Clubs and projects attended a workshop in Chelmsford to express their interest in a portion of £75,000 worth of Football Foundation ‘Grow the Game’ support which will increase player and volunteer participation in Essex by up to 50 teams.
Grow the Game (GTG) takes some of the money worries out of facility costs, league and referee fees, first aid equipment and coaching courses for brand new sides.
Clubs can apply for £1,500 of assistance per team towards up to four teams from a pot provided by the Premier League and The FA. This year’s application window is open until Sunday 22nd February so the Essex County FA organised a support evening on Thursday 15th January.
Interested parties gathered at Essex County Cricket Club where Development Officers offered hints and tips on meeting the basic eligibility criteria in certain priority areas.
These include boys’ teams from Under 14s upwards who are making a transition, for example from Under 15s into 16s. In addition, applications are preferred from adult male teams plus female teams of all age groups making a transition, as well as disability teams.
Senior Development Officer Ian Bent began with a presentation highlighting this year’s criteria changes, the timescales involved and certain elements which make for a strong application. This was followed by a ‘breakaway’ session where clubs received one-to-one attention from their local Development Officers, who enquired about teams’ own requirements.
GTG’s participation increases are sustainable, creating a solid infrastructure for new people to start playing, rather than providing temporary activity sessions which are vulnerable to drops in participation once a programme ends. Interested parties who didn’t attend the workshop can still contact their local Development Officer for advice on putting forward a strong application, although clubs who received GTG funding in 2014 are not eligible.