England Blind footballer Brandon Coleman believes the latest ‘Grow the Game’ grants will go a long way to helping more disabled players find their feet.
The programme is delivered by the Football Foundation and includes a £1.5m investment from the FA, with the aim of reducing the costs associated with starting new grassroots teams.
And by making £1500 available for each disabled or women’s and girls’ team that a club creates, the scheme is backed by the Hampshire-born player who scored five goals at last year’s Euro Finals where England finished third.
“By recognising areas of the game where playing opportunities are really limited, and focusing on developing them by providing funds that could make all the difference,” said Coleman.
“Grow the Game plays a big part in making sure that football in England is open and accessible for all.”
Costs that the funding can help a club pay for includes coaching courses, league affiliation costs, referees’ fees, first aid kits and even football kit and equipment through a bespoke voucher.
Last year, the Football Foundation and FA initiative supported further growth in the game with the creation of 2,047 new teams, 10,016 female footballers, 18,941 male footballers and 7,407 new coaching qualifications.
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.
The application window for Grow the Game applications is now open and closes on Thursday 29 March.
In addition, male teams of U17s-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.