A YOUTH football club has received a personal message of congratulations from the England football team manager after securing a funding boost.

Kingsclere Youth FC is celebrating after being awarded a £3,000 Grow the Game grant, to help its work with growing its offering of football to children.

The work it has done and the funding boost has attracted praise from England men’s football team manager Gareth Southgate.

Mr Southgate said: “I am so pleased that Kingsclere Youth FC has secured this Grow the Game grant. The club has worked very hard with Hampshire Football Association and the Football Foundation to get more local people playing football so that they can enjoy the many physical and mental benefits that come with playing regular sport.

“Grow the Game is mainly funded by The FA and delivered by the Football Foundation. This is money that is flowing from the very top of the game down to the lowest levels, to help clubs at the grassroots to bear the cost of starting up a new team, whether it be for a new kit, pitch hire or sending volunteers on FA accredited coaching courses.”

The grant, which will provide a boost to grassroots football in Kingsclere, has paved the way for Kingsclere Youth FC to develop and run an Under 18 team for the first time. The club is also planning to develop its grassroots football offering for under 7s.

The club currently runs teams at under 8, under 10, under 12 and under 15 levels.

Tim Hargreaves, Kingsclere Youth Club chairman, said: “Kingsclere Youth Football Club is delighted to have received this award which will help us run additional teams and improve the quality of football provided by the club.”

Grow the Game is a £2.5m programme funded by The FA and the Football Foundation. It awards grants to grassroots football clubs that wish to create new teams, especially amongst under-represented groups.

Funding is available to help FA-affiliated clubs with the cost of creating a new team, which might include the cost FA coaching courses; FA league affiliation costs; referees’ fees; first aid kits; and even football kit & equipment.

For more information, go to footballfoundation.org.uk/funding-schemes/grow-the-game.