Hemsworth MW are well on the way to achieving their ambition to become far more than just a football club.
Success on the pitch in recent years has seen Wells playing at the highest level since they were founded in 1981 and there are high hopes of promotion to the BetVictor NPL – where neighbours Frickley Athletic play.
Currently they sit in fourth place in the NCE Premier Division and although they are seven points behind leaders Penistone Church they have three games in hand on them so are well placed to fulfil their ambition of a major title challenge this season.
Off the pitch matters are also taking shape with Hemsworth’s MDC Stadium also housing The Wells Academy, which provides children who have been excluded from school with an opportunity to gain an education.
Director and trustee Billy Rowett explained how the club have adapted to engage with the local community outside the traditional sport only route.
He said: “Unfortunately when the mine demised the contribution from the miners ceased as well and the club needed to think in different ways of how it would survive.
“For a long time the actual village suffered and was top of the national deprivation statistics as well. Because of that there was no income, no jobs and no demand for the houses until a group of people decided in the early 2000s that enough was enough and wanted to develop the club’s facilities further.
“We knew some years ago to be reliant on football was wrong, it wouldn’t achieve sustainability. It was obvious that we needed to become diverse ourselves, not to leave any doors shut and be completely open minded as to how we could get this building to change from being 90 per cent closed and 10 per cent open to being 90 per cent open and 10 per cent closed.
“That led us to the knowledge and belief that extra facilities were needed. We engaged with the Wells Academy and we were able to accommodate children from the local community who needed an opportunity to realign themselves away from mainstream education into something that was different.”
Rowett is proud of how far the club has come.
He added: “There isn’t one paid member of staff that belongs to Hemsworth Miners Welfare Football Club. The school is slightly different because they are a partner with us and obviously have got professional staff. The local authority have been good as they’ve helped us as well. But no club can exist without volunteers.
“The club has advanced and is now playing at the highest level it’s ever been at and still has aspirations to play at divisions higher. At the moment the adult men are in prime position to achieve that this season.
“Having said that we are also accommodating seven junior teams, we’ve got two ladies teams and the school in there as well so you can see we are looking to spread the grassroots element of what we’re doing out into the community.
“Okay you have to pay to get in, but when you see what happens on the pitch, when you see the quality of the football being produced and the amenities we’ve now created, the quality of the ground and when you see the hospitality we can offer as well we can do a lot of things.
“We’ve got a good stadium and we’re helping to contribute to something that is growing and developing and will serve the local community for a long, long time.”
Hemsworth MW are now ready to engage with potential users who are looking for a venue like the MDC Stadium for local activities.