FA Community Awards: 2017 Winners Announced

Local Lancashire FA recipients revealed

Lancashire FA is excited to announce the local winners of the FA Community Awards!

We received nominations from all over Lancashire in recognition of clubs, leagues and individuals, and we are delighted to have selected our winners in each category.

The eighth annual FA Community Awards, presented by McDonalds, recognises and rewards the people and organisations driving grassroots football.

The Awards build on the continued commitment of The FA to improve standards of community football and increase participation across all aspects of grassroots football through FA Charter Standard Clubs and Leagues.

Our Lancashire FA Community Award winners are as follows:


The FA Charter Standard Club Award

AHF FC

Abu Hanifah Foundation Football Club has grown from two teams three seasons ago to over 400 children across 14 teams from U7s to U12s. The club runs a girls sports club every week and a growing PAN Disability session, as well as a Youth Council which allows the children at the club to make decisions and improve services. Last July, over 800 people attended the club’s end-of-year celebration, which offered food, activities and a football tournament and was organised with the assistance of the Youth Council.

Hospitality is offered at matches and events through by sharing food and gifts to develop create friendships, while the club also has links to the community through the local police force, providing football to help young offenders, and with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, delivering free coaching within the poorer communities of Blackburn. AHF FC’s community spirit was evident in their fundraising event for Theo Power, a local boy suffering from a rare cancer, through the Lancashire FA Quidz4Kidz initiative. The club has also taken part in national campaigns, supporting Kick It Out’s #WeAreAllEngland campaign during Euro 2016 with a video celebrating the support for BME communities in England.

Those involved at the club go above and beyond for grassroots football; vice-chairman Abid Saleh, who recently received an MBE, is a member of the Lancashire FA Inclusion Advisory Group, while club secretary Yasir Sufi is a committee member at the East Lancashire Football Alliance and a board member at the East Lancashire Football Development Association, helping to provide the best facilities possible in East Lancashire for grassroots teams. AHF FC are committed to inclusion and creating a fun, friendly and safe environment for children of all backgrounds and are fully deserving of this recognition.


The FA Charter Standard Community Club Award

Leigh Genesis FC

Leigh Genesis FC is a vibrant, inclusive, integrated and sustainable club offering football to male and female players, with participants ranging from four years old to over 60 years old. Over the last three seasons, the club has developed into 50 teams and 400 fee-paying members, with an effective and dedicated committee. During this time, Leigh Genesis has seen its membership profile shift from predominantly male U7-U18 to include some 40 female members and around 100 adult males. Out of 100 volunteers, male and female, 46 of are qualified coaches and 35 are licensed coaches, and they are recognised at an annual awards night.

Leigh Genesis also have a well-established Youth & Girls Committee and received the Lancashire FA Youth Onside award in December. The club’s links to the community are apparent in their partnership with Lowton High School, which oversaw a football development plan to benefit both the club and school with revamped facilities, as well as their work with Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles and Wigan Athletic Community Trust.

Additionally, Leigh Genesis deliver a range of activities for non-members, such as Community Girls, Trim Down Shape Up and Walking Football.  The club achieved recognition with the prestigious Club of the Year award at the 2016 Believe Sports Awards in Wigan in October, and they have now been rewarded with further recognition with a local FA Community Award for all their hard work.


The FA Charter Standard League of the Year Award

East Lancashire Football Alliance

The ELFA were determined to look into ways to keep teams playing football during bad weather, and after consulting with league members and meeting with Les Howie, the FA’s Head of Grassroots Delivery, decided to introduce a three-part season for 2016/17. Part 1 saw U12s and upwards playing each other once in a league format from September to November. Leagues were adjusted through promotion and relegation for Part Two, where over eight 3G pitches were sourced and subsidised to ensure games were played from November to February. Part Three saw Champions League-style cup runs which ran until May. The result – over 600 more games than in the corresponding timeframe last season, with more competitive matches and more teams enjoying the thrill of winning a trophy.

The winter weather was tackled at the league’s younger age groups as the ELFA paid in full for over 30 coaches to attend the FA Futsal Level 1 course. Between November and February, 124 teams played at seven local venues, as children enjoyed a new version of the game and kept active during the worst of winter. Additionally, the league will see nine new pitches open during the summer, as a result of collaborating with two adult leagues and the local council, submitting funding bids and applying for grants. It’s clear to see that the ELFA have invested and strived to provide children with opportunities to play football and their efforts should be commended.


