Achieving goals, making a difference - through the Barclays Community Football Fund
By Sported | 13 February 2023
By Sported | 13 February 2023
Team Brave in Bath has an ambitious mission, on and off the pitch.
“We focus on using football as a way to help vulnerable girls and women with their confidence, self-esteem and overall health and wellbeing,” they stated.
The goals, admirable each one, keep coming. “We work with young people who mainly come from the local community,” Lancashire-based Bahja Initiative, which targets ethnic-minority groups, outlined.
“They belong to a group which is the least active when compared to all groups and we try to inspire them by having accessible role models who are their coaches so they are encouraged not only to take part, but also to believe they themselves can become coaches too.”
For young people, these centres of excellence within their local areas double as safe spaces where they can be themselves with all the support in the world.
Now more than ever, they are needed. “The big problem we have is that the gangs are becoming more younger and they are recruiting children from a young age,” a leader from New Park Village Football Development in Wolverhampton confirmed.
“We want use football to bring young people together that were at risk of becoming involved with anti-social behaviour and gang related activities.”
That is where the Barclays Community Football Fund lends a critical assist.
Launched in 2022 in a corporate partnership with Sported, it aims to create opportunities for all through access to football, offering grants but also training and support resources to groups to reduce inequalities and make a genuine difference in the lives of young people across the UK.
Almost a quarter-million young people were helped in its opening year, thanks to £975,000 in backing from Barclays with support from its staff.
The initiative, now headed into Year 2, harnesses the ability of football to reach and engage all ages and all sections of our society. Armchair fans to aspiring Eric Diers, Ian Wrights and Kelly Smiths. Monday to Sunday. Dusk til dawn.
More than a game. Life skills. Connections. A sense of purpose and belonging – for everyone.
“We aim to have 25 young people, who identify as LGBTQ+, participate in the sessions on a weekly basis,” underlined YMCA Newark and Sherwood, one of the 1,800 clubs who received support from the Barclays Community Football Programme in 2022. “We will be creating a place where they feel safe, confident and able to freely be themselves.”
The @BarclaysUK Community Football Fund is back for 2023! ⚽— Sported (@sported_UK) February 13, 2023
With our support, over 200,000 young people were given access to football last year.
To find out more about the programme, including for information on how you can apply for funding for your group, visit our website! pic.twitter.com/2ROzmGxPRa
Getting everyone on the pitch is vital. Getting more girls involved to ensure the growing interest in the women’s game translates into opportunities to play, or contribute in other ways.
And also those from lower socio-economic and other under-represented groups – including racially diverse communities and people with disabilities.
Sported’s research found that:
While Sported’s partnership with eCoach offered training in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
Tankerton Football Club in Kent has an active deaf and pan-disability arm and has now introduced sensory football to broaden its reach.
“Our passion is to make football inclusive to all, including vulnerable groups,” its leaders declared. “And give everyone the opportunity to progress and flourish regardless of ability or background.”
More doors are open. But opportunity still knocks in 2023.
To leverage football’s ability to impact and hit the back of the net in a way that previous participants have found invaluable.
“Genuinely, your support is so vital to our work that words fail me to express just how crucial it is,” Paul Nilson from Team Oasis Inclusive Children’s’ Charity in Liverpool underlined of the Barclays Community Football Fund.
“Personally it is extremely gratifying to know that our totally inclusive aims and objectives are valued and appreciated. For our team, inclusion and ‘participation for all’ has to be a cornerstone for building a fairer, more learned, appreciative, understanding and respectful society into the future.
“We remain totally grateful to you.”