In the same week that England lifted the Women’s EURO 2022 trophy, the Merseyside Police & Police & Crime Commissioner She Inspires Football Programme has been successfully shortlisted in the Women & Girls category at the 2022 County FA Recognition Awards.
The Awards, which will be announced at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Thursday 15 September 2022, recognise and endorse the best projects, products and services delivered by County FAs over the past two seasons while sharing best practice and learnings from around the country.
A record breaking 235 submissions have been entered from the 50 County FAs operating across England, highlighting continuous improvements and showcasing how they are innovating to improve grassroots football and increase participation across all levels of the game.
The eleven categories which will be recognised at the awards were:
• Brand Engagement
• Coach Development
• Digital Engagement
• Employee Engagement
• Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
• Football Development
• Insight & Data
• Special recognition
• Women & Girls
• Youth Engagement
The She Inspires Football Programme has made the final shortlist for the Women & Girls Football Award. The programme saw partners Merseyside Police, Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner, LFC Foundation, Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership, Everton in the Community, Grassroots Football Clubs and Liverpool FA come together to deliver a bespoke Female Football Programme targeting 15-18yrs girls. 12 weekly coaching sessions were delivered which saw over 120 girls involved, with sessions/teams then participating in the penultimate Tournament. All girls been given the opportunity to complete a fully funded FA Referees Course and Introduction to Coaching Football.
Liverpool FA CEO, Tony Smith, said: “This is the first time that we have worked collaboratively with our partners to develop and deliver opportunities for girls in football in Merseyside. Following the success of this programme, our aim is to continue working together to improve the female game across Merseyside and the lives of our players.”
Merseyside Police, Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy, said: “This initiative was about ensuring that young women in our communities have access to the opportunities they deserve, which is why I’m delighted at its success. To have made the shortlist for the Women & Girls Football Award means that what we’re offering to the participants really is top-quality. We wanted them to be inspired, have access to professional training and great educational opportunities. To know that our tournament achieved that is fantastic.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, said: “I am thrilled that our She Inspires tournament has been shortlisted for this award. To be chosen as one of the top four projects from 50 submissions across the country is brilliant recognition and is testament to the enthusiasm and passion of all the partners who worked so hard together to make this amazing tournament such a success. It truly was inspiring to see the progress of the young women who took part in the final and I hope this programme will go on to even bigger things in the next few years as women’s football goes from strength to strength.”
Detective Superintendent Siobhan Gainer, Head of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership – who assisted with the funding for She Inspires – said: “This award nomination pays due tribute to all those involved in the programme, but crucially, is more recognition of the power of women’s football to unite us and encourage and inspire. Young people understand that sport, culture, and the arts are positive activities that improve their life chances. We just have to make sure they are accessible. That was the goal of She Inspires and like the Lionesses, the girls took their golden opportunity and achieved.”
Matt Parish, LFC Foundation Chief Executive, said: “It’s a great achievement to be recognised by the FA for the She Inspires Football Programme, which has been so well received by girls across Merseyside, with 90% of participants telling us that they now feel there are enough opportunities to gain qualifications in football.
“This programme demonstrates the power of collaborative working to deliver more opportunities for girls to get into football and more broadly provide a positive long-term impact on the women’s game.”
The FA’s Head of Operations for Grassroots Football, Tim Foster added: “I’d like to congratulate Liverpool FA and their Programme Partners in making the final shortlist for the Women & Girls Award and all of the other County FAs for their excellent submissions which are testament to their dedication and achievements over the past two seasons.
“The long-standing partnership between the FA and County FAs is a crucial part of our long-term strategy for grassroots football. The partnership is committed to serving those that participate and are involved in the game, and providing the leadership needed to ensure future generations continue to enjoy and benefit from our national game.
“We look forward to recognising and rewarding our County FAs at Wembley Stadium in September and thanking each and every one of them for the vital work they deliver across their local communities.”
For more information on the work of County FAs, visit www.englandfootball.com/explore/county-football-associations