A NEW football team has risen from the ashes of Blaenavon's lost leisure facilities.

Forgeside AFC has received a grant from a charity set up in a bid to save the town's swimming pool and leisure centre from closure back in 2007.

Blaenavon Leisure and Sports Trust (BLAST) has awarded the new outfit £500 towards team kit and training equipment for its 18 players, who have already made a bright start to their first season in the Gwent Central League.

The club mostly comprises former members of Blaenavon Blues AFC.

Forgeside AFC secretary Richard Gulliford said: “We decided to make the break from Blaenavon Blues, where we had played as the third team for the past three years.

“After a hard last season where we were struggling to get a team on the field most weeks, it didn’t look like there would be a side at all this coming year

“The main reason for the club – which, as far as we know, is Blaenavon’s only new football club for at least 40 years - is to enjoy our football and hopefully win trophies."

Currently playing at neighbouring Llanelly Hill - but trying to get a pitch in Blaenavon - Forgeside has already played a number of matches, including the town’s first derby match in living memory against the Blues.

“We’d like to thank BLAST for their help in getting us on our feet,” Mr Gulliford added.

“We've had a difficult couple of months trying to get things off the ground but the BLAST grant has helped us enormously.”

BLAST chairman, John Beavan, said: “Although, sadly, we failed to save our wonderful leisure facilities, it’s good to know that something resembling a phoenix rising from the ashes has happened with the creation of Forgeside AFC.

“We hope the club will go on to enhance our reputation as a small town punching well above its weight in terms of sporting success. We wish them the very best of luck.”

BLAST awards are available up to a maximum of £500. Applicants should live in north Torfaen. Sports or leisure groups applying should have a qualified instructor and/or affiliated governing body, and individuals must be involved in activities at an amateur level.

Anyone interested in applying for an award is asked to do so by emailing BLASTgroup@hotmail.com for an application form or contact John Beavan on 01495 792140.