Bideford Blues & Appledore Junior Football Club has provided football activity for youngsters in North Devon since the 1970s.
Establishing their first ‘home’ facility in 1999 was instrumental in the expansion of the club and helped develop links with Plymouth Argyle’s Academy. Many of the club’s players have gone on to play with League clubs, including former Crystal Palace, Coventry and Derby player, Marc Edworthy.
However, by 2009, the extent of football activity enjoyed at the club had taken its toll on their artificial grass pitch. With the help of the Devon FA, the club was successful in applying for a £192,248 grant from the Foundation to install a new state-of-the-art 3G artificial grass playing surface.
In the 2010-11 season, the club provided regular football for 341 members under the age of 17. Teams play on a Sunday within the S1 North Devon Youth League, and disabled youngsters get to play for the club’s Ability Counts squad within the Devon FA Ability Counts festivals.
The facilities have enabled the club to run a six-a-side youth tournament every June. This attracts 100 teams from all over Devon – and as far away as Birmingham – and is a major fundraising event for the club each year. The site is also used to promote the local Soccersafe competition, organised by the fire and police services each year.