Armchair Club Sports Foundation
The Armchair Club – a group of 16 local businessmen, has set up the Armchair Club Sports Foundation Trust which has now gained charitable status in a bid to increase funding for amateur sport in the area.
The club backs individuals and groups – particularly young people – and has paid out over £200,000 since 1982, mainly raised at four events each year – a Question Of Sport evening in March, a golf day in July, a sporting dinner in October and Mansfield’s annual Sports Recognition Awards event in December.
Among its hundreds of beneficiaries have been double Olympic Games gold medal swimmer Rebecca Adlington, top international golfer Oliver Wilson, county cricketer Paul Franks, Olympic badminton star Chris Adcock, Commonwealth Games runner Stephen Lisgo, world sidecar champions Ben and Tom Birchall and Paralympic swimmers Charlotte Henshaw and Sam and Ollie Hynd, who were all supported long before they became famous for their achievements. The club has also backed many sporting clubs and organisations.
It is hoped that the foundation’s charitable status will boost funds further. The foundation is encouraging people undertaking charity fundraising events and being sponsored through websites like JustGiving to make the foundation their nominated cause. Having charitable status will also mean that people wanting to make bequests or to make donations can do so to the foundation. Money raised would then be passed on to sportspeople and groups in the area through the Armchair Club Sports Foundation Trust.
A spokesman said: “Many people take part in a variety of sporting challenges every year to raise thousands of pounds for charities and good causes. A lot of this is done through online support and we hope that the foundation, which has charitable status, will attract support from people running the likes of marathons and half-marathons, for example. Also, people often want to donate to a charity. The Armchair Club Sports Foundation Trust makes it possible for them to donate to a charity and support local sport.”
The Foundation aims to back community involvement in amateur sport through funding and assisting in the provision of facilities, equipment and support that will encourage the development of sport and encourage young people to participate. It will also continue the club’s ethos from its beginning in 1982 – to see sport grow and flourish in the Mansfield & Ashfield areas and to enable people of all ages and ability to take part and enjoy life through sport.
While the Foundation will make it possible for people wanting to donate to a registered charity to back local sport, the Armchair Club itself will continue its regular fundraising work.
Some of the beneficiaries have gone on to world fame and success, such as double Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington who starred in the 2008 games in Beijing. Four years earlier 800-metre runner Ricky Soos reached the Olympic Games semi-finals four years after being backed by the club. Others who have reached national success include: Chris Adcock (badminton), Birchall Brothers Ben and Tom (sidecar racing), Paul Franks (cricket), Charlotte Henshaw (swimming), Sam and Olly Hynd (swimming), Stephen Lisgo (athletics), Mike Newell (cricket), Oliver Wilson (golf)