TV presenter delighted with funding for Bedlington Town FC

ITV Good Morning Britain and Sky Sports Goals on Sunday presenter Ben Shephard said he is delighted that grassroots football in Bedlington has received a £1,500 boost.

It has come in the form of a Grow the Game grant from the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.

The grant will allow Bedlington Town FC to continue to develop and expand its already successful girls’ football programme.

The support will allow the club to induct a brand new under-10s girls’ team in season 2015-16.

David Langhorne, club chairman, said: “We were delighted to hear the news that our application to the Football Foundation was successful.

“Our club has a well-respected girls’ development programme but this funding allows us to keep the momentum going and get more girls in to the game.

“It enables us to provide sustainable development to allow them to flourish as they progress through the age groups.”

A Football Foundation ambassador and a keen footballer himself, Ben Shephard said: “This Grow the Game funding, provided by the Premier League and The FA is excellent news for Bedlington Town FC.

“They deserve real credit for working with the Football Foundation and the Northumberland FA to help secure the grant.

“Grow the Game funding makes a tangible difference, it helps to increase participation in the sport.

“It allows clubs at the lowest levels of the game to pay for things associated with starting new teams, like making sure their volunteer coaches can get qualified with FA coaching badges.”

The Premier League and The FA fund the Grow the Game scheme with £1.9m, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, the nation’s largest sports charity.

The scheme is designed to increase participation in our national game by helping clubs to meet the essential costs of starting new teams.

The key strength of Grow the Game is that its participation increases are sustainable rather than transient.

Its grants create a solid infrastructure of teams and newly-trained coaches in which new people can start playing the sport, rather than simply providing temporary activity sessions, which are then vulnerable to drops in participation once the programme ends.

This year sees a particular emphasis placed on increasing the number of teams and players from the under-15 age bracket and above to address the decline in participation that has traditionally occurred as young people leave school and college.

The other key focus is on growing the numbers of girls’, women’s and disability teams.