Interview: Meet Ollie Gatehouse who was awarded a Coveris Community Fund grant

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Ollie Gatehouse

Finance Controller, Amberley Labels

Ollie Gatehouse, Finance Controller at Amberley Labels in Blandford, has received a grant of £500 from the Coveris Community Fund (CCF) to help pay for equipment for Pimperne Youth FC - a new under 9s football club he’s helped to set up in the village where he lives. We spoke to Ollie to find out more about his role at Amberley Labels, the club, and how the CCF money is being used to make a difference in his local community.

Hi Ollie! How long have you been working for Amberley Labels, and what does your job involve?

I started out working for Amberley Labels 13 years ago as an apprentice while studying at Bournemouth University for my accountancy qualifications. My first full-time role was as an accounts payable administrator. I then worked in credit control before climbing up the ladder to Finance Assistant, Finance Manager and then Site Financial Controller. There are four of us in the finance department at Amberley and we control all of the finances for the site, provide the monthly management accounts, P&L and balance sheet and make sure the operation at Blandford is cost controlled.

Do you enjoy working for Amberley/Coveris?

Coveris is a good company to work for as there are always new things happening in the company, which keeps you interested. No year is the same and there are lots of opportunities for training and promotion.

Amberley was privately owned before being acquired by Coveris and we've managed to keep that small business ethos. We're still a relatively small site compared to the rest of the group, and while we're owned by a big corporation, Amberley still has that family feel – we’re a really close-knit team and we all look out for one another.

How did you hear about the CCF and was it easy to apply? 

I’d seen the fund promoted via our intranet system and on staff notice boards. The application process was really simple; I just sent an email explaining the club’s aims, how much we needed and what the money would be spent on. 

What difference has the money made to the club?

A massive difference! We were delighted to receive a grant of £500 which we’ve used to help buy the team’s kit, training jackets, things like that. We've also been able to invest in lots of equipment like cones, ladders and warm up mannequins to help with our positional work which have all had an amazing impact on the team and the progress the boys have been able to make. We've never had high-quality equipment before and it’s enabled us to be much more flexible and forward thinking.

Where did the idea for the club come from?

My friend and I used to train at the local town club for a couple of years, which is really well established, but we wanted to do something for ourselves and the children that we were coaching. Pimperne didn’t have a youth team at the time, so we wanted to set up a club in the place where they all go to school, have our own identity and make our own choices in terms of training, coaching and matches as well. It was a huge step and quite a scary thing to do because we wanted to make sure that the kids had the right training and equipment, but so far it's worked out really well. The team has flourished and come on leaps and bounds in this first season and are winning games, playing really attractive football and having a great time while they're doing it!

Where did your passion for football come from?

I've played all my life, from youth football to senior level. Now with work and family commitments I don’t get to play as much as I’d like. However, I really enjoy coaching as it’s so much more rewarding when you see, for example, one of our boys who was super nervous and couldn't kick a ball when he first started. Now he’s developed to become a vital member of the team.

Was setting up a football club harder than you imagined?

My friend Andy is the Chairman and I’m Vice Chairman and Treasurer, so we set it up together. We make a good team and have a lot of playing experience. With Andy being more of an attacker and myself a defender, we are able to complement each other with our coaching ideas. Off the pitch, Andy is a PE teacher and knows a lot about the FA structure and the welfare of the kids, while I look after finance side of things. It's been hard and quite stressful because everything was in limbo for a while when we left the other team. We needed to make sure the demand was there from the kids and the parents for an under 9s club in Pimperne. Once we got accredited with the FA and we were an actual club, the pressure was off, and it was really exciting. Now the club is running really smoothly.

Have you had a lot of support from the local community?

Yes, in lots of ways! The parents have set up a tuck shop to try to generate more income for the club. There has been a quiz in the village to raise funds and we have four main sponsors including the local gym which has paid for all of our goals and let us use their facilities free of charge in the winter for training. Another sponsor, a local pub, has paid for all of our training kits so parents don’t have to fork out lots of money. When you see the players together, they all look like a team which gives them a sense of pride. A local electrician has brought our match kit and weatherproof jackets, so it’s been great. It’s like one big football family; friendships have been formed both on and off the pitch and we could not have achieved what we have without everyone’s support. 

What are the future plans for the club?

We’ve just got the under 9s team at the moment but we're now looking at expanding to future proof ourselves for when we step up in two years’ time to playing nine-a-side as opposed to seven. We're just creating a recruitment poster to advertise for more players, boys and girls, of any ability to start to build them for the match squad. We're also looking at setting up a mini team for under 6s and have a new coach on board to help us grow.

So will you be encouraging more girls to play?

The new coach who has just come on board has a daughter who is very interested in playing so she hopefully will be the first girl to join the team. We would love others to follow -anybody's welcome to get involved!

Thanks so much Ollie for sharing your story! We would like to wish you and Pimperne Youth FC the best of luck for the future from everyone at Coveris and we look forward to following your progress. Go Pimperne!

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