A pair of underrepresented groups from grassroots football are being given new opportunities to play the game thanks to funding from the Football Foundation’s excellent Grow the Game programme.

The scheme provides grants of up to £1,500 for the creation of new female and disability football teams – as well as coaching qualifications – with money provided by The FA.

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. phil neville

Applications are being taken from existing football clubs looking to create new teams, as well as futsal clubs, youth clubs with a football programme, community groups, charitable organisations and local authorities. The new teams must be female teams – from under 7s through to adult – or disability teams.

The creation of new football teams can be a pricey affair, and the grant will cover those essential costs including facility hire, coaching courses, referees fees, the hiring of fully qualified coaches and loads more. Successful applications will receive a grant of £1,500 for every new team created over two or three years with reduced financial support offered in the second and third years of the project.

Alex Greenwood, England and Manchester United Women’s full-back, 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. alex greenwood

To apply, your club will need a signed constitution, as well as child protection and equal opportunities policies.

The application window for Grow the Game is open and closes on Thursday 28 March. You can apply for a Grow the Game grant here

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