Club’s delight after being awarded prestigious grant

The successful development of girls’ and women’s football at Aylsham FC has won the club a £1,000 grant in a nationwide initiative.

Aylsham was one of only 50 clubs out of more than 600 to land a prestigious Mutual Respect Grant from the Nationwide Building Society.

Nationwide committed to donating a total of £50,000 to the grassroots football initiative and asked for applications from clubs explaining why respect is important to them.

Aylsham FC’s application was submitted by Hannah Burton, a player in the club’s ladies’ team and coordinator of the girls’ teams at Youngs Park.

Hannah’s submission said: “We ensure everyone’s opinion is heard before decisions are taken regarding the development of girls’/women’s football at the club. We believe people have different strengths and weaknesses and that every effort should be made to draw on their strengths and improve their weaknesses.

“We feel that within our coaching sessions it is important to allow the girls opportunities to ‘coach’ each other and help each other improve – not purely us telling them how to do everything.”

The application added that the club placed the wellbeing, safety and enjoyment of each player above everything else – including winning.

Speaking after hearing the club had won the grant, Hannah said: “I was delighted. We’ve put in a lot of work with the girls and ladies in the past few years. Parents have commented on how much of a community feel the club has and that’s why their children come to play for us.”

Hannah added that there was strong integration between the men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ football teams at the club.

In its female section, the club currently has teams at adult, U16, U11 and U9 levels. The Aylsham Wildcats also offer coaching sessions for girls aged 5-11 on Saturday mornings.

Hannah said she expected the £1,000 grant to be invested in further promoting girls’ and women’s football at Youngs Park.

Aylsham FC Chairman Ian Potter said: “It is fantastic that the hard work of the volunteers has been recognised with a grant for the way we as a community club try to do things the right way and are very thankful for the recognition by Nationwide Mutual Respect Grant.”

Emily Barker, Brand Partnerships Manager at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Mutual respect is something that we value at the core of Nationwide in everything we do, so to be able to give these grants to the clubs that need them most and those that themselves have demonstrated respect on and off the pitch is really exciting.”

ON THE BALL: Women’s and girls’ teams have thrived at Aylsham Football Club.

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