Local MP Giles Watling visited grassroots football facilities in Clacton on Saturday 9th February as part of The FA’s #FootballFootprint campaign.
Giles, MP for Clacton and Club Patron for FC Clacton, received a ‘Grassroots Champion’ Award from the Essex County FA to recognise his support for the grassroots game in the community. He visited several sites in his constituency to learn more about how FA and County FA investments are widening grassroots participation and improving facilities.
During the visit, Giles met with budding young footballers who play for the club, including girls participating in the SSE Wildcats programme. SSE Wildcats offers females aged between 5-11 a regular opportunity to play football in a fun and engaging environment, making new friends and creating foundations for a lifelong love of sport along the way.
The visit was part of the new #FootballFootprint campaign which is being run by The FA, the not-for-profit national governing body for the game in England, in conjunction with local County FAs. It is giving MPs an opportunity to meet the army of workers and volunteers who make grassroots football possible at a local level and to visit showcase sites, initiatives and matches.
In recognition of his support for football in Clacton, Stephen Andrews, FC Clacton Owner and Company Secretary, and Nick Emery, County Development Manager at the Essex County FA, presented Giles with his award. Watling reacted: “I was honoured to receive The FA’s Grassroots Champion award as part of their #FootballFootprint campaign.”
“Grassroots sport is a lifeline to local communities, helping people with their health and well-being, nurturing talent and, most importantly, bringing people together. I was delighted to see girls participating in football with the SSE Wildcats and an enthusiastic group of voluntary coaches, and the Chairman.”
“The work that The FA, the Essex County FA and FC Clacton are doing to widen grassroots participation, improve facilities and support player development in the county is fantastic and I’m proud to support them as they continue their great work.”
Emery added: “We were delighted Giles was able to spend the morning with us, learning more about the #FootballFootprint in Clacton. Thousands of volunteers help us to support local players week in, week out to make grassroots possible so we were thrilled to participate in #FootballFootprint, which champions their hard work and dedication to the game.”
If you’d like to find out more about getting involved in grassroots Essex football as a player, coach, referee, volunteer or in any other way, browse the menus above, follow @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and search for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.