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Saturday, July 28, 2018

UITC Go Back On Plan To ‘Cease Operations’

Cllr Sue Boulter (Mayor of Hereford), Jesse Norman, Russell Cheasley and coach Laura Davies with Aspire footballers

A U-turn on United in the Community’s decision to close was made after a new member of the board saw something worth saving.

After their relationship with the club broke down and the youth teams taken over, UITC said it would ‘cease operations’ at the end of the season. They changed their mind when when Russell Cheasley joined the Board of Trustees, eager to carry on the community work that the registered charity does.

"I think the Trustees were just shell-shocked at the time and put out a statement thinking can we continue?” Cheasley said.

“It was then when I was HUST's vice-chair and for the community I engaged with UITC and became part of their board. When I came in it was a case of having a look at what we're doing. 

“The Academy did take up a lot of time and it was a case of sitting back and reviewing what was happening and saying 'no', there is something here that's worth continuing. We had to restructure and remodel and this is now the fruit of our labour.”

UITC now want to develop their home at Central Park and MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman says he’s delighted with their ‘ambitious plans’.

There are plans to refurbish their clubhouse to make it more accessible to people with disabilities, cheaper to run and to create more storage space at a cost of around £20,000. UITC currently have 22 years left on their lease of the council-owned Victoria Park.

“It's always been great set up and it's fantastic that Russell [Cheasley, UITC trustee] and the guys are taking it onto the next stage, they've got some very ambitious plans and I'm delighted with that,” Jesse Norman said.

“UITC has got the word community in the title that's because it's always taken that aspect very seriously. Football is one of those sports that brings people together so it's fantastic that they're doing it.”

One of the organisations UITC work closely with is Aspire Living who support people with learning disabilities in Herefordshire. They help them to live independently but also by getting them involved in sport and other social activities.

“The main change is trying to make it accessible because at the moment you can’t get a wheelchair in. If someone is in a wheelchair then they’ve got no access to facilities. We want to put that in which will enable us to do a lot more,” Cheasley added.

“At the moment we’ve got half a changing room which is used for storage. It’s a case of investing in the property, making it cheaper to run so we’re not spending a fortune on utilities so it makes us more sustainable in the future.”

UITC say their aim is to promote and engage people in sport, helping their health and wellbeing, but also wanting their facility in the city to become a community focal point.