After receiving so many fantastic and deserving nominations, Derbyshire FA are delighted to announce this year’s Grassroots Award Winners.
The England Football & McDonald's Grassroots Awards recognize people who make a positive difference through the power of football. This is a chance 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.
With some truly inspiring nominations submitted this year, it made the award panels decision making process difficult, however after much deliberation, the award winners have been selected. All our winners have encouraged the very best, both in themselves and in everybody around them. They have risen to overcome challenges and made a truly positive impact in the game. See the winners below:
- Grassroots Grounds Team of the Year – Pilsley Community Football Club
Pilsley’s team of groundsmen fully maintain an 11v11 and 9v9 pitch at the Pilsley Sports Ground, where 16 teams of differing age groups use these pitches. Gary Watts, Stephen Walker and Gareth Lewin put in incredible hard work to maintain the pitches and the team’s work is carried out on a 100% volunteer basis. Their commitment and dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed, and they are worthy winners of this award.
- Grassroots League of the Year – High Peak Junior Football League
The HPJFL is a forward-thinking league and continually look at how they can develop. They host innovative festivals and cup tournaments, offering children the chance to participate in football throughout the Summer in rural areas of Derbyshire. HPJFL representatives attend all CFA events and offer valuable input and suggestions on progression and development of the game in Derbyshire.
- Grassroots Coach of the Year – Russell Cole (Pilsley Predators)
Russell Cole’s ideals as a coach consist of teamwork, commitment, and most importantly, fun. Numerous parents of Pilsey Predator’s players have nominated Russell for this award and thanked him for his hard work and compassion for the team, and the way that he inspires, leads, and builds each of the players. He has played a significant role in progressing the confidence and skills of the young players, highlighting the importance of working as a team and supporting one another.
- Grassroots Match Official of the Year – Lee Farthing
Lee Farthing is not only a fantastic referee, having refereed several cup finals this season and numerous games every weekend, but also a great person. He volunteers for his local Referee’s Association and local football club, and is Derbyshire’s mental health champion, promoting the importance of mental wellbeing and encouraging conversation for any match official aged 18 or over experiencing mental health problems. Lee is very deserving of this award and is a fine example of a grassroots hero.
- Grassroots Project of the Year – Sleetmoor United
This year has seen a fantastic 5-year project come to fruition at Sleetmoor United. A high-quality facility which not only supports the football club, but the wider community. The conception of a new 3G pitch; With the building of an artificial grass pitch and improvements to the existing facilities, Sleetmoor have succeeded in generating a healthy, vibrant, and sustainable community. 300+ participants participate in sport thanks to Sleetmoor and their successful project.
- Grassroots Rising Star of the Year – Thomas Dunkerley (Tintwistle Athletic FC)
At only 16 years old, Thomas Dunkerley, a developing footballer and goalkeeper himself, has made it his mission to coach Tintwistle Athletic’s young goalkeepers, instilling them with great encouragement and confidence. Thomas has his own practices and has made such a positive difference to the team. At such a young age, Thomas is already making such an impact in grassroots football, and that’s why he is deserving of the title ‘Grassroots Rising Star of the Year.’
- Grassroots Volunteer of the Year – Oliver Couch
Oliver Couch works tirelessly to improve access to, and the standards of, futsal and football for players of all abilities and ages. He gives countless hours not only to coaching, but mentoring fellow coaches, inspiring those around him due to his dedication to grassroots football. He delivers interesting, educational, and thought-provoking sessions for his U13 teams, and has been the chairman of Chesterfield Futsal League, Chesterfield Futsal Club and Chesterfield Junior Blues FC. Oliver does not seek reward for his incredible achievements and is extremely worthy of this award.
- The Spirit of Grassroots Football Award – Martyn Millward (Mickleover 95 FC)
Martyn, the Chairman of Mickleover 95, is a true advocate of the grassroots game and believes in the ethos that football is all about fun. Martyn is adamant that every child should have the opportunity to play, regardless of gender, ability or background, and his philosophy is evident in his work at Mickleover 95. Martyn is a sounding board, an inspirer, and someone who ensures the local community benefits from his work, with all club fundraising being split between the club and local charities or notable causes. Martyn is a believer that football is for all, and projects the spirit of grassroots every day.
- Grassroots Club of the Year – Stockbrook Colts
Stockbrook Colts offer grassroots football opportunities for young people who would not ordinarily be able to participate due to the cost and commitment involved. The club offers local children a sense of belonging and pride in the community. Sessions are offered to children of all ages and abilities in a safe, fun, footballing environment. Kenny & Kelly selflessly dedicate their time to support vulnerable families and are backed by a dedicated team of volunteers. The impact the club has made on the young people in the area is difficult to articulate, and it has made an outstanding contribution to grassroots in Derbyshire.
Derbyshire FA would like to say a huge congratulations to all the winners on their achievements and deserved recognition. Thank you to everybody that has supported grassroots football during this fantastic season. The award winners will be presented with their awards on the 23rd September at the Derbyshire FA Grassroots Awards Ceremony.