A HOMEGROWN charity dedicated to supporting city cancer sufferers is gearing up to launch its own shop.
Portsmouth-founded Football For Cancer will officially open its own store on Wednesday, after nine years of operating without a base.
The non-profit organisation will set up shop at High Street, Cosham – selling a vast range of sporting memorabilia and goods.
Football For Cancer board trustee Gavin Stockley says the launch will mark a big day for the charity.
He said: ‘This is really exciting for us.
‘We had been thinking about this prospect for two or three years – it was always part of our growth plan.
‘We meet regularly but until now we have not had a base to do that.
‘We are finally taking the plunge.’
Football For Cancer (FFC) was officially registered as a charity two years ago.
Through a host of annual football tournaments, sporting events, raffles and a charity skydive, the organisation has raised more than £550,000 since it was established in 2008.
At least £300,000 of this sum has been donated to local causes fighting cancer, including The Tom Prince Cancer Trust, Rowans Hospice, The Rosemary Foundation and Naomi House and Jacksplace.
FFC uses remaining proceeds to provide financial support to local families affected by cancer.
Mr Stockley said: ‘We offer families quick grants of up to £500, listening to any requests within reason.
‘Historically, this has been used to provide a specialist bed for patients, or even a small local holiday.
‘Sadly everyone is affected by cancer in some way, so our job is to do anything we can to make it easier for these people.
‘Our new shop will enable us to welcome visitors, lend a listening ear to those who need help or just take people through our grant process when the worst has struck.
‘We want to create a support network in our local community.’
Having a permanent base brings FFC a step closer to its ultimate goal, says Gavin.
‘We have always thought about the future and we have always said, one day, we would like to be the registered charity for the Premier League.’
Football For Cancer’s official shop launch will take place on Wednesday at 5pm, with pro-darts player Simon Whitlock making a guest appearance.
The organisation’s next big event will see cast members from Channel 4’s Hollyoaks get together at Five Heads Park, Horndean for a charity football match.
To learn more or book tickets to the match on Sunday, August 20 visit ffcevents.com.