An amateur football club is aiming to reach the Welsh Football League (WFL) and play a key role in its community.
Aber Valley FC, which was founded in 2000, plays in the South Wales Alliance Division One – the sixth tier of Welsh football.
The club currently has more than 100 players in its ranks, which include a first team and a second team, as well as youth teams from ages five up to 18.
It’s a stark contrast to a decade ago, when the club was struggling for numbers and faced an uphill battle to survive.
Committee member Dean Wood said: “There was a time when we only had 11 players in our squad for an away game and we were struggling to survive.”
First team coach Lee Williams, who used to play for the club, said: “We were really struggling but now we’re thriving. The club has gone from strength to strength.”
After building themselves back up from the brink, Mr Wood says the club are now hoping to establish a women’s team within the next five years.
Mr Wood said: “Our valley doesn’t have a great deal to get kids off the streets.
“We want our club to become a key part of the community and to get as many kids as we can involved.
“We even have kids from Penyrheol, Hendredenny and elsewhere joining us.”
The team plays its home games at Abertridwr Park and is currently training at Penyrheol Park during the summer months.
The club has around 30 coaches within its setup, all of which give up their spare time free of charge to help out the club.
Mr Wood said: “All our coaches have gone through the FAW Football Leaders course.
“There’s now a real family feel to our club. There’s a great atmosphere here and the culture is great.”
Mr Williams, who used to play for the club, said: “It’s great to see the coaches earning their coaching badges. This club is trying to do things the right way.”
To achieve their long-term aim of reaching the WFL, the club will need to upgrade their playing facilities in order to meet WFL specifications.
WFL-approved facilities must have a permanent, fully-covered stand with a minimum capacity of 100 spectators and must also have adequate changing rooms, toilets and hospitality facilities.
Mr Wood said: “We’re hoping to raise £25,000 within the next three to five years so we can upgrade the facilities at Abertridwr Park, which we’re trying to get a lease for.”
To help raise funds to upgrade their playing facilities, the club is holding a fun day at Abertridwr Park on Saturday, August 10.
During the event, the different age groups will play matches and there will be a barbecue and a beer tent, as well as bouncy castles and inflatable obstacle courses for the children.
Mr Wood said: “Last year we raised £1,500 from this event, so we’re hoping to hit that again this year.”
Anyone interested in joining Aber Valley FC can contact Dean Wood on 07971315649.