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PRESTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: <> Football legend and The National Lottery Football Weekends Ambassador, Ally McCoist visits AFC Fylde to see how National Lottery players support is helping them bounce back after COVID at Mill Farm on March 11, 2022 in Wesham, Lancashire. The National Lottery Football Weekends campaign will make over 100,000 tickets available on a 'Buy One Get One Free' basis for National Lottery players for selected matches in March and April: www.thenationallotteryfootballweekends.co.uk (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images for National Lottery)

Airbus Broughton UK FC aka ‘The Wingmakers’ announce plans to launch walking football ahead of The National Lottery Football Weekends

As Airbus Broughton UK FC gears up for The National Lottery Football Weekends this Friday, it has announced plans to launch a walking football programme.

The Wingmakers already run a huge Academy programme for 180 youngsters in the area but are now turning their attentions to helping older people in the community to stay fit and active.

General Manager Jonathan Williams says none of it would be possible without the support of vital National Lottery funding, which was a lifeline during the pandemic when fans weren’t allowed to attend games:

“When we closed in lockdown, it was a real worry for the club financially but also the local community lost opportunities to exercise and to socialise. It had a huge impact. The funding from The National Lottery made a huge difference and enabled us to get back up and running once restrictions were lifted. Our 3G pitch is used by about 15 different local clubs so we are a real community football hub in the Wrexham area.”

Now – in a thank you to National Lottery players – over 100,000 free tickets are available on a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ basis to National Lottery players for selected local matches across three weekends in March and April. The offer will be available for the Airbus Broughton UK FC clash against Llandudno on Friday 1 April – a winner-takes-all match which will see the team coming out on top promoted to the JD Cymru Premier league.

Football legend Ally McCoist has thrown his support behind The National Lottery Football Weekends campaign as an ambassador. Talking of his passion for non-league and local football, he recently spoke of his interest in the North Wales club:

“I do understand and appreciate local football and it’s funny when I look at the results, I genuinely always check to see how Airbus Broughton UK got on.”

Jonathan Williams explains why matchday crowds are so important:

“The income we get through the turnstiles is invested back into the club and it means we can do more for the community. We’re hoping for a bumper crowd on Friday with people taking up The National Lottery Football Weekends campaign offer. The income will be ploughed into setting up a new Under 19 women’s side and launching walking football.

“The 3G Artificial football pitch is situated on the perimeter of Airbus’ Broughton Factory. There are several thousand staff working there and we see a lot of people, men in particular, finishing their shift and some will play sport or go to the gym, but lots don’t. For many, football is the love of their life but once you hit 50, it gets harder to play. We’re hoping this will help people stay active and be a good way to socialise too.”

In Wales, The National Lottery Football Weekends campaign will mean people can watch games in the JD Cymru Premier and JD Cymru North and South leagues for free. It aims to get people out to watch and really get behind their local team, perhaps for the first time, and experience the vital role these clubs play as part of their local community.

At the height of the pandemic and when football and sport shut down, clubs struggled for survival as they lost turnstile income and other matchday revenue. In response, The National Lottery provided over £12.5 million of emergency funding to community football clubs at this level across the UK, including Airbus UK Broughton AFC to help them continue to operate and survive.

The National Lottery Football Weekends is to thank National Lottery players for stepping up when they were needed the most. The special ‘Buy One Get One Free’ ticket offer will be available to National Lottery players for a game at one of the 231 participating clubs in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.* The ticket offer will apply to one home match for each club, taking place between 19th March and 16th April.

The campaign is being delivered in partnership with the FAW (Football Association of Wales), National League, The FA (Football Association), The SFA (Scottish Football Association) IFA (Irish Football Association) and is also backed by well-known ex-footballers Ally McCoist and Karen Carney.

To find out more about The National Lottery Football Weekends and to find your nearest match visit www.thenationallotteryfootballweekends.co.uk.

Each club will be responsible for distributing tickets for its home match and details on how to claim will be available from each club. Terms and conditions apply.

The money for this campaign, as well as the initiatives with the various FAs and leagues across the UK during Covid came from a National Lottery promotional fund, it was not funded by money allocated for National Lottery Good Causes or by Camelot.

The National Lottery has also worked alongside Non-League Day, a campaign set up in 2010 to encourage supporters of clubs playing at the highest levels of the game to support their smaller local or non-league club and sample the unique matchday experience of football at local level.

The National Lottery has always played a vital role in supporting elite, community and grassroot sport in the UK. Including football, The National Lottery has invested more than £5.7 billion into grassroots sport since it was established in 1994. In the last year nearly £395 million was given to grassroots and elite sport good causes, funding everything from facilities to playing fields and creating opportunities for everyone to get active and improve their lives through sport.

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