A nine-year-old girl will be able to join her Milton Keynes Dons team-mates on a football tour to France after being sponsored by Taylor Wimpey North Thames.
The leading housebuilder, which has recently launched its brand new Hampson Place development in Stevenage, stepped forward to sponsor Ella Hayes to the tune of £360 that will go towards her transport, accommodation and food costs for the trip.
Ella plays for the Under-11 side at the MK Dons FC Girls Centre of Excellence, one of only 32 FA-licensed Centres of Excellence throughout the UK. It develops opportunities for gifted female footballers within Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas.
Natalie Hayes, Ella’s mum, said: “This trip will be an experience of a lifetime for Ella and she’s really, really pleased. Going to a different country to play football will help develop her game so much.
“We live in Stevenage and driving Ella for an hour to training every Monday and Wednesday evening, as well as to matches on Saturdays, is a big financial commitment for us – so to receive this funding from Taylor Wimpey that will ensure Ella can go on this tour is fantastic.”
The trip to Liévin in northern France will involve the Milton Keynes girls’ teams from the Under-11, Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 age groups taking on local French sides.
“Because the MK Dons teams are divided into two-year age groups, Ella is the second youngest in her Under-11 team, so every chance she gets to play and improve her game is crucial and she really wanted to go on this tour,” Natalie adds. “There’ll be a lot of girls going – they’ll be taking over a whole hotel!
“Ella dreams of playing for England one day and representing Great Britain at the Olympics, so an early experience of international football like this will do her the world of good.”
Ella, who plays mainly as a striker, attends a school in the village of Benington, just outside Stevenage, and works hard to combine her football commitments with her education.
“She loves her football, absolutely loves it,” Natalie says. “But she keeps up with her school work – there’s a lot of homework done in the car!”
Christine Scarborough, Regional Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey North Thames, says: “As a local housebuilder, we are committed to supporting the communities in which we build, so we’re more than happy to sponsor Ella to help her go on the tour. We wish her and the team every success.”