Merseyrail Ladies FC is the latest grassroots football club to benefit from BT’s role as Lead Partner of the Home Nation Football Associations.
BT will work with the club to provide education and coaching opportunities in the local community, with a focus on women, and help improve the club’s facilities to support the development of the women’s game.
Merseyrail Ladies sits at the heart of a socially challenged community and, with the support of BT, will be able to provide invaluable playing opportunities for women and girls, with the financial backing to help expand the youth teams, strengthen coaching, and positively impact on more young women and families.
The club and community benefits will include:
1) BT Connected Club
- Improving the club’s facilities by joining BT’s Connected Club scheme with the Club receiving the very best connectivity for free. BT has now connected over 70 clubs across the Home Nations with a target of 200 by 2024.
2) Digital Skills Hub
- Acting as a community hub for BT to drive digital skills and football volunteering training within the local community. This is as part of BT’s digital skills programme, that has upskilled over 10m people to date.
3) Platform to grow Women’s Football
- Supporting BT’s ambition to enrol 50k new female football volunteers into grassroots football through the FA’s official course, BT Playmaker, by 2024. Merseyrail FC player and artist Chelcee Grimes recently presented BT’s mini-series, ‘Watch Us Rise’, following a group of young women who love football and the struggles they’ve had to navigate as they pursue their footballing dreams.
4) Lead Partner Status to Support Grassroots
- Sponsoring team playing kit that was otherwise unaffordable to the club. Fellow England partner Nike has come on board as the Club’s kit supplier and the BT logo will feature on the front of shirt for the next two years.
Merseyrail Ladies FC has enjoyed great success since its inception seven years ago, with the senior team reaching the fifth tier of the women’s game. In 2015, the club won a National FA Award for ‘Growing the Game’, in recognition of how much it has achieved in developing women’s football. Now entering its eighth season, the club has undergone a change in management and venue to allow the club to reach the next level. Merseyrail recently developed a pitch at Admiral Park, Toxteth, which became the first stadium developed in the UK with the sole aim of promoting women’s football.
BT’s support for grassroots football has already resulted in more than 50,000 enrolments to the BT Playmaker course, creating a new army of volunteers for grassroots football and free connectivity to over 200 clubs across the UK by 2024, including Merseyrail Ladies FC.
Pete Jeavons, marketing communications director said: “Supporting clubs such as Merseyrail Ladies FC is exactly the type of work we want to be doing in our role as lead partner of the Home Nations, to help break down barriers for women and get young girls and women involved in grassroots football. We are dedicated to creating a lasting legacy that will leave a positive imprint on local communities and inspire the next generation of footballers. With this partnership, we hope to continue our efforts in upskilling football communities through dedicated training and increasing the number of female volunteers in grassroots football.”
Merseyrail FC player and musician, Chelcee Grimes said: “I’m buzzing to have BT partner with my team Merseyrail Ladies. I’ve never had this much go into a ladies team even at all the top clubs I’ve been at over the years. To have this support from BT is incredible and will allow us to solely focus our efforts on winning trophies this season and not lose sleep about things beyond our control. “
Lee Austin, manager of Merseyrail Ladies FC said: “We at Merseyrail Ladies football club are delighted to enter into this partnership with BT. We are looking to build a real legacy for the women’s game in our area. This partnership will allow us to create real and sustainable relationships with our local community to support the wider ambitions of both ourselves and BT.”
The FA’s Head of Development, Louise Gear, said: “It’s great to see Merseyrail Ladies FC have been selected by BT to receive support in improving the clubs facilities, with the aim of benefitting the local community and encouraging more women and girls’ to play football and get involved in their club.
We really welcome BT’s involvement in the sport, The FA’s 2020-2024 Women’s and Girls’ strategy aims to inspire positive change and build a sustainable future for women’s and girls’ football in England, and our partners and initiatives such as this play an extremely important role in this strategic ambition, it’s a real team effort.”
As Lead Partner of the Home Nations FAs, BT is on a mission to support the areas of the game that need the most support, including grassroots, women’s, and para and disability football. The aim of the partnership is to help release the potential of these football communities and break down the barriers to getting involved in the beautiful game.