Best Inclusive Project Award

Leigh Genesis FC

The grass pitch drainage project between Lowton High School and Leigh Genesis FC aimed to develop an unusable playing field for the use of both the school and the club. A football development plan was created and the project, which involved upgrading the drainage system and re-landscaping the area, was put into action. The playing field, incorporating three 11-a-side pitches and one 9-a-side pitch, was opened for use in September 2016, and the club uses facilities made available by the school, such as a clubhouse building and changing rooms. Classrooms are also used to deliver In-Service workshops and elements of the club’s youth education programme.

The project has proven to be a success, with the club and school working together to provide a high-quality and safe environment for people of all ages and gender to play football, and bringing together all areas of one club to meet, train and play in the same place.


People’s Award - Outstanding Contribution to Community Football

David Tynan, Penwortham St Teresa’s

Aged just 24, David epitomises what junior community coaching is all about. He is the chairman of Penwortham St Teresa’s JFC, a community club delivering football to children aged from six to 18, having previously played for them and beginning his coaching journey there aged 16. David is a coaching mentor for the U7s coaches and a coach himself for the U15s, as well as the lead coach of the club’s pre-academy which delivers coaching for children from Reception to Year 2. He also coaches the club’s new youth team – which he set up so the club didn’t lose players once they had finished junior football – and is in the process of setting up a senior team to complete the player pathway.

David promotes youth engagement, helping the club to receive its Youth Onside award, as well as maintaining the club’s Charter Standard status and enhancing their reputation in the community. Last year, an U16s player at the club was sadly killed in a car crash, and it was David who helped organise a perfect send-off for the player and engaged other local clubs to unite and celebrate the young player’s life. David is a fantastic role model for young people and is clearly totally committed to Penwortham St Teresa’s JFC, and we are delighted to award him with this accolade.


Young Volunteer of the Year Award

Josh Strachan, Layton Juniors FC

At only 19 years of age, Josh has already committed five years to coaching at Layton Juniors FC. He’s completed the FA Level 1 in Coaching Football course, as well as the FA Safeguarding Children Workshop and the FA Emergency First Aid course, and will be soon starting his FA Level 2 in Coaching Football. Elsewhere, he achieved a triple distinction in BTEC Sports Performance and Excellence and is currently completing his Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching and Exercise Instruction, with his BA the next step.

Josh is now manager of Layton’s U13 team and volunteers for at least 10 hours per week on the pitch, spending even more time planning team tactics and keeping parents and carers informed with results updates and match reports via text or social media. Additionally, in order to combat disrespectful behaviour, he introduced new fair play rules for the boys to abide by, and has also planned a fun social fundraiser to bring the team together. His passion for football has helped lift a team dropping through the local leagues and facing disbandment, to an A league local position with the Saturday team and B league in their first 11-a-side games on a Sunday, which is no mean feat. He helps the boys balance their school, sport and social lives and inspires them to continue training through the tough times – some are even considering taking the same career path as they see him as a role model.

Josh’s work ethic has been acknowledged previously – Layton Juniors were awarded the FA Respect Award in 2014 and Josh won Club Coach of the Year in 2015. We believe he thoroughly deserves this year’s Young Volunteer of the Year award for his dedication to the club.


Coach of the Year Award

Owen Coyle Junior

For the last four years, Owen has volunteered for the England Amputee Football Association (EAFA) and his role has progressed significantly during this time. He began by supporting the national amputee team with administration, before developing new teams and, more recently, taking on the Lead Coach role with the junior amputees. Owen’s consistent commitment to the EAFA has seen him now step up as the National Head Coach for the Senior Team, who will be competing in the Amp Futbol Cup in June.

Owen is a coach for Blackpool Community Trust, and within his paid work has developed new playing opportunities for both young people and adults with complex impairments within the Blackpool area. This has seen him work with key partners to develop walking football, as well as develop an autism-specific football session and powerchair football.

As an apprentice at Lancashire FA, Owen was the lead coach for the FA Player Development Centre. This programme looks to engage players with a disability/impairment who have talent and run a bespoke programme to help further develop their abilities, looking to signpost them to the FA Regional Talent Centres. Owen has also been an assistant coach for the FA Regional Partially Sighted and Deaf Futsal Centre this season which saw the two teams reaching third in the National Cup.

Our winners will be presented with their awards at the Molson Coors Senior Cup final on Wednesday August 9th at the County Ground (kick-off 7pm).

Iain Kay, Football Development Manager at Lancashire FA, said: "The FA Community Awards allows our volunteer workforce to gain recognition for the tremendous work they do supporting grassroots football and its ongoing development.

"Without their efforts we wouldn’t have a grassroots game and it’s important for the Lancashire FA and indeed the FA to acknowledge this and give something back.

"It’s our opportunity to really thank them for everything they do, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them on their achievements for the season and to wish them all the best for the coming season.

"I look forward to meeting all the winners at this year’s Molson Coors Senior Cup final."

Click here for more on the FA Community Awards