A youth football club in Dereham is calling on the community for support to help keep the organisation afloat.

Dereham Times: The Dereham Saints Football club is asking the community for support. Picture: Dereham Saints Football ClubThe Dereham Saints Football club is asking the community for support. Picture: Dereham Saints Football Club (Image: Archant)

The Dereham Saints Football Club was established in April and already has over 50 players aged 11 years and under but high running costs mean that they are struggling to afford the winter training fees.

One potential lifeline is Tesco's local community grant scheme Bags of Help. Zoe Flint, whose son plays for Dereham Saints, successfully pitched for funding with the scheme which could earn the group an additional £4,000 from the 5p carrier bag charge.

But allocation of the funding is based on shoppers picking a community project by posting tokens at a collection point within the store.

The deadline for supporting the club was August 31 and they are now waiting for the results. The co-founder of the club and Dereham resident, Jack Cassidy, said the club had done really well but called it a 'close call between the three chosen projects'.

He said: 'It would be fantastic to be awarded the first place prize of £4,000, which is vital funding for the club.'

The organisation is also backed by local businesses including DB Autos, Howards, Ace Taxis, Dereham Istanbul Barbers and Dads and Lads Barber Shop, which have contributed toward the kits needed for the upcoming league.

However, with additional funding needed for FA fees, coach training, first aid and sporting equipment, this backing is not enough to secure the club's future.

Mr Cassidy founded the club with his wife Sue Cassidy for children of all abilities after their son who has Asperger's syndrome, a developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others, found it difficult to thrive at other local football clubs.

He added: 'It's fantastic that we're able to help so many children feel like they're part of something really special and want to continue to offer this for all the children in the community.

'We're so grateful to the local businesses that have got behind the club, but we need more help to fund the organisation's ongoing needs. Each football, for example, costs £6 and we have around 40 we're using now.'

Local businesses who want to support the team can get in touch with Mr Cassidy on 07709 251775 or by email.