Aspiring grassroots footballers from two underrepresented groups will soon have the opportunity to play in more teams thanks to the Grow the Game programme, a £1.5m investment by The FA.
Grow the Game, which is delivered by the Football Foundation and first launched back in 2010, offers grants to grassroots football clubs that wish to create new teams. This year, applications are being encouraged from clubs who want to start:
• Women and girls teams
• Disability teams
Grow the Game grants help to reduce the costs associated with starting new grassroots football teams by making £1,500 available for each that a club creates. Expenditure that the funding can help a club pay for includes: FA coaching courses; FA league affiliation costs; referees’ fees; first aid kits; and even football kit and equipment through a bespoke voucher.
The application window for Grow the Game applications are now open and closes on Thursday 29 March. Clubs seeking more information on the programme should contact Manchester FA's Lee Folkard (details at bottom), or visit the Football Foundation website.
Grow the Game is inclusive of players from different genders, ethnic backgrounds, faiths, ages, sexual orientations and those with disabilities. Applications that originate from, or provide for, underrepresented communities are being encouraged.
In addition, male teams of Under-17s-and-upwards that already exist will soon be able to apply for support from a new FA, retention-focused scheme called Retain the Game, which will offer £1m to successful applicants and launch in April. It will allow open-age male teams to apply for financial support to aid their continued participation in the game.
Last year the Football Foundation, England’s largest sports charity, and FA initiative supported:
• 2,047 new teams
• 10,016 female footballers
• 18,941 male footballers
• 7,407 new coaching qualifications
As well as Grow the Game, the Football Foundation delivers the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund on behalf of the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England. Since 2000, the Foundation has supported over 15,000 grassroots projects worth more than £1.4bn.