Aspiring grassroots footballers from two underrepresented groups will soon have the opportunity to play in more Essex teams thanks to the Football Foundation’s ‘Grow the Game’ programme, a £1.5m investment by The FA.
Grow the Game, which was first launched back in 2010, offers grants to grassroots football clubs who wish to create new teams. This year, applications are being encouraged from clubs who want to get female and disability teams off the ground. The application window is now open, and it closes on Thursday 29th March.
The grants help to reduce the costs associated with starting new teams by making £1,500 available for each team a club creates. Expenditure which the funding can help a club pay for includes FA coaching courses, league affiliation costs, referee fees, first aid kits and even football kit and equipment through a bespoke voucher.
Grow the Game is inclusive of players from different genders, ethnic backgrounds, faiths, ages, sexual orientations and those with disabilities. Applications which originate from, or provide for, underrepresented communities are being encouraged.
England Men’s Senior Manager and Football Foundation Ambassador, Gareth Southgate, backed the scheme and said: “I am delighted that the Grow the Game programme is back. It means the pool of players in this country continues to widen, unearthing talent from all backgrounds in the process.”
Danielle Carter, England and Arsenal Women’s striker, added: “I was lucky when I was a young girl as I joined Leyton Orient at the age of ten. But, for many of my teammates, they were playing in boys’ teams until they were older. It’s great that Grow the Game will mean that more girls teams will be created to give more people the chance to play and enjoy football.”
Brandon Coleman, England Blind footballer, explained: “By recognising areas of the game where playing opportunities are really limited, and focusing on developing them by providing funds which could make all the difference, Grow the Game plays a big part in making sure that football in England is open and accessible For All.”
In addition, male teams of Under 17s and upwards who already exist will soon be able to apply for support from a new FA, retention-focused scheme called ‘Retain the Game’, which will offer £1m to successful applicants and will launch in April. It will allow open-age male teams to apply for financial support to aid their continued participation in the game.
To find out more about applying for a Football Foundation Grow the Game Grant, please contact your local Football Development Officer. You can also interact with @EssexCountyFA on Twitter using the #GTG2018 hashtag and follow ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook for further information.
Need Clarification? Join the Online ‘WebEx’ Meeting
To provide more clarity on the funding and guidance on applications, the Essex County FA are hosting a 90-minute online ‘WebEx’ meeting on Tuesday 13th February at 7:30pm (which can be accessed from 7:15pm). Visit http://bit.ly/EssexGTG to join in. The meeting number (access code) is 843 221 824 and the password is F3GCMdsb. If you cannot attend the meeting, E-Mail email@example.com to be sent a recording after the event.