Nationwide Building Society have awarded £1,000 each to Essex-affiliated clubs FC Vilomah and White Roding Sports FC after they impressed judges in a UK-wide competition built around mutual respect within the grassroots game.
Britain’s biggest building society have partnered with football associations across the UK in landmark three-year deals to help foster positivity and respect across grassroots football. The simple aim is to create a society which is built on mutual respect.
In August, Nationwide committed to donating £50,000 to their newly-formed Mutual Respect Grants Fund to help support grassroots football. Clubs and teams could apply for one of the 50 grants by explaining why respect is important to their club to be in a chance of being awarded £1,000.
There were 600+ applications from across the UK, with FC Vilomah and White Roding Sports chosen amongst the lucky deserving winners. FC Vilomah’s application said: “Our club operates for families across the whole of Essex, supporting bereaved families after the loss of a child.”
“We run two teams and have 37 dads and families involved - one open-age team and one newly-established veterans side. The club was recently nominated for ‘Grassroots Project of the Year’ for Essex, receiving a commendation.”
“But we did actually win the ‘Spirit of Grassroots Football’ Award for the work we do in the community across Essex. We try to keep costs to a minimum to allow any family to be involved, regardless of background, as a child loss doesn’t take that into account, or financial circumstances. Any funding gained allows us to run the club successfully.”
Simon Johns, the founder of FC Vilomah, explained: “This grant will enable us to continue our work for another couple of seasons and be able to support fathers and families through football regardless of their financial background. The club was set up to help bereaved fathers and family members through a period of need, and this support from Nationwide is a huge boost.”
White Roding Sports’ application detailed: “White Roding is a small, rural village that not one of my players live in. When I took over, the ‘Super Vets’ team was on the verge of folding, so I was asked to help. Performances improved, new players were attracted, a cup final was reached for the first time and then, two days before our big day, Lockdown hit.”
“It was this deliberate down time that gave us an opportunity to think widely and deeply about more than football. The facilities that we used were somewhat neglected and not as well used by the community. With no money, but spare time and good hearts, we set about making some improvements. We joined forces with newfound friends to sand, paint, re-wire and re-place.”
“We’ve made new friends and supported each other as team mates. We’ve spoken about emotional health and eating much more healthily, whilst reducing our impact on the environment. I took over in challenging circumstances with a single mantra ‘to be better’. It’s been a roller-coaster two seasons of sweat, smiles and slices of cake - not forgetting the first silverware in several decades!”
Ashley Ward of White Roding Sports commented: “This grant will help us to grow further and help us to be even more significant in the local community. Building respect and bridges in our community is more important than winning corner kicks and football matches on the field. We thank Nationwide for their mutual respect approach to all areas of football and life.”
Emily Barker, Brand Partnerships Manager at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Mutual respect is something that we value at the core of Nationwide in everything we do, so to be able to give these grants to the clubs that need them the most, and those that themselves have demonstrated respect on and off the pitch, is really exciting.”
Click here for more information on Nationwide’s drive for more mutual respect in football and society. Details on grassroots Essex football can also be found in the menus above, by following @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.