Mark Francois MP visited Rayleigh Town FC to cheer on at their matches on Saturday 26th October as part of The Football Association’s #FootballFootprint campaign, also receiving a ‘Grassroots Champion’ Award to recognise his ongoing support for the local game.
Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, joined the club for their weekend home fixtures where he also learnt more about how investments through The FA are widening grassroots participation and improving facilities in the local community.
During the visit, Mark backed Rayleigh before looking around the club’s facilities, including the clubhouse which was also hosting a fundraising day for Havens Hospices. At the end of his visit, Mark was presented with an award from the Essex County FA, honouring him as a Grassroots Champion in recognition of his support for the grassroots game in Rayleigh.
The visit was part of the #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 gives MPs an opportunity to meet with the army of workers and volunteers who make grassroots football possible at a local level and to visit showcase sites, initiatives and matches.
Mark said: “It was a pleasure to visit Rayleigh Town FC as part of the #FootballFootprint campaign to learn more about the great work going into grassroots football in Rayleigh.”
“Football forms such a fundamental part of the local community and it was clear to see from my visit that the facilities here don’t just provide space for budding young footballers to play the beautiful game, but also a community space which brings people together.”
Nick Emery, County Development Manager at the County FA, said: “We were delighted that Mark was able to spend the afternoon with us to learn more about the grassroots game in Rayleigh. Staff and volunteers put a huge amount of effort into delivering the local game each week and it was great to be able to recognise their hard work through The FA’s #FootballFootprint campaign.”
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 sections above, follow @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and search for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.