Funding Helps AFC Unity Grow the Game

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Grassroots soccer in Sheffield has been given a helping hand following a £1,500 Grow the Game grant from the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.

The grant will allow AFC Unity to develop our women’s 11-a-side team that is for the first time entering the Sheffield & Hallamshire Women’s County Football League. The club as a whole is aiming to initiate a range of activities and projects that will raise awareness of women’s soccer and increase engagement through tackling barriers that women face entering the sport.

The Premier League and The FA fund the Grow the Game scheme with £1.5m, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, the nation’s largest sports charity. The scheme is designed to increase participation in our national game by helping clubs to meet the essential costs of starting new teams.

The key strength of Grow the Game is that its participation increases are sustainable rather than transient. Its grants create a solid infrastructure of teams and newly-trained coaches in which new people can start playing the sport, rather than simply providing temporary activity sessions, which are then vulnerable to drops in participation once the programme ends.

This year sees a particular emphasis placed on increasing the number of teams and players from the Under-15 age bracket and above, to address the decline in participation that has traditionally occurred as young people leave school and college. The other key focus is on growing the numbers of girls’, women’s and disability teams.

Jay Baker, club manager, said: “The Football Foundation has been absolutely crucial for AFC Unity in being able to literally grow the game for AFC Unity, at a time when we’re entering the league for the 2014/15 season, and looking to build a solid basis of club sustainability long-term.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Grow the Game has become one of the Foundation’s most popular schemes. This additional funding provided by the Premier League and The FA is excellent news for grassroots clubs seeking to start new teams and get their volunteer coaches qualified with FA coaching badges.

“Congratulations to AFC Unity for working with the Sheffield & Hallamshire FA to secure their £1,500 Grow the Game grant which will increase participation in the region as well as support football development in the area.”

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