Hertfordshire club with 700 young players named FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year
Berkhamsted Raiders have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to community football at the FA's annual grassroots awards ceremony.
The Hertfordshire club - whose website is powered by Club Website - were named winners of the prestigious FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year Award at the FA Community Awards at Wembley Stadium this month.
Club Chairman Keith Pollard and Development Officer Paul Russell collected the national award from former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann in front of football legends including Sir Geoff Hurst and Pat Jennings ahead of the FA Community Shield match between Arsenal and Manchester City.
They were then joined by World Cup winner Hurst on Wembley's hallowed turf to parade their trophy in front of the 90,000-strong capacity crowd for the traditional season curtain-raiser.
Founded in 1996, Berkhamsted Raiders have grown in size to now provide football for 700 young players in the local area. Children of all ages and abilities are welcome at the club, which is recognised as one of the best in the county for inclusivity through its commitment to the local community.
More than 85% of the club's members come from the local Berkhamsted and Northchurch area, while the club works closely with local schools and the parish council to ensure sports facilities in the area are well maintained and looked after.
The club and its team of volunteers - who are encouraged to take external coaching qualifications and participate in running the club - were commended by the FA for their commitment to providing enjoyment and participation for all.
“Berkhamsted Raiders CFC embodies the spirit of a grassroots football," said Sir Geoff Hurst, now McDonald’s Director of Football. "The vast number of hours and the dedication coaches and volunteers at the club have shown is incredible and they deserve this award tremendously.
"It is clubs like Berkhamsted Raiders CFC at a grassroots level, which our national game relies upon week in week out. Without their commitment, young footballers in this country couldn’t continue to grow and flourish."
Now in their fifth year, the FA and McDonald’s Community Awards celebrate the work of volunteers, clubs and leagues across the grassroots game in England. Thousands of nominations led to county and regional winners, before national winners in eight categories were announced at Wembley.
Over the next four years, McDonald's will be working with each of the four home nation football associations to give away brand new kits to every accredited club with a youth team across the UK.
Other FA Community Award Winners
Outstanding Contribution to Community Football Award - Chris Byrne
Byrne single-handedly re-launched Ribchester FC in Lancashire after the senior team folded and has since helped the club grow to over 80 members. A club member for over 12 years, he hosts weekly training sessions, regularly organises club tournaments and mentors junior club members.
Coach of the Year - Allan Lambourne
Lambourne has coached youngsters at Selsey FC for seven years, increasing the number of players and teams, starting girls’ sides and recruiting new coaches.
Volunteer of the Year - Sue Bonnington
Bonnington has dedicated 17 years to Heanor Juniors FC, helping the club grow from three teams to 11. She covers numerous roles from training to sponsorship and welfare.
Young Volunteer of the Year - Jakub Matweijszyn
A Hanwell Town player, Matweijszyn is also a Level Two qualified coach who manages a school team, officiates at games, tends pitches in his lunch break and runs a homework club for players while studying for his A Levels.
FA Charter Standard Club of the Year - Bodmin Youth
The club has 200 members. It launched two girls’ sides and has plans for affiliation with Bodmin Town FC and to become an FA Community Charter Standard club.
FA Charter Standard Development Club of the Year - Castleford White Rose FC
Castleford completed their three-year development plan in year one, increasing football opportunities for women and locals. All coaches now have FA qualifications and the club is taking steps to secure a permanent home in the Leeds area.
Charter Standard League of the Year - Lancashire Sunday Football League
Formed more than 40 years ago, this league has more than 90 teams and is still growing. It ensures all matches are officiated by qualified referees and has high quality administration.
For more information on each of the winners and to find out more about McDonald’s involvement in grassroots football, visit mcdonalds.co.uk/betterplay.