UTILITY player Rob Purdie is sharing his knowledge and skills to coach teenage footballers on the United In The Community programme.
The former Hereford United man, who is now playing for Tamworth, is now coaching the senior youth players on the training ground at Belmont.
Steve Brotherwood, the interim manager of the United in the Community programme, says the charity is affiliated to Hereford United – but run as a separate entity to the football club.
Hereford-based Purdie, who also had spells at Leicester City, Darlington, Oldham and Shrewsbury Town, is pleased with the scheme’s progress on and off the field.
“Our under-18 team would have been the Hereford United youth team had that continued this season and I think we have a good bunch of players.
“I am surprised the players have not found academies somewhere.
“Hopefully, some of the young players will go on to have a chance to play in the Football League or have chance to play in non league.”
He added: “Nick Nenadich, who is our chairman, wanted me to use my experiences of playing for Hereford United and to get that across to the lads.
“I want to try to instil a level of professionalism and making sure the players were doing the right things.
“ThePoint4 are helping us out with memberships and I trying to run the youth team as a top-notch professional youth team. I want us to do well in the leagues so we can get publicity to help more people from Herefordshire understand the work we do in the community.”
Interim programme manager Brotherwood, who plays his football at Wellington, said the Trustees chose to rebrand the charity’s image.
“We decided to change the name from Hereford United in the Community Trust to something which is easier for people to recognise.
“We are now completely self-funded and, from June 1, we separated the bank account from Hereford United Football Club.
“We have had to cut our cloth accordingly and we are delighted that Cargill are coming on board with us.
“Cargill wanted to be involved in the disability groups and other areas and they want to support us. Hopefully, we can be their community ambassadors.
“Cargill want to be associated with our work in schools and disability coaching and Chris Hall, from Cargill, has been a trustee on our board for several years.”
United In The Community programme includes children from four to 18 years old.
It has a Mini Bulls section, for children from four to seven years old, a Football Development centre for children from eight to 11; youth academy for 12 to 16 year olds and then an under-18 team in the Premier League Football League .
The under-18 team are scheduled to face Malvern Town in the FA Youth Cup on Monday, September 8 at the HDanywhere Community Stadium.
And the children, aged from 16 to 18, study a BTEC Level three course in sports excellence and combine their studies with football training four mornings a week and matches on a Wednesday.
Adam Jones, a goalkeeping coaching, is the lecturer and former United sports therapist Jonny Evans works with the trust three times a week. Dean Clarke and Liam Brewer are among the coaches.
Purdie said: “We are not Hereford United’s youth team anymore after the club decided to end their youth system last season due to financial reasons.
“But we are giving people from Hereford a chance to progress in football and I would be proud and if one of our lads signs for Birmingham City, for instance.
“I think the lads are really enjoying it and it has gone from strength to strength. We had Simon Morgan, who was at Newport County in his first year, and he’s really enjoying it.”
Brotherwood took over the head role when Jamie Edwards departed to Shrewsbury Town.
“Having Rob Purdie come in was a big thing for us because people in Hereford know him and people in football know him,” said Brotherwood.
“We have a link with the Robert Owen School and we can use their education suites in September and they can use Belmont to play their sport on. If we can get a few sponsorships and a bit more investment, we will be on the right track.”