Woking community leaders and one of the UK’s leading ethical medical equipment suppliers have combined to give local sport a shot in the arm by funding eight new football teams for children aged 5 to 18.
Maybury team Woking Tigers, a not-for-profit, volunteer-led club founded in 2010 which already runs three adult football teams, a cricket team and even a Twenty20 cricket league, can now give hundreds of local children the chance to stay fit and healthy thanks to the support of Woking Asian Business Forum, GlucoRx and Surrey County Council.
GlucoRx, the country’s second-largest supplier of quality diabetic products to the NHS, are sponsoring the playing kit for all eight teams, whilst Woking Asian Business Forum, led by Shahid Azeem, provided all of the essential equipment, including goals, footballs, training kit and corner flags.
The equipment was purchased with the assistance of Aldershot Town FC, who, through their relationship with one of the world’s largest sports equipment suppliers Pro-Direct, were able to obtain a substantial discount on equipment with a retail value of over £15,000.
“Our long-term development plan is to engage all residents in our local community,” explained Tigers’ Development Officer, Fezaan Azam. “We hope, by the summer of 2018, to have activities running that can be enjoyed by males, females, youths and seniors. The key aim of this project is to bring our community closer together and have an inclusive environment allowing all local residents to enjoy sport.”
“The year has started very well so far, and we are very happy with our current progress,” continued Tigers Secretary, Shamraiz Akhtar. “I would like to thank the WABF and GlucoRx for supporting us all and offering so much help. We are very grateful for their help. We can now really focus on continuing to expand and involving more females and seniors from the local area. With the funding and kit provided we are in a position to offer our reduced rates but still continue to offer more activities.”
With over three million people already affected by the lifelong disease – a figure that is expected to rise to 4.6 million by 2030 – diabetes treatment now costs the NHS approximately £10 billion per year, 10% of its total budget and the equivalent of £193 million a week.
GlucoRx are working with both Woking Tigers and Aldershot Town FC to raise awareness of the condition and promote preventative measures, such as increased exercise and a healthy diet. “I personally cannot think of any better vehicle to get this message across than football,” says GlucoRx Sales Director, Chris Chapman, who believes that learning about healthy eating and exercise at an early age could prevent Type 2 diabetes and obesity in later life.
“It could be watching or playing football – I know my son Ryan loves nothing more than kicking a ball around on the pitch, hence why I am really pleased to have extended our sponsorship to the Woking Tigers. We hope to really make a difference to our local community, where our HQ is based and where I also live, and hopefully to thousands of lives in the future.”
“Sport gives you confidence, discipline and self-esteem, as well as fitness, good health and vitality,” agreed Anthony Samuels, Vice-Chair of Surrey County Council. “Sport is fully inclusive, regardless of your age, background, ability or disability. One in three young people are obese or overweight, and the cost to the NHS runs into billions. Anyone, anywhere can participate in sport. It is our duty to get everyone active – so do it!”
Woking Asian Business Forum was set-up 10 years ago to help promote and support Asian businesses in the Borough. One of the Forum’s priorities is health and well-being, and through a project called ‘AAHA’ – All About Health Awareness – aim to combat the causes of a variance in life expectancy which stretches to ten years on opposite sides of the Basingstoke Canal.
“We are very pleased to support this fantastic initiative,” said ShahidAzeem, Chairman of both WABF and Aldershot Town FC. “I was extremely impressed with the vision and inclusivity of Fezaan and his team, and look forward to seeing the benefits of increased participation in football in the years to come. We are also extremely grateful to Ray Morgan, Chief Executive of Woking Borough Council, and Green Spaces Development Officer Arran Henderson.
“It is vitally important that everybody in this community works together to promote healthy living and the impact that sport can have on your life – that way we all benefit.”