Recently Cumberland FA announced The FA and McDonald's Grassroots County Award winners thanks to a number of special guests.
The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards are for people who make a positive difference. It’s our way to celebrate the fantastic individuals who put their heart and soul into the grassroots game across England – and say a huge thank you to the incredible volunteers who inspire us all.
After receiving nominations from across Cumberland in the nine categories, an awards panel was brought together to select the county winners for each award.
When the football season ended in 2020, the Carlisle based Sunday League team, Inter Pirelli FC were fundraising for their Club and had £900 available for the club and as a prize draw prize.
Rather than continue with this, the Club decided to donate all of the money to provide hampers to the NHS staff at the local hospital, front line workers and care homes around Carlisle. The team went above and beyond to show their appreciation to those on the front line during this time.
This team of adults really demonstrated the value grassroots football plays within their local community. We as a CFA were blown away by the team’s willingness to put others first at a time of need. As a County FA we are immensely proud that a single 'one-man band' club made such a positive impact during the pandemic.
The tough tackling Sunday League team showed their hearts on their sleeves for the NHS and front line workers during a very difficult time.
Carlisle United FC’s David Holdsworth announced the Grassroots Club of the Year Award. Watch it HERE on our YouTube channel.
Watch the Club of the Year Announcement
Jamie is the manager and club secretary for Northside FC who are a one team adult club who play in the Workington & District Sunday League. Not only has Jamie managed the team to become one of the most successful teams within the West of the County, having won their respective league on a number of occasions and reaching the Sunday County Cup Final last season, but he has also installed the club at the heart of the local community.
During the last lockdown Jamie helped to support and volunteered at a local foodbank that was run from the local community centre. As well as assisting with the collection and distribution of food, Jamie, teammates and sponsors also collected and delivered more than 160 selection boxes and toys to local Children to open on Christmas day. Inspired by Marcus Rashford, Jamie also organised a burger van for those who reside on Northside and Siddick, where people could get a hot dog, chips, a drink and a goody bag for free.
Jamie is a fantastic ambassador to the grassroots game, providing an outlet for players on a Sunday (and through the week) with the community at the heart of the team.
Jimmy Glass announced the Grassroots Coach (Adult) of the Year Award. Watch it HERE on our YouTube channel.
Watch the Adult Coach of the Year Announcement
Darren is the lead coach at Gillford Park U9 Gillies. Throughout the different periods of lockdown Darren consistently engaged with his young side in what was a challenging period for us all.
In June last year he and his young team took part in a virtual walk to Wembley, raising money along the way for two local charities and even gaining national recognition on the Capital FM breakfast show.
He then planned and delivered weekly challenges and zoom session to his players and parents so that he could keep up to date with the well-being of his squad.
Darren is clearly committed to the overall development of the young players he coaches. This is not only through his clear commitment to develop himself through completing various coaching courses and regularly attending CPD opportunities (both local and National), but also through his natural personality, which makes him an inspiring figure to those who are lucky enough to work with him.
Darren's enthusiasm and attitude towards grassroots football has been infectious for a number of seasons now. An advocate of the key messages from the foundation phase DNA, Darren showed the value a grassroots coach can have on players during the pandemic. He kept young players engaged during difficult times and went above and beyond the role of a grassroots coach for his young players. Darren is a credit to the grassroots game in Cumberland. A coach that is constantly striving to improve himself and others around him.
The FA’s Pete Sturgess announced the Grassroots Coach (Youth) of the Year Award. Watch it HERE on our YouTube channel.
Watch the Youth Coach of the Year Announcement
David has created a walking football club with the highest standards of inclusion and integration which is also competitive nationwide. Through David’s hard work and commitment, the club now boasts over 30 members and 3 sessions a week.
David is always the first one to put himself forward to support the growth of Walking Football in Cumberland. David has created a blueprint for a very successful Walking Football Club that caters for all who are looking to get involved.
David goes above and beyond simply arranging a weekly kick around. He has been instrumental in creating Cumbria's first Walking Football Competition Programme, bringing together teams and players from all over the county. David also encourages new players and designs sessions to cater for all.
Jimmy Glass announced the Volunteer of the Year Award. Watch it HERE on our YouTube channel.
Watch the Volunteer of the Year Announcement
Tom has been a fantastic ambassador for groundskeeping in Cumberland over the past few years. As the volunteer groundsman, his dedication and attention to detail has been recognised not just in Cumberland but around the Country. He does all this while playing in goal for the team, a full-time job and a young family.
Tom’s commitment to self-development has supported his quest for a fantastic playing surface with his keenness to develop his knowledge ‘off the pitch’ resulting in his completion of both Level 1 and 2 GMA awards.
Even during the difficult last 12 months, Tom has dedicated his time and continued to improve the pitch at Kirkoswald FC with the use of the resources available through the Pitch Preparation Fund and the small grants funding schemes. This has given the club a massive boost with the purchase of new machinery and most recently the award of 6 years funding from the Football Foundation through the enhanced maintenance programme.
Adam Cooper, the GMA Regional Pitch Advisor for the North West announced the Grounds Team of the Year Award. Watch it HERE on our YouTube channel.
Watch the Grounds Team of the Year Announcement
Sam is a loyal member of Windscale AFC currently playing in the Under 16’s, he’s a model player and clubman that gives everything for his club.
In February Sam raised money for Hospice at Home by running every day in February. Sam had to run in some horrendous weather conditions, but he stuck at it and showed great determination to get it done!
Sam’s thought for others, determination and use of initiative stand out, he’s committed to everything he does and always gives 100%. He’s a willing volunteer for a Windscale AFC, always happy to help with any additional tasks that may need to be done.
Sam epitomises what a junior player should look to be, both on and off the field. Sam has captained his team many times and is always supportive of his other teammates and the club. He has shown this same, selfless spirit throughout lockdown completing this challenge to raise money for a local charity whilst overcoming the adverse Cumbrian elements along the way.
Another rising star, James Trafford announced the Rising Star of the Year Award. Watch it HERE on our YouTube channel.
Watch the Rising Star of the Year Announcement
Ben made the step up from Youth football to adult football recently and showed fantastic determination and self-belief to make it a successful transition.
Ben always strives to be the best he can be and is keen to learn from his own performances and from others.
During the lockdown period, Ben kept himself fit and connected with his support network and was very keen to get back on the pitch when it was safe to do so.
Former Premiership Referee Uriah Rennie announced the Match Official of the Year Award. Watch it HERE on our YouTube channel.
Watch the Match Official of the Year Announcement
Whitehaven AFC as a whole Club stepped up during the pandemic and supported its local community as well as its members. They made an incredible effort to ensure that everyone had support available during the pandemic and connected with local businesses for a coordinated approach. Hosting a food bank and the hot meals project ensured the club was a hub for the local community.
This project went further than just football and demonstrated that a Community Club can do more than just provide football opportunities. At a time of need the project ensured that families in the local area were still able to access hot meals at no cost to themselves.
As well as this, during the pandemic the club and its coaches ran competitions for players throughout the age groups, engaged players in keeping fit and active, held online quizzes and guest player appearances using technology to keep young players engaged.
Jarad Branthwaite announced the Project of the Year Award. Watch it HERE on our YouTube channel.
Watch the Project of the Year Announcement
Andrea was part of the original Workington Reds Ladies team that started in the 1990’s. A talented player who went on to play for Windscale, Workington Reds again and most recently Allerdale Wildcats and Carlisle United Ladies. Football was a big part of Andrea and her family’s life. Her husband David is a registered referee with Cumberland FA and has officiated numerous games in the local Saturday and Sunday leagues; whilst their son is a football fanatic and talented player who Andrea was helping to coach at St Bees.
Football also played a part in helping Andrea to deal with her own Mental Health, from which she suffered and courageously battled for a number of years. The grassroots game was therefore saddened to learn that Andrea had taken her own life.
Andrea was a team mate to many and friend to even more. Someone said of her that she was always there to give practical advice, lend a caring ear and encourage younger teammates. She had talked openly and honestly about her own mental health, often using her sense of humour as a way of relaxing and encouraging others to do likewise.
David and Andrea's family are amazing and whilst dealing with such intense grief themselves it is clear that they wish to raise awareness of Andrea’s situation and others like her with the view to ensuring that conversations around mental health are encouraged and that football is not only seen as a potential way of alleviating mental health symptoms; but is also part of breaking down the stigma attached with openly talking about how we are feeling. The family have worked with Cumberland FA, establishing the Andrea Buggy Trophy, supported by Every Life Matters Cumbria
The Andrea Buggy Trophy has encouraged people to talk about Mental Health and enabled the CFA to raise the awareness of the support provided to those in need.
A number of short talks called CFA Team Talks around different subjects have been recorded and made available to clubs and Kooth are now involved with the programme to support children's mental health as well. This is a legacy programme that will positively impact numerous people over the seasons to come.
This is only a small way for grassroots football in Cumberland to pay our respects and, alongside her family, honour her memory, her life and her love of the game.
Watch the video HERE on our YouTube channel.
Watch the Spirit of Grassroots Football Award Announcement
The quality of the nominations was so great, that there were a number of nominees shortlisted who we feel deserve recognition for their work and dedication in the grassroots game and have been given a Highly Commended Award.
Congratulations And Thank You To The Nominees Who Were Given The Highly Commended Award:
GRASSROOTS CLUB OF THE YEAR
Carlisle Reivers PAN Disability
Gillford Park JFC
Maryport Athletic FC
GRASSROOTS (YOUTH) COACH OF THE YEAR
Louise Pettitt (Maryport Athletic JFC)
Stacey Eland (Allerdale Girls)
GRASSROOTS (ADULT) COACH OF THE YEAR
Neil Jeffrey (Dalston Black Reds)
GRASSROOTS MATCH OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR
GRASSROOTS PROJECT OF THE YEAR AWARD
Penrith Walking Football
Gillford Park Wildcats
GRASSROOTS VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
John Heywood (West Cumbria Youth League)
Justin Boots (Seaton JFC)
GROUNDS TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD
Malcolm Allison (Workington Reds JFC)
Tony Penn (Workington Reds JFC)
Ben Welsh (Langwathby Utd)
RISING STAR OF THE YEAR AWARD
Jack Buchanan (Whitehaven AFC)
THE SPIRIT OF GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL AWARD
Claire Burgess (Carlisle Reivers Inclusive Football)
Jaic Miller (Denton Holme FC)