Swindon Town have teamed up with the North Wilts Youth Football League to help inspire the next generation of Robins fans.
In line with our Schools Ticket Initiative that was launched last week, the Football Club have also begun efforts to hand out free tickets to as many clubs in the North Wilts Youth Football League as possible.
That effort began last week when we went to Highworth Town Juniors to hand out 300 tickets for our fixture against Port Vale, while we also dished out 300 tickets for our next home game against Colchester United to children and parents.
Town Owner Clem Morfuni was present at Highworth last week to tour the facilities and meet the different age groups, taking time out to pose for pictures with players and coaches of all age groups.
After that, Clem and CEO Rob Angus took part in a Question & Answer session with Highworth Town Juniors Chairman Mark Collett, where a number of different topics about the Football Club and the future were answered.
It was just the start in what will be a concerted effort to get out to different clubs throughout the North Wilts Youth Football League and beyond, including across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire, as we continue to try and encourage the next generation of football fans to support their local team.
Mark Collett, Highworth Town Junior's Chairman, said: "Highworth Town Junior Football Club would like to thank Clem and Rob for popping out to the club on Saturday and spending some time with us. It was a honour and privilege to be able to have the opportunity to show them our facilities and discuss grassroots football from a junior level.
"With nearly 400 children in the club, hopefully visits like this will encourage many of our members to become the next generation of Swindon supporters if they do not already attend matches.
"It was evident from our discussions with the children that many had never been to a match before and when Clem and Rob offered them the chance to come along with their free ticket initiative for the match against Port Vale, it was fantastic to see the joy on their faces.
"The result may have gone against us Saturday but I’m sure those who attended would have enjoyed the experience of being at a live game and the County Ground atmosphere that is generated with it. Hopefully it will encourage them to go again.
"Visits to clubs like ours is just what is needed to help engage the Community into the Football Club, it’s been lacking for so many years, and the North Wilts Youth League alone has so many clubs and thousands of children playing in it.
"Tapping into and engaging with them can only help the club in the future grow its fanbase, so I personally think visits like Saturday are a great idea.
"We cannot thank the club enough for their time and hope to see them again one day."
Craig Gorton, the League Secretary of the North Wilts Youth League, said: "The North Wilts Youth Football League are at the centre of Grassroots Youth Football in North Wiltshire and the surrounding Counties, and we believe that Swindon Town as the only professional club in our area should also be at the centre as well.
"We look forward to working with the Club, the Supporters Trust and the Swindon Town FC Community Foundation over the coming months on projects such as ticket initiatives to give young players in our league access to live football, to help inspire them to the best player they can be, and to develop a passion for supporting their local club."
Stephen Mytton, Chairman of Trust STFC, said: "Highworth Town Juniors is a fantastic club, and there are many more great clubs around the area.
"It is important that we keep developing the next generation of Swindon Town fans and this is the start of some really important work in this area.
"I would like to say a big thanks to Swindon Town Football Club for supporting this and being so generous with both the tickets and time given to come to Highworth and meet the players and parents."