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.
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 County FA or visit the Football Foundation website.
Phil Neville, England Women’s Head Coach, said:
“Given both my professional and personal backgrounds, this scheme is particularly close to my heart. I work with some fantastic professionals in the England Women’s Senior Team and know that playing for their country has been a dream come true.
“Providing as many opportunities as we can for girls and women to get involved in the game is crucial if we are to continue developing the women’s game at all levels. 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.”