Delight as huge grant is made to good causes

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A FOOTBALL club and a debt advice centre have been given £30,000 by a supermarket chain.

The Bridge Advice Centre, which helps people struggling with debt, and Hayling United Football Club have been awarded the cash thanks to Southern Co-operative’s community support card scheme (SCS).

Every time customers purchase goods in the Elm Grove store using the card, money is donated by the firm to community projects. At the end of each financial year local good causes can submit a bid and a panel of local people decide where the money should go.

The football club, which has 150 members, young and old, male and female, provides training, coaching and matches run by FA and UEFA trained coaches.

The teams play in local and regional leagues and are given training to improve individual skills.

Delighted fundraising manager Richard Blake said: ‘We’re seeking to raise £30,000 over the next year to cover running costs and build a new club house, so this £15,000 from The Southern Co-operative is absolutely amazing and will make a huge contribution to our goal.’

The Bridge Advice Centre is a registered charity and is the local branch of Frontline Debt Advice (UK). It is staffed by volunteers who help people from all walks of life who are struggling with debts and need help completing paperwork relating to financial matters.

They often work in conjunction with other organisations to ensure their clients have as much support as possible to help resolve personal as well as money problems.

Manager John Pitt said: ‘We thank the Southern Co-operative for their support of local communities and for the money this brings to local community projects. We have taken a similar stance of supporting our local area and since starting the work in 2006, have helped over 400 clients with debt advice, benefits advice and form filling.

‘During the current economic climate, our workload has increased as a result of job losses across all sections of society. Every client we see has different money problems, and many may have built up debt over a long period. We see clients on a one-to-one basis, to decide the appropriate course of action.

‘These interviews are backed up with telephone calls, emails, letter writing and form-filling on the clients’ behalf to help them handle their problems.

‘This work continues until matters are resolved. The £15,000 from The Southern Co-operative will enable us to provide a much-needed computer system and will also cover some of our administration costs.’

Applications from local good causes on Hayling Island for the 2012/13 CSC scheme are still being accepted.

There is more information and application forms available in-store.

Go to thesouthernco-operative.co.uk