Published: Monday, 25th March 2019

More than 60 schools, community groups, charities and voluntary organisations have had the chance to watch the Gills at Medway Priestfield Stadium due to Medway Council and GFC's partnership.

Each month, during the 2018/19 season, a ballot for 50 tickets is held for charities, community groups and schools offering free match day tickets to home league games for the following month. The tickets give people, who may not have ordinarily had the opportunity to attend matches, the chance to go to Medway Priestfield Stadium and enjoy the experience of supporting our local team.

Providing free tickets for community use was one of the key parts of the one year sponsorship deal between the council and GFC. The football club also has use of the council’s green spaces which benefits grassroots football and Gillingham’s first-team, ladies and academy sides have regularly used them on a regular basis throughout the 2018/19 season.

Making football more accessible for residents

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “It is fantastic that we have been able to give 69 charities, community groups, schools and voluntary organisations the opportunity to watch a football match for free and to support their home team. For many of the recipients this was their first time watching a football game in person and I am delighted that they have been able to do so thanks to our partnership with Gillingham Football Club. We hope that watching a game at Medway Priestfield Stadium may have inspired some residents to take up a sport. I am incredibly pleased that we have been able to celebrate 20 years of Medway Council and 125 years of Gillingham Football Club by making the sport more accessible to members of our local community.”

'One of the best days of my life'

Members of the Young Lives Foundation were given the opportunity to watch a Gills game, thanks to the sponsorship deal. A young person said: “The crowd spirit and atmosphere on the day was great. It was amazing to see so many people smiling even though the result was hard for other fans. It was one of the best days of my life and something I will never forget.”

The Rainham 2nd Girl Guides also enjoyed watching their first football match. They said: “It was a first Gills experience for all of the children, and for most a first football match. The fact they could enjoy it in a safe secure environment was great. We appreciated the opportunity to go, it was fun.”

Young carers have also been given free tickets. A Carers First spokesperson said: “It was a chance for the young carers to have some down time somewhere they would not usually go and they really enjoyed it.”

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