Emley AFC’s army of volunteers goes from strength to strength and there’s an increasing local connection.

Business owner Lucy Carey, who runs Lucy’s Cabin Cafe at Emley’s business park, is one of several new recruits with village connections.

Lucy, who helps with match day catering, said “I like volunteering for the community spirit it brings. All volunteers work together as one team and the supporters are all appreciative of us.”

For Jessica Oates, it’s a family affair. Her family tree is full of Emley football connections both in the past and into the present with dad Richard, brother Jordan and his partner Rosie also involved.

Jessica said: “I like being a volunteer at Emley because of the people within the club. Everyone, including the players and the supporters, are extremely friendly and welcoming, which makes volunteering very enjoyable. The club a lovely place to be.”

Lucy Carey

Another volunteer with local connections is Krissi Simmons, who has risen to be the club’s director of media and marketing. She said: “I grew up in Emley but hadn’t been to the club before I started volunteering two years ago, which only happened after I saw a post in the village Facebook group.

“I’d been looking for an opportunity to reconnect with people nearby after becoming a full-time homeworker. Volunteering has given me so much more than I expected, from meeting so many new people to learning about football and business operations.

“Being part of a strong team made up of all different professions means we are constantly bouncing ideas and playing to our strengths. What a team to be part of!”

An older hand is Trudy Mason. Along with husband John, she’s been a fixture at Emley for over 15 years. “Living in the village it’s great to be involved with the local football club and I’m proud to feel I’m doing my bit to help out,” she said.

“I’ve made lots of friends over the years, not just players but other volunteers. It’s good to feel part of a team, working together and seeing results on and off the pitch.”

Trudy Mason

Vice-chairman Marcus Pound, another Emley resident said the club’s volunteers were invaluable and added: “I think our off-the-field volunteers can increasingly see the impact their efforts can have on the field.

“But what’s heartening is that more village residents are discovering or rediscovering us and coming to watch games. Some are also stepping up to join our team of volunteers so it’s a great feeling for us all to be forging even stronger local connections.

“There’s always room for more though – whether from the village or not. It can be hard work but it’s also fun, incredibly rewarding and you do feel like you’ve played your part in the success of the club – even if you’ve never kicked a ball.”