JAMIE NESS helped turn the spotlight on Stoke City's work in the local community when he paid a visit to Blurton Family Group this week . . . and admitted: "It's great to go back to your roots and see all the work being done in communities like this one."
The summer-signing from Glasgow Rangers handed over a donation from the Stoke City Community Fund which has helped to pay for major renovation work on the family centre, thus boosting their work within that community.
The Blurton Family Group offers an extensive range of services to people in the Blurton and Newstead areas and the work that has been undertaken on the centre will enable organisers to increase the number of activities.
"It's fantastic to see all the smiling faces among the children," said the 21-year-old midfielder after taking part in a game of table football.
"It's so important for the families to have a place where the children, in particular, can go after school and to take part in different activities.
"The community team does a lot of excellent work to help local people and it is crucial that the players support that commitment."
Members of the Blurton Family Group have upgraded facilities and improved the provision of first aid equipment with a donation from the Community Fund.
This vital work will enable the group to extend the range of services it currently provides to help make a difference to the lives of local people.
"Blurton Family Group is run by families for families," said the Group's Secretary Diane Stanley. "We provide numerous services for people living in the Blurton and Newstead areas and these are the only community activities of their kind for these estates.
"We offer a wide range of opportunities which include kids sessions, craft, youth projects, exercise, sports events, cookery and an OAP club, and by extending these services we can make a further positive impact upon our community for some time to come."
The Blurton Family Group have undertaken renovation work on the local centre which has included the replacement of the flooring and decoration of the building.
"The Stoke City Community Fund is specifically designed to offer valuable assistance to community organisations of this kind," said the Club's Head of Community Adrian Hurst.
"We are working with organisations which serve the community so that they are able to engage with local people more and provide them with more activities and services."
The Stoke City Community Fund is a grants scheme operated by the Club's Community Trust, offering assistance to small, community-based projects in Staffordshire and South Cheshire.
Grants are available between £100 and £1,000, although newly-formed groups can only apply for funding up to £500. To make an application for a grant, click HERE