THE scene is set for the Suffolk FA Grassroots Festival 2022 this weekend.
A total of 173 teams have signed up to participate in the festival at Whitton United FC on the outskirts of Ipswich on Saturday and Sunday.
The festival will feature boys’ and girls’ teams from under-7s up to under-16s plus an adult disability festival for around 20 teams. Invitations have also gone out to refugees to take part.
This year’s festival is being supported by David Goldsmith and Sam Murray, who are both Conservative County Councillors for Whitehouse and Whitton, who have each contributed £1,500 through the county council’s locality budget.
Local charity Boots2Africa will be in attendance collecting any kit and boots that members of the public wish to donate.
Socker Share, a charity that sends football socks to children in underprivileged countries so they can play the game without damaging their feet, will have a stall.
There will also be a sweet stall and ice cream van, while Whitton United FC will be selling hot food and cold drinks.
The U7s-U11s festivals will be fun festivals, with no results recorded, while U12s and above will be competitive festivals with winners in each category.
Presentations will take place after each festival for those who wish to stay.
Suffolk FA Football Development Officer James Morley, who is organising the festival, reminded teams to register upon arrival and to make a member of Suffolk FA staff aware if any of their players are not to be photographed.
Although teams will be responsible for supplying their own first aid, a qualified first-aider will be in attendance over the weekend.
Referees will be supplied for all 9v9 festivals and some referees will be U18s and therefore wearing green armbands to highlight their age.
James said: “The festival is as much a celebration of this season for the referees as it is for the teams, so please respect this.
“This will be the first end-of-season festival we have held since 2019, and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Whitton United FC after what has been another difficult season for all concerned.
“Fingers crossed we will get some sunshine over the weekend, so please don’t forget your sunscreen.”
This is the third year that the Grassroots Festival has been hosted by Whitton United FC, who also staged the 2018 and 2019 editions. Action is pictured above from the 2019 festival.
The digital programme for the 2022 Grassroots Festival can be accessed via the below button.