LOCAL LAD Ryan Shotton took the phrase ‘going back to your roots’ a little further . . . as he visited Fenton’s Hilltop Allotments to profile one of the projects which has been supported by the Stoke City Community Fund.
The Potters’ defender, born and raised less than a mile down the road, unveiled a disabled ramp at the site before being given a guided tour and taking up the chance to grab a shovel and pick up some tips for himself.
The newly-built disabled ramp, designed to give comfortable access all around the allotment, is the latest step in a journey that has seen a piece of Stoke-on-Trent wasteland transformed in little over three years.
As with many other similar projects all around the area, Stoke City have assisted with funding and Shotton recognises the importance of the Club engaging with and helping the local community.
“It’s a good investment for everybody around the area and in the community, so I’m just glad Stoke have got involved and managed to help them all along,” said the 23-year-old.
“I’ve asked for a few tips – they’ve given me a shovel but I won’t be putting my back into it too much because we’ve got a game at the weekend!
“City, Britannia and the Fenton community have come together and got something great going on here though.”
Stoke City icon Denis Smith forms part of the Club’s Community Fund Panel and believes the project is one of the best they’ve been a part of.
“It looks like we’ve picked a winner with this one,” said Smith, also born in the Potteries.
“We’ve put a little bit of money in, but they’ve put a lot time and effort into it and done a tremendous job. They should be very proud of themselves.
“We spend a lot of time trying to help as many people as we can – it’s what Stoke City’s about, it’s always been a family Club that wants the fans and the local community to be part of it.”
Stoke City’s Head of Community Adrian Hurst says it’s the Club’s aim to branch out and help the wider Staffordshire society on top of its dedication to sport.
“I think as a true community football club, we need to be engaging with all aspects of our community,” he said.
“This is a way that we can provide an opportunity for a different client group that we don’t engage with every day of the week – it’s a great project.
“All we’ve done is put a little bit of money aside so they can get a disabled ramp, and to the people that are going to be using it, it’s vital for them.”
Site secretary Tony Williams expressed his delight at having backing from the Club he’s supported all his life.
“It means a lot because we’re in Stoke, and to have Stoke City on our site – a club that I’ve followed all my life – is a tremendous honour.
“For one of the players to come along too, especially Ryan as he’s a local lad, gives us a fantastic lift.”