HORSFORTH St Margaret’s Football Club has ended its centenary year by supporting a charity which provides beds for children from families who struggle to meet the fundamental need.

The grassroots football club, which has held a series of events during 2021 to celebrate its formation, has donated £1500 to Zarach, which was founded by Bex Wilson, a Deputy Headteacher at an inner city primary school in Leeds.

Bex said: "We believe every child has the right to access education regardless of their background. Having a good night's sleep has a huge impact on a child's ability to engage in school. The feedback from the schools we work with shows us that when a child arrives at school alert and with a full tummy, their achievement levels improve dramatically. We know that education is the key to future success in life. At Zarach, we aim to remove barriers to education by providing a bed bundle and access to healthy food."

She added:"We receive referrals from over 100 primary schools in the Leeds area. Within 72 hours of the referral, we deliver a bed bundle which includes a high spec bed and mattress along with bedding, pyjamas and a hygiene pack. When we deliver the bed bundle, we chat with the family and identify how we can further support them. We do this through our Thrive Programme where we agree an action plan with the family to move them from merely surviving to thriving. Our aim is to support the family to achieve financial independence and become fully functioning members of our community. We do not believe in continuously giving handouts to our families, we believe in giving them a hand up, not a hand out.’

Horsforth St Margaret’s FC has over 100 open age and junior teams and is partnered with Zarach and Young Minds charities, carrying both charity logos on playing kit, alongside commercial kit sponsors.

Club Chairman, David Bramhill, said: "Whilst we are primarily a community sports club we take our social responsibility incredibly seriously and we are outward looking in terms of our commitment to supporting our charity partners. Our recent Centenary dinner dance, held at Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s stadium, raised funds to enable us to make a £1500 donation to Zarach. This means that at least ten children across Leeds will receive one of Zarcach’s bed packages. The backbone of our club are young players and, as a club, we want to make sure that children have a proper bed with proper bedding in which to sleep."

Horsforth St Margaret’s has already donated £1250 to Young Minds, after Victor Orta, Leeds United’s Director of Football, visited the club for a Q&A evening in October. The club's open age and veterans teams played two charity matches against teams made up of ex-professional footballers and soap actors during the Summer.

Club Media Officer, Gary McVeigh-Kaye said: "To achieve the milestone of our club reaching its 100th anniversary, with over a 100 teams and 1000 players on our books, brings us tremendous pride. Being able to utilise the large community structure we possess to support amazing charities such as Zarach and Young Minds is the least we can do to put something back into the community where we live, and further afield. Our charitable actions will not end with the conclusion of our Centenary year; we are committed to building a programme of events at the club to continue our charitable work in 2022 and beyond."