KIRSTY Smith said she was ‘absolutely buzzing’ after Suffolk FA won a national award.
Suffolk FA and BSC Multicultural Services won the Coach Development category at the County FA Recognition Awards at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Thursday evening.
Nearly 400 guests attended the event at which the Suffolk FA entry pipped the three other finalists – the Amateur Football Association, Derbyshire FA and Leicestershire & Rutland FA.
The award was presented by ex-England striker Teddy Sheringham, who was special guest for the evening.
Suffolk FA Football Development Officer Kirsty Smith, who led on the project with colleague Ruth Ward, said: “I am absolutely buzzing to win this award.
“Genuinely to be nominated and shortlisted by the National FA is a huge deal, never mind actually walking away with the award.
“The standard across this year’s entries and to see all the great work being done by County FAs across the country really is unbelievable, so to be recognised for all the hard work that went into this project is a fantastic feeling.
“Since the pandemic most, if not all of the education is now online, which we know presents extra barriers for people within our county, especially within historically under-represented groups.
“Therefore, we as a County FA wanted to help break down those barriers so that everyone who wanted to coach had equal access to starting their coaching journey and were able to do so.
“This really was a team effort so a huge shout out firstly to my colleague Ruth Ward for organising and bringing all of this together with me.
“A huge thank you to BSC for actively promoting the programme within their communities and driving the engagement from the participants on the day and since completing the course.
“Thank you to Nimesh Patel, from the FA’s Regional Coach Development Team (D&I) East, for coming down and bringing the Playmaker to life for the participants.
“We have worked with BSC over a few years now and across a range of projects and I am sure this won’t be the last one.
“This project was a huge success and one we are immensely proud of! We will look to continue to run it in the future across different areas of our county and strive to continue to break down barriers to ensure football within Suffolk really is inclusive and For All.”
Boshor Ali, Chair of BSC Multicultural Services, said: “BSC Multicultural Services is proud to have won another prestigious national award from the English FA.
“This has been an amazing time for BSCMS, having won Suffolk Medal, The Queen's Award, shortlisted for Active Suffolk Award and now we have scooped this prestigious County FA Recognition Award. Well done team BSCMS! A truly amazing achievement over the last 25 years!”
Suffolk FA Chair Phil Lawler added: “This is a truly special achievement by BSC Multicultural Services and Suffolk FA.
“I am so pleased and proud this project was recognised at the County FA Recognition Awards at Wembley.
“My personal congratulations and thanks to everyone involved.”
A record breaking 242 submissions have been entered from the 50 County FAs operating across England, highlighting continuous improvements and showcasing how they are innovating to improve grassroots football and increase participation across all levels of the game.
The twelve categories recognised at the awards were:
- Brand Engagement
- Coach Development
- Employee Wellbeing & Engagement
- Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
- Facility Development
- Football Development
- Positive Football Environment
- Referee Development
- Special recognition
- Women & Girls
- Youth Engagement
The FA’s Head of Operations for Grassroots Football, Tim Foster added: “It has been brilliant to celebrate the tremendous work that takes place across all of our County FAs.
“The projects submitted into this year’s County FA Recognition Awards are a testament to the hard work and dedication across our County FA network which works tirelessly to deliver grassroots football to the communities in which they serve.
“My congratulations go to all of the winners, and to everyone involved in delivering new and innovative projects to grow and enhance the grassroots game.”