Sleaford walking footballers get Co-op kit funding boost while supporting disabled youngsters and Ukraine refugees

A walking football club has received a funding boost for new kit while fundraising for disabled teens and Ukrainian conflict victims.

Mick Czopowyj with snails chairman Steve Spick and the Ukrainian shirt raffled off.

Sleaford Snails walking football club were formed in 2017 and joined the Lincolnshire FA during the pandemic, now meeting three mornings a week on the pitches at Better Gym.

Its aims under chairman Steve Spick are to promote better physical and mental health for men and women in the area over 55. As a not-for-profit group is makes donations to local charities too.

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They now have over 35 regular players and as part of Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Champions scheme, they now received a funding award of £625 to provide full football kits to players, having already provided club rain jackets.

Lincolnshire Co-op's Jac Sutherland presents the Community Champion funding to Sleaford Snails.

Ryan Hodson, Senior Community Co-ordinator at Lincolnshire Co-op, said: “Thanks to our members, colleagues, and customers, we raised an incredible £212,265 through our Community Champions scheme during winter, which was split between 259 local community groups and charities.”

“Among them is Sleaford Snails Seniors Football Club, a group who do amazing work in our community – as well as promoting physical and mental wellbeing, they get involved with fundraising activities and provide support to other local groups.”

Club secretary Alan Maddison explained: “Sleaford Snails have already donated funds to the Laffletics Club, run by Thelma Smith, which provides sporting activity for disabled children at the Carre’s Grammar School gym. It is our aim to provide them with more financial support in the future.”

Thelma visited and said: “It is appreciated and we need more funding still. Our ages can start at seven years but we have more mature members at the moment and would like more younger ones.”

Thelma Smith of Sleaford Laffletics with Sleaford Snails treasurer Bill Eaton.

The footballers have also donated to the New Life food bank.

One of the Snails’ players, Mick Czopowyj who is Ukrainian and has family over there, has donated a Ukrainian national team football shirt, which he sourced for the club to raffle off (won by goalkeeper Andy Gray). Proceeds and donations of £400 have gone to a Ukrainian refugee charity.

Sleaford Snails' player of month award was won by Peter Kenneally (right) who received a whisky glass from club chairman Steve Spick (centre), while Andy Gray won the Ukrainian shirt charity raffle (left).