New Junior Bards scheme launched by Stratford Town to get children back into sport
STRATFORD Town have launched a new junior season ticket drive to not only attract the next generation of fans to the club, but to get youngsters back involved in sport post-lockdown.
Chairman Jed McCrory told the Herald that the Junior Bards initiative has resulted in around 13,500 season tickets being distributed across 45 schools in the Stratford district.
A further 1,500 season tickets are also available for those pupils who are home-schooled.
The season tickets will allow juniors under the age of 16 the chance to watch home games at the Arden Garages Stadium free of charge.
The tickets will not be valid for cup games, though, because money raised at the gate has to be split with the away team.
Those who live in other areas of the district and cannot travel to Stratford Town will be encouraged to go out and support other local clubs such as Alcester Town and Shipston Excelsior.
But the initiative is not all about attracting new fans, it’s also about getting boys and girls back into playing sport.
As part of the drive into schools, McCrory told the Herald that the club’s A- and Pro-licence coaches, as well as first-team coach Paul Davis, will be providing extra coaching sessions at those schools to boost sport participation and give children a chance to join the Bards.
“We’ve got to get kids back into sport and enjoying sport. We’ve got to get them away from computers where issues with county lines, social skills and mental health can arise,” said McCrory.
“We’re encouraging children and families to go out and cheer on their local team.
"Everyone is invited to come down and watch Stratford Town, but that’s subject to the ground being at full capacity, which is around 3,000.
“However, if children cannot make it to Stratford Town then we will encourage them to go and support their closest local club because the time has come now for the community to get behind its local clubs.
“This Junior Bards initiative has been totally funded by the club and it has been done to give something back to the community.
"We’re hoping people now will come and support this club as we drive to give the district a football team to be proud of.”
McCrory added: “It’s not just about football, though. We have table tennis at the club, 11 new girls’ teams and an open-age women’s team, a youth club and archery for girls.
“All ages and genders are welcome at Stratford Town, but if they can’t come to us we will support them to go to their other clubs.
“If there are children in Alcester and Shipston that can’t come to us, we will get in touch with Alcester Town and Shipston Excelsior so they can enjoy sport with them instead.
“We’re keen to get children back into sport and away from the dangers of the internet and social media.
"The club will commit to running the Junior Bards scheme every year as we strive to make improvements to the club to make it family-friendly and a club for local people.”