Horsham FC chairman Kevin Borrett hopes the newly-launched Trident Community Foundation will help the club continue to strengthen its bond with the town.

From today, Horsham – along with their Pitching In Isthmian League counterparts – have the chance to apply for grants of up to £5,000 to help establish community-focused projects with the aim of developing young talent, promoting non-league football to a wider audience and attracting volunteers.

The Trident Community Foundation has been founded by a combination of Entain’s grassroots sport investment programme, Pitching In, and the three Trident Leagues – The Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues.

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, has donated £150,000 to establish the TCF Fund for distribution over the remainder of the 2020/21 season and the project has been welcomed by the Hornets chairman.

“I am looking forward to Horsham Football Club making applications as I believe we have a number of strong contenders as projects for community use,” Borrett said.

“The opportunity to establish projects that have real community value and bring people together – which I would argue is needed more now than ever – can only be a good thing.

“We are very fortunate at Horsham – we are known as a family club, and we are a club that actively supports their community thanks to our true unsung heroes, our volunteers.”

The club returned to play in Horsham after more than a decade of groundsharing ahead of the 2019/20 season, which saw the club reach the highest position in their 139-year history before the season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hornets, sixth last time out, sit ninth in the currently suspended Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division and Borrett is hoping they can restore their feelgood factor when fans are allowed to return.

“When we came back to play in Horsham, the whole community embraced our return to the town,” he said.

“It’s a real hallmark of Horsham Football Club that we seek to give back to the community, of which we very much regard ourselves as an integral part.

“I think the TCF Fund will help us be even more diverse and inclusive in the activities Horsham FC carries out for the benefit of the community.”

England legend and Pitching In ambassador Stuart Pearce, who started his playing career with non-league Wealdstone before rising through the ranks, has also thrown his support behind the TCF Fund.

“Initiatives like this are close to my heart as I am proud of my non-league background,” Pearce said.

“Non-league clubs are the hubs of their communities and people have connections to these clubs going back generations. Bringing people together, especially in these fractured times, is vitally important and initiatives such as this will help do that.

“The timing is absolutely spot on. The true mark of help is when people really need it – and the football community at this level really needs it.

“I look forward to seeing the projects that get off the ground as a result of the Trident Community Foundation.”

Following a simple application process, potential projects will be reviewed by the TCF board – which will be chaired by David Emery, editor-in-chief of The Non-League Paper, and also consists of three Trident League chairmen and two Entain representatives.

Isthmian League chairman Nick Robinson is part of the TCF board and hailed “a great, innovative way of involving our clubs in community projects.”

“In the past, clubs may have come to us with a community idea and we’d have had to turn it down,” Robinson said.

“Now we can help as there is funding available and a simple application process which we will guide the clubs through.

“The Isthmian League stretches from Dereham in Norfolk to Chichester in west Sussex, so it’s a really wide area and they will all have different ideas as to what their projects can be. I can’t wait to see the first set of applications.

“The TCF Fund is fundamental to the development of our partnership with Pitching In and I’d like to thank them for their enthusiasm and commitment. It’s a genuine partnership and I am delighted to be part of it.”

Entain – owner of Ladbrokes – has launched a multi-million pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. The programme includes a flagship partnership with The Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues - collectively known as The Trident League, as well as a partnership with the UK sports charity SportsAid. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/