Former England Manager Graham Taylor OBE and Football Foundation Chief Executive Paul Thorogood paid tribute to the mums and dads across Britain – approximately one million of them – who give up their precious evenings and weekends for nine months each season to enable their sons and daughters to play the game they love.
As coaches, makeshift drivers and kit washers they are the lifeblood of the game and without these volunteers it would not be able to survive. It is therefore essential that they are provided with the support needed to ensure the game is played in the right way, with the right ethos, and in the right conditions.
The Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity with an annual income of £40m provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has supported 7,034 grass roots football projects worth £835m.
This investment has helped build first-class new facilities, develop junior football clubs and provide free kit and equipment, enabling parents and volunteers to get on with the business of developing the next generation of footballing enthusiasts.
Speaking on behalf of the Football Foundation, Graham Taylor said: “Supporting volunteers at the grass roots is essential. If you think about the ultimate football icon of the last ten years – David Beckham – where did he come from? Like everyone else, it was through the grass roots.
“So the £835m worth of projects that the Football Foundation has supported in the last nine years is crucial to assisting those mums and dads who give up their spare time week in, week out.
“That investment has come from the Premier league, The FA and Government, along with local match funders, and long may it continue.”