Royal Navy footballers have been presented with a new sporting kit to cement a new partnership with a fitness and leisure centre.
The Royal Navy’s Western Region Command Football team has a new strip, courtesy of the Saltash-based China Fleet Country Club which has agreed a three-year sponsorship deal – the first fruits of a charitable partnership. The charitable arm of the club – the China Fleet Trust – has already signed a mutual agreement to benefit sailors in the Plymouth area. The team is also supported by the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity.
Leading Seaman Chris Billings, manager of the Plymouth-based football team, said: “When I was given the opportunity to take over the Western Region Command Football team my first thoughts were to help us become a better organised football team and put some emphasis on getting some pride back into regional football, as well as encouraging footballers to come and represent there area command.’’
His first big change was to make was to bring in an outside sponsor to help fund new training wear tracksuits and new kits: “I wanted a company that was keen to help support the armed forces and who was also in the local vicinity. The first company that came to mind was China Fleet Country Club as I was already aware that they where a supporter of the local armed forces by offering discounted memberships and rates to serving personnel.
“I was delighted by the positive response I received and absolutely delighted when they offered us a three-year sponsorship package. This was fantastic from the financial side, but more than that was the opportunity to build links with the local community and build up a relationship with China Fleet which so far has proved to be extremely valuable to us and hope that it continues for many years to come.’’
Chris added: “The next aim is too take the Western region Command football team overseas and represent the Royal Navy and our region to the best of our ability.’’
Dean Bennett, China Fleet Managing Director, said: “It’s a great privilege to be able to sponsor the Plymouth Command Navy Football Team and to work hand in hand with another Naval charity. The collaboration with Plymouth command is mutually beneficial as it assists the team with their ongoing cost and spreads the message regarding the huge range of facilities on offer to RN/RM forces at the China Fleet Country Club.”
A partnering agreement signing ceremony was staged last year between HM Naval Base, Devonport, Plymouth, and the China Fleet Trust to continue to improve the services at Saltash and enable serving personnel and their families to meet the challenges of service life.
The trust is a registered charity promoting the efficiency of the Armed Forces by providing high quality sporting, leisure and accommodation facilities to its beneficiaries. Those that benefit are primarily non-commissioned (non-officers) personnel of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and their immediate families, but also more recently to officers as well) in a non-military and relaxed environment.