'Warm, welcoming and brimming with good vibrant Hartlepool people': Community football club hails the town after Skint Britain show hits TV screens

Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits aired on Channel 4 this week. Picture: CHannel 4.
Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits aired on Channel 4 this week. Picture: CHannel 4.

A community football club has praised the town following its portrayal in the TV show Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits.

Bosses at Hartlepool FC have been the latest to speak out following the town's portrayal on the Channel 4 documentary series.

Council cheief executive Gill Alexander and council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher are set to writeto the programme makers to express their anger at the show

Council cheief executive Gill Alexander and council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher are set to writeto the programme makers to express their anger at the show

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has vowed to take the issues to Government and Hartlepool Borough Council chief executive Gill Alexander and leader Christopher Akers-Belcher are set to write to the programme makers to express their anger at the show

The three-part series takes a look at how people in the town have been affected by the Government’s new Universal Credit system, which replaces six other benefits with a single monthly payment for people out of work or on a low income.

Hartlepool was one of the pilot areas for the roll-out of the new system and the new show aims to portray the stark realities of Universal Credit on peoples’ lives.

A spokesman for Hartlepool FC said: "Hartlepool FC and many other institutions like ours have been in existence within Hartlepool in many guises covering several decades.

"We, as a club, are ran solely by volunteers whom all dedicate their own time and efforts in making sure this community club is there to serve the community at large, primarily through the love of football.

"We have the support of the local authorities, local businesses and the general townsfolk of Hartlepool.

"Well known Hartlepool commercial entities such as Drive Vauxhall, Jg Jones Family Butcher, Cherryburn Construction, Orangebox Training Solutions Limited, MRM Cables & Millgreen Memorials continue to provide us with tremendous financial support despite the prevailing difficult economical climate.

"That continued support is due to the collective belief that our club and all of the other community clubs and projects in and around Hartlepool have a just and worthy cause, which most importantly does make a difference.

"For several years we have maintained an affiliation and received support from Hartlepool United Supporters Club Ltd which is situated just yards away from the filming of the Skint Britain documentary aired on Wednesday, February 13, covering our town and some of the difficulties our community is experiencing.

"But we have found the place to be warm, welcoming and brimming with good vibrant Hartlepool people from all walks of life.

"Our 17 teams, hundreds of players, parents and supporters are proud to play from Hartlepool and bare its name.

"There is a thriving community of good people with countless like-minded folk doing their best to make the town a better place and inspiring our children.

"It is an absolute pleasure to regularly utilise the excellent facilities that are available in our town, like the Sports Domes at Seaton Carew where we have our teams interact and play both with and against our friends from the other clubs involved in youth football within the surrounding area.

"Clubs such as Hartlepool Pools Youth FC, Seaton Carew FC, Hartlepool ST Francis FC, Greatham Fc, Saxon and Seaton Utd to name but a few, all of which have the common goal of engaging with both boys and girls of all ages, not only teaching them the game of football but also committed helping to develop social skills, instil confidence, morals and promote the community spirit.

"Just this week Pools Youth U18’s reached the county cup final for the second year running, continuing to represent not just their own club, but the town of Hartlepool, with pride.

"Moving away from football, the towns sporting culture is also complimented with excellent collectives from the towns rugby clubs, cricket clubs, swimming clubs and so much more.

"Hartlepool FC are proud to have links with Hartlepool College of FE whom are soaring above and beyond expectations in providing a platform for the development of school-leavers and mature students in taking their passions and interests to new levels, helping them become important pillars of our regions future.

"The work the college does in tandem with local authorities and businesses in respect of apprenticeships and work experiences is inspiring.

"We have recently extended our committee and board to facilitate our continued growth, build our knowledge base and to develop our institution.

"The desire from local people to volunteer to fill a range of new roles within our club has been both astonishing and humbling.

"Hartlepool FC are proud of our town and we remain in existence only as a result of the good people who surround us.

"We implore any individuals, families, friends and groups out there that want to be involved in local sport to get in touch and we can offer guidance as to where and how to speak to like minded people about volunteering, training, coaching and indeed playing at all levels.

"Everyone has something to offer.

"There are also many other community driven projects within Hartlepool that are outside of sport, offering support and guidance across any number of aspects in our society which perhaps go unseen or unrecognised as far as media portrayal goes.

"We as a community are thankful to each and every person that is doing their bit in and around our town.

"Keep on keeping on."