A community football scheme that saw more than 1,000 new female and disability teams created across the country last year is returning to encourage even more people into regular football participation
Grow the Game, which is delivered by the Football Foundation and funded by The FA, was first launched in 2010 to provide clubs with funding for the creation of new teams and chances for aspiring footballers in the local community to play. Since launching, the scheme has helped to create over 11,000 new teams, delivering new playing opportunities to an estimated 144,000 community footballers.
The scheme will provide an investment of £1.5m to traditionally underrepresented groups in community football and give further playing opportunities in new disability, women’s and girl’s teams in the process.
Grow the Game grants of £1,500 will be made available to every new team created, helping to relieve the financial burden on clubs by helping towards FA coaching courses, league affiliation costs, referees’ fees, first aid kits or even kit and equipment. In 2018, the scheme helped to support the growth of 872 female and 294 disability teams respectively.
The application window for Grow the Game is now open and closes on Thursday 28 March. Clubs seeking more information on the scheme should contact their local Football Development Officer (see contact details below) or visit the Football Foundation website.
Karl Lingham, Hertfordshire FA County Development Manager and Acting CEO, said “We are delighted to see the return of Grow the Game which last year saw clubs across Hertfordshire gain access to £27,000 worth of funding to start new female and disability teams. Combined with the Retain the Game funding for male teams that will also be back soon, we look forward to helping more teams than ever get the support they need in 2019”.
Phil Neville, England Women’s Senior Team Head Coach, said: “Given both my professional and personal backgrounds, this scheme is particularly close to my heart. Firstly, I work with some fantastic professionals in the England Women’s Senior Team and if this scheme can help inspire more women and girls to play football and provide them with the opportunities to chase their dreams then it deserves to be applauded.”
“Secondly, as a father of a daughter with a disability, I firmly believe this should never act as a barrier to sports participation. I’m delighted to learn of the growth in the number of disability teams across the country, and the further funding that has been made available to support future development, giving more people than ever before the chance to get involved in the game.”
Alex Greenwood, England and Manchester United Women’s full-back, also praised the scheme: “Having joined Everton academy at eight years old, I was lucky enough to have access to top quality coaching and regular football from such a young age.”
“However, I know plenty of girls that were never able to access the same footballing education that I was because the number of opportunities simply weren’t there. It’s therefore incredibly important we make sure this is no longer an issue going forward and that if girls want to play competitive football they have ample opportunities to do so.”.
More funding coming soon
In addition, existing male adult clubs and teams from will also be able to apply for financial support from The FA, with the return of the retention-based scheme called Retain the Game. The scheme, which launched for the first time last year, helped to support over 2,300 male teams, with grants given to help provide financial support for clubs across the country. The scheme will launch again on Wednesday 17 April.
For more information regarding Grow the Game and how it could help your club could apply for funding to help create new teams, please contact your relevant Football Development Officer at Hertfordshire FA.
Beatrice Thirkettle – (Dacorum, Three Rivers, Watford, Welwyn and Hatfield)
01462 650224 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Dawes – (North Hertfordshire, St Albans and Hertsmere)
01462 650210 - email@example.com
Kieran Fox – (East Herts, Stevenage and Broxbourne)
01462 650223 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Maker – (Disability)
01462 650219 - email@example.com