IT IS not just the Canvey Island first-team who are tasting success this season, as the Isthmian League North Division play-off winners have also hosted a triumphant Soccability tournament.
The Gulls were among the first recipients of a grant from the Trident Community Foundation, which was launched in December as part of Pitching In’s landmark investment into grassroots football.
And the Islanders put the money at the heart of the local community, with the eight sides receiving trophies for their part in the action-packed afternoon.
Chairman John Batch believes this is just the start of something very special for Canvey Island’s Soccability squad.
“I want us to develop it as much as we can and get more and more people involved,” said Batch.
“We are trying to start an under-14s side at the moment, we’re in the process of doing it, and once again, if we could grow it even more from that, it would be fantastic.
“It is all fun related really.
“If they can carry on providing these grants, then clubs like us can keep on investing in things like we are today.
“They’ll leave here feeling like they have had an enjoyable afternoon and like they have been part of something because everyone has enjoyed watching them and cheering them on.
“That is great for their confidence and great for their wellbeing.”
Canvey Island were one of five Pitching in Isthmian League clubs to benefit from the first allocation of grants, which will be used to fund new or existing community-focused schemes.
Trophies were presented by Rebecca Harris, Conservative MP for Castle Point, and she was proud to see the excellent work being done by members of her constituency.
“Castle Point and Canvey Island is just stuffed full of people who put the effort in and really recognise the value of making sure that they include everybody,” said Harris.
“It is great to see people going the extra mile by volunteering or whatever it takes to make sure that we do the most we can for everybody here.
“Everybody pitches in, to borrow a phrase, so it is a really good fit between Canvey Island and Pitching In.
“I’m just really grateful for everyone who gets involved, makes things happen and gets behind this sort of stuff. It is lovely.”
Canvey Island Soccability had Scott Marsh in goal for the tournament and the 27-year-old says the Gulls have been there when he has needed it most.
“The club has actually saved my life on one or two occasions,” said Marsh.
“Throughout the seven years I have been at the club, I have had a couple of knocks in my personal life and with my mental health.
“I’ve had immense fun today. I do get a bit hard on myself sometimes because I want to save every shot that comes at me or score with a shot on goal, but it’s been great fun.
“In the past, we haven’t even been in a league, so to see we’re not playing the same opponents every single time we’re on the pitch is great
>Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/