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Powerchair Football: Cheltenham PFC exceeding expectations for Goals Beyond Grass boss Brian Dix

Goals Beyond Grass’ chief executive Brian Dix has praised Cheltenham Powerchair FC for “surpassing all expectations” as they close in on their first ever league championship.

Cheltenham Yellows currently sit top of the South West Powerchair Football League after defeating Swindon in the third round in Taunton.

John Dickson scored the only goal to keep the Gloucestershire outfit top of the league on goal difference ahead of Celtic Storm, who defeated fellow Gloucestershire outfit Cheltenham Blues 1-0. The fourth round takes place in Taunton on Sunday 25th March, with Cheltenham just two rounds away from securing their maiden  title.

Dix, who set up the Goals Beyond Grass in 2016, has admitted his pride of watching the side grow over the last couple of years, and is stunned with the side’s progress.

Dix said: “Results have definitely surpassed all expectations this season. Originally we wanted to consolidate third place for our first team, which we would’ve considered an excellent season for us.

“But to be playing the way we’re playing and the style of football that we’re playing is fantastic to watch.” We’re now top of the league and it’s a place we’ve never been before. It’s actually only our third season in the division.

“We finished fourth and third over the past two years ahead of the final four games. If we can remain unbeaten then we will be champions for the first time in their history.

The organisation of a weekend tournament can be very difficult, with travel issues and player conditions having a major influence on the availability of their best players. However, despite these issues, Dix believes these external issues has brought the best out of their volunteers, whose selfless acts are a major reason for why the club has become so successful over the past couple of years.

“You never know what you’re going to see because unfortunately some of the players, illnesses can come very quickly and we don’t know who’s going to turn up on the day. Such factors can have a major influence on our team and all the other sides in our league,” continued Dix.

“We’re thankful that the coaches are great with us, they give up a lot of their time and it’s a massive undertaken to take the roles they do and we have some extremely great volunteers.”

The Goals Beyond Grass Foundation had  been set up in November  to “seek to educate, inform and support” children and adults alike who were excluded from the world of sport to be a part of a team environment. GBG are aiming to raise £28,936 in order to fund a variety of different amenities like student enrolment fees, tutors and networking hardware.

It’s been an incredible twelve months for Dix, with the charity  winning Community Club of the Year at the 2017 Gloucestershire Sports Awards for recognition for the hard work everyone involved with the club does to help those with physical disabilities to participate in sports.

The hard work and fundraising hasn’t stopped since the Foundation was formed, with the charity hosting an incredibly successful music night fundraiser in Tewkesbury. There were around 350 locals who turned up to support the event, with the occasion raising an incredible total of £5,600.

The total completely exceeded Dix’s expectations, and is excited with the money enabling safer equipment as the organisation goes from strength to strength in the future.

“When we first spoke about it, we looked to raise £1,000 which would’ve been brilliant,” he added.

“But with the backing of the people of Tewkesbury, we raised £4,900 on the evening which I was blown away by. Furthermore, one of the sponsors actually spoke to us and paid the difference so we could purchase a brand new powerchair.

“So that meant the total we raised was up to £5,600. These powerchairs can be used for a four year old up to fourteen year old. They’re strong and safe for our children, which is absolutely fantastic. We want to provide the children with the best equipment and facilities as possible.”

The generosity of the public has gone unnoticed by Dix, who is keen to continue organising special events such as the special quiz, which has been announced for the 4th May at the Gloucester Brewery to further raise money for new equipment for the charity.

“The people from this area amazes me, even in times of hardship, they offered everything they could. We’re looking to organise more charity events because I know the people of Gloucestershire can help make a difference.

“Any small contribution is a massive help. We want to help raise awareness and helping people will always come first.”

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