A CHARITY is looking to the future as it celebrates breaking the £2million fundraising barrier in its yearly review.

Accrington Stanley Community Trust has celebrated its seventh anniversary this week.

Over the past year the group has raised more than £450,000, taking its total raised to above £2million, and has engaged with around 10,000 people across the area.

Highlights for the group include continuing to expand their staff numbers and number of people they help.

The formation of a ladies football team has also been one of the charities key developments over the past year.

Martin Fearon, CEO of the trust, said: “We started with two members of staff working with 1,000 people in 2010 and now we have a team of 11 full time staff working with around 10,000.

"To establish a ladies football team has also been huge to helping get more women involved with sport.

“It has been a great journey over the past seven years and we continue to go from strength to strength."

Over the past year more than 1,200 people have taken part in disability sports sessions held by the charity.

It also hosts weekly ‘walking football’ session for over 50s in the area to help ‘increase exercise and reduce social isolation’.

Additionally the charity has been going in to more than 40 primary and 18 secondary schools to hold sessions with children about health and fitness.

The group also runs a BTEC sports programme which had 44 students in its last intake and has seen more than 30 former students progress to university.

Looking to the future the charity said it needs to expand in order to help more people in the community.

This comes as it looks set to submit the planning application for its controversial proposed £2million sports hub in Highams Playing Field next month.

Cllr Paul Cox, deputy leader of Hyndburn Council, praised the work the charity has done.

He said: "As an organisation I think they do some great work.

"They provide a valuable service to the area, in particular they have done good work helping people find employment.

"Anyone who does this sort of work with people with disabilities is fantastic."

The group currently has an office in Oswaldtwistle Business & Conference Centre.