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MX News Update 2024

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Community Bank is looking for young Penrhiwceiber football stars

Two-year contract: Allyssia Hargraves (left), team captain Kayla Davies with Smart Money Cymru Manager at Aberdare branch Eleri Walters

A fast-growing football club has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with the local community bank to equip its younger players.

Smart Money Cymru Community Bank and other sponsors have helped AFC Penrhiwceiber Minis and Juniors supply match kits for 280 enthusiastic players across girls and mixed teams.

Mathew Hargraves, chairman of the club’s Minis and Juniors section, is delighted: “A big thank you to Smart Money Cymru and our other sponsors for their generosity in allowing the club to supply these kits to help the teams look good on competition days. It’s a great boost for the club and the players, and we are very grateful. Without their help, many of the things we do would not be possible.”

Smart Money Cymru recently opened its first branch in Rhondda Cynon Taf on Hwb Cana in Penywaun, Aberdare, offering banking and financial services to the local community. Manager Eleri Walters said: “We at Smart Money Cymru are proud to sponsor AFC Penrhiwceiber Minis and Juniors. It is very encouraging to see so many young people, both boys and girls, taking part and we wish them all the best of luck in their competitions.”

The role of community banking is becoming increasingly important as traditional banks close their branches, she said. “We have a significant presence in South and Mid Wales, with around 15,000 members using our branch network to access banking services. We encourage people to visit our new branch in Hwb Cana to see what we can do for them,” she added.

AFC Penrhiwceiber Minis and Juniors was founded in 2016 by Mathew Hargraves, Peter Taylor and David Matthews alongside the two existing senior teams, to meet the demand for mixed junior football in the village. The section grew quickly and in 2022 a girls’ section was added, which proved to be very popular and attracted players from the nearby valleys.

The Minis and Juniors section has proven to be a great success, Mr Hargraves said. “We offer mixed groups from under 6s to under 14s, and only girls football for under 8s to under 15s. Last year we decided to purchase kits for all the teams,” he said.

“We approached local businesses to advertise on the shirts to make money so we didn’t have to ask parents for money, especially with the high cost of living these days. We were also pleased to be able to promote Cerebral Palsy Cymru on the shirts as they have supported players over the years.”