Grassroots volunteers joined famous names in football at Birmingham County FA’s annual award ceremony to recognise our ‘Grassroots Heroes’.

Volunteers working within local grassroots football came together with some of the game’s recognised figures, as Birmingham County Football Association hosted its annual awards ceremony at Birmingham City Football Club’s St Andrew’s Stadium on Monday 17 July.

Recognising and rewarding the clubs, leagues and individuals that show incredible dedication for the benefit of grassroots football within the Birmingham region, the evening’s ceremony included the announcement of winners of this year’s local FA Community Awards, which came as the result of a lengthy public nomination window.

Hosted by BBC West Midlands’ Jenny Wilkes, over 100 volunteers were in attendance, representing a total of 18 clubs, leagues or football organisations from across Birmingham’s vast geographical region. Also in attendance to present awards to deserving winners were a number of names within the game with Birmingham connections, including former Aston Villa strikers Darius Vassell and Marlon Harewood, and Solihull Moors’ Darren Carter.

The evening also provided a platform to promote a fantastic local charity Smile for Joel, which was established in memory of Birmingham County FA referee and youth council chairman Joel Richards, who was tragically among the victims of the 2015 attack in Sousse, Tunisia. Joel’s mother, Suzy Owens, and his brother Owen were in attendance as special guests of the Birmingham FA.

Also in attendance was former Birmingham City manager Barry Fry, who presented the standout award on the evening – the Outstanding Contribution to Community Football accolade, which was awarded posthumously to the late Richard Seedhouse, who passed away in January, of Coundon Court Football Club.

Birmingham FA recognises and rewards the clubs, leagues and individuals that show incredible dedication for the benefit of grassroots football within BirminghamBirmingham FA
Birmingham FA recognises and rewards the clubs, leagues and individuals that show incredible dedication for the benefit of grassroots football within Birmingham

The 2017 Birmingham FA Awards Winners

Best Inclusive Project: Mental Health & Wellbeing League
Coach of the Year: Richard Lindsay (Barton Rovers FC)
FA Charter Standard Club of the Year: Saltley Stallions
FA Charter Standard Development Club of the Year: Tipton Youth
FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year: Coventrians
FA Charter Standard League of the Year: Stourbridge & District Youth League
Volunteer of the Year: Natasha Buckland (BCFA Youth Council, University of Birmingham and Aston Villa Foundation)
BCFA Respect Club of the Year: Kingsley Olympic
BCFA Young Referee of the Year: Jake Allsopp
BCFA Education Project of the Year: Walsall College; the first Supported Learning Football Academy in the country for pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities
Outstanding Contribution to Community Football Award: Richard Seedhouse (presented to Coundon Court FC’s Barry Morris)

The Birmingham FA Awards 2017Birmingham FA
The Birmingham FA Awards 2017

Kevin Shoemake, Chief Executive Officer of Birmingham FA, said: “It was a fantastic evening which really highlighted the amazing people we have involved in the grassroots game around the region. We would like to thank Birmingham City for their support and fantastic hospitality, and local sponsors Irwin Mitchell and their guests for attending.

“Congratulations again to all the nominees and winners, they should be extremely proud of their achievements and the exceptional standards they set both locally and nationally.”

Marlon Harewood, former Aston Villa forward and now a director at AC13 Lifestyle