Alfreton Town Football Club has won the Conference Premier Division Community Club of the year award for 2014.
The award also brings very welcome prize money of £10,000 to the Reds coffers which will help the highly-rated scheme progress further.
John Glasby, Community Scheme chairman and Reds Director, said: “What a proud night it was for the Reds.
“Three years ago our club chairman asked us to set up a Community Scheme which would involve the club in the community and hopefully the community would, in return, become more involved in the club.
“After only three years of operation we have not only carried out our brief, but won this prestigious award against much bigger clubs with far greater resources.”
In the first two years, the scheme provided employment for seven apprentices who all went on to achieve their qualifications whilst at the same time working within schools to provide numerous sport-related programmes.
At a time when school budgets for PE were at rock bottom, Alfreton Town’s community projects are still often the only formal exercise that pupils in infants and junior schools enjoy.
Glasby added: “In our third year we have seen a change in our personnel and wheverer possible we are using part-time players, often helping them to achieve their coaching qualifications for use in later life.
“The scheme has joined up with Academy-Links Ltd which is a company set up by John McGrath, and between us we are offering many different programmes throughout the area.
“John’s team of coaches has so far included Dan Bradley, Josh Law, Tom Shaw, Shaun Harrad and Ross Atkins but some of those will have to be replaced as they have now left the club.
“We are working at a number of schools within the area including Somercotes Infants, Somerlea Park Juniors, Copthorne Infants, Alfreton Park Community School, Tibshelf and Frederick Gents.
“Our programmes will be extended in the summer to include holiday clubs, junior tournaments and hopefully later a specially designed programme for schools to combat obesity through a healthy eating and living project.
“It’s a strange feeling at the moment in that our Scheme is more well-known and appreciated outside the club than within it. Many supporters have no idea what we do and maybe that’s our fault?
“Perhaps we need to blow our own trumpet a bit more but if anyone within the club would like to help please let me know, there is always something that wants doing.
“Now that we are using some of our players the scheme could possibly have some impact on the type of player we can attract to the club, so your help would not only benefit the scheme but could also perhaps have an effect on the first team squad.”
Alfreton Town Football Club’s Scheme is indebted to the Football Conference Trust who provide an annual grant and to Impact Marketing and Publicity Limited who are the scheme’s main sponsors. Without these the scheme couldn’t operate.
“To all those who have been involved, a very big thanks. It is a very proud achievement for the club and the extra money will help us to extend our projects earlier than anticipated” ended Glasby.
Any schools, youth organisations, grassroots football clubs etc who are interested in participating in Alfreton Town’s highly-rated community scheme, please feel free to contact email@example.com for further details.