel more comfortable, welcome and (most importantly) safe.

The other club to get £500 will be the Farnham Knights. This donation to the Farnham Knights is one which is symbolic of everything the fund which will provide it represents. The Knights’ support of Gridiron Hub founder, Steve Price, was absolutely overwhelming when he lost his daughter Amelie to Meningitis in June last year. Steve chose to name The Amelie Fund after her to ensure that her name lived on and was attached to something positive. This positivity is something that Gridiron Hub now wishes to pass on to all of the clubs and organisations that they offer grants to.

A week after Amelie’s death the Knights had a game against the Bristol Aztecs on Father’s Day and it was arranged between both clubs that a minute of silence was observed prior to the coin toss. The Knights players all wore Football Towels with Amelie’s initials on them. After the game a number of the Bristol Aztecs organisation, who had played against Steve many times over his years with the Knights, asked that their condolences be passed on.

It is in difficult times that people need help, support, and kindness – and that is what these donations represent, and that is why this symbolic donation to the Knights means so much to not only Steve, but to all of us at Gridiron Hub.

The Knights players and coaches also attended Amelie’s funeral service supporting Steve and Amelie’s mother, Bex, when they needed it the most.

Steve had the following to say:

The whole thing brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it and it feels fitting for us to offer some money from The Amelie Fund to the Farnham Knights considering all they have done and continue to do for my family. We are involved in an amazing sport that brings groups of people together like no other. I’m pleased to be able to make this gesture of appreciation to the Knights in the name of my beautiful baby girl. This is not like every other type of grant which we will make from the fund. This is thank you.

The Knights aim to use the money to further their ‘rebirth’ plans. Player Rep Drew Welsh described this objective in greater detail:

The Farnham Knights are currently in a period of growth and rebirth. With new management and a new team ethos we are looking to build the team into a Britbowl contender from the ground up. Key to this ethos is the development of home-grown talent, as opposed to the acquisition of Premiership players. Its important for us to have enough of the right type of equipment (Tackle bags, helmets, cones, ladders, etc) when new players turn up at the club. This money will allow us to refresh some of our more worn equipment and also purchase more of the same.

Please help us raise the funds for these three great causes by nabbing yourself a few tickets from our two ongoing raffles!

Thank you all for the ongoing support afforded not only to the fund, but to the British American Football community.

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