Aspiring Olympians and non-league football clubs have been benefiting from crucial cash injections to propel their prospects to greater heights.

And after the launch of a multi-million-pound, multi-year programme back in 2020, new research today reveals over 200 athletes and 100 teams have been supported by the investment to date.

The funding has been provided by an initiative called Pitching In, a programme that helps Trident League football clubs improve their facilities and provides a platform for aspiring SportsAid athletes to chase their dreams.


The programme was set up by Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, with the two milestones highlighted in their latest Social Impact Report.

Former England captain Stuart Pearce is an official ambassador of the Pitching In programme, which also includes the Trident Community Foundation (TCF) to enable football clubs to engage in a wide range of vital community-based projects and invest in their local areas.

Pearce, who begun his career playing for non-league side Wealdstone, said: “Pitching In is a great initiative when it comes to putting money into grassroots football, which is where I cut my teeth as a young player.

“The non-league game is the lifeblood of English football and all about camaraderie and community, and there is no finer example of that than the projects which have been started in recent years with the support of Pitching In and the TCF.”

Equestrian Alice Casburn is one of the 100-plus SportsAid athletes to have benefited from the funding, enabling her to star at events including the last two renewals of prestigious 5* event the Defender Burghley Horse Trials.


Casburn, 21, said: “Entain’s support is really important for me – it helps you mentally having that financial pressure taken off you because you’ve got so many things to think about.

“To know that someone else has recognised your achievements and you’re doing what you’re doing also gives you that extra push.”

The Social Impact Report shines a light on the progress made by the Group’s registered charity, the Entain Foundation, as part of a commitment to invest £100 million in its communities over five years.

The report is published alongside the Group’s latest sustainability strategy and kicks off Entain Sustain, the Group’s dedicated ESG event that will take place virtually throughout the week here.

Entain’s Virginia McDowell said: “I’m extremely proud of the long-term collaborations we have built with charities and academic institutions across the globe, supporting them to achieve our common goals and positively transform our local communities.”