Portsmouth Dreadnoughts have obtained a £10,000 grant from Sport England to help with the re-development of the academy.
Sam Guillen the Academy Chairman gave me an insight into the process of getting the grant and how the academy looks to move onward.
The Academy started its revamp in October 2018, with Sam and Georgia Teague the Women’s Team Chair setting forward a plan to get the Academy up and running. Portsmouth applied for the grant through AFD Limited, who specialise in obtaining grants. AFD Limited gave advice on how to manage the bid.
The Academy itself had to borrow tackle bags and cones, so getting the grant has really helped the club move in the right direction. The money from the grant can be used to help the club buy pads and helmets, giving players the opportunity to put on the kit and really learn the game.
The club is always looking for new members of staff wherever it is part of the coaching staff or helping with the admin. If you’re local to the Portsmouth area and want to get in touch, either using the email, [email protected] or through the team website. The more staff that can help the better, Sam is hoping that the Academy can grow and be a place for young talent in the south to develop.
The Academy has two teams at the moment, with an U19s contact team and U12s flag team. The Academy hope to grow these two age groups, to then add in an U16s contact team as it develops. The U19s team are aiming to enter the BAFA leagues as soon as the 2019 season. With 15 kids attending each week, the club has already established a solid base, with plenty of room to grow and expand.
The Academy is already starting to help prompt American Football throughout the schools around the local area, having held taster days at local colleges and senior schools, whilst also hosting the Portsmouth JagTag programme in conjunction with a local charity, Active Communities Network . The project has grown over the last couple of months and the academy are honoured that the Jacksonville Jaguars chose them to bring the initiative to the local schools. You can find the academy running JagTag at the Charter Academy in Portsmouth every Monday afternoon.
All in all, the grant is really going to help the academy to continue to expand. With the academy already having a structure heading forward and thriving projects such as JagTag, the South of England has another programme to help grow the sport at the grass roots level.