A Durham football club won’t let the cold weather stop them from training after being provided with funding for new winter jackets.
Over 130 girls and women train and play for Chester-le-Street Amazons FC, from children as young as four to the full women’s team.
The club was established in 2005 with a single team of nine players aged between eight and ten years old, and despite not scoring a goal for the first three seasons is now attracting more girls than ever before.
Julie Scurfield, who set up the team and is now the club chairperson, admits she had “very little knowledge” of football at the time but saw the benefits playing the game had on her own two sons.
After chairing the Girls League section of the Russell Foster Youth Leagues for a number of years, Julie now also serves on County Durham FA’s Council representing girls and women’s football – all of which she fits around her role as strategic manager for children’s services reform at Durham County Council.
“Amazons has grown massively over the last 12 years, mirroring the huge rise in popularity of girls and women’s football on a national level,” she said.
“It wasn’t too long ago that football was seen as a very male-dominated sport, but our club shows this is no longer the case and we are proud to be providing an opportunity for all who wish to get involved and play the game.
“We value participation over and above silverware but despite that many of our teams have achieved league, cup and tournament success.”
The club also prides itself on its sustainable model, providing opportunities for older players to get involved in coaching to develop new skills, with 50 per cent of the club’s coaches being young female players.
It has now been given £500 each from the neighbourhood budgets of Chester-le-Street councillors Simon Henig and Linda Marshall and £1,000 from Cllr Tracie Smith to put towards winter jackets.
“Having the proper kit allows us to keep training throughout the season and ensures we have a strong and professional-looking club identity when we play our matches across the region,” said Julie.
“As a volunteer-led club we are always extremely grateful for any funding received and we want to thank Cllrs Henig, Marshall and Smith for their financial investment.”