Workington Reds’ involvement with the local community is seen as a vital ingredient in being able to take the club forward.

The club’s latest initiative is taking a break after tonight for the Christmas holidays but has proved a hit and will resume in the new year.

The Friday Night Project has been going for six weeks and is run by the Reds in the Community and the South Workington Youth Partnership, who have organised weekly football sessions at Moorclose Community Centre.

It’s for youngsters aged between nine and 15 and Reds community director Richard Lewthwaite has been delighted by the programme’s initial impact and hopes to see it continue to grow.

He said: “We started talking about the project in March, but the impact of Covid, sorting out the cash needed to run it and the school holidays, meant we weren’t able to start it until November.

“Initially we were looking for between 20 and 30 youngsters and so far we have a good core of youngsters with a couple of new ones each week so are just short of that lowest figure. I’m sure we are going to reach our target.

“We are catering for the people we said we were going to cater for and I have to say that Brian Dawson and his Reds in the Community team have been excellent.

“We’re concentrating on a couple of council wards with a reasonable amount of social and economic issues and the coaching has been really well received by the kids, their parents and the people at Moorclose.

“The important thing is it’s something focused for them every week to turn up, know the facility will be open for them and that provision will be there.

“It’s totally free of charge for the kids and the feedback and behaviour has been really good."

The coaching has been subsidised by a grant the Reds received from the Trident Community Foundation, established by Pitching In – a multi-million-pound grassroots sport investment programme set up by Ladbrokes with the support of its owner Entain.

Workington are one of more than 30 teams from across the Pitching In Northern Premier, Isthmian and Southern Leagues to benefit from the grants, which range from £1,000 to £5,000

“We are looking to develop our community role in a massive way over the next few years,” said Lewthwaite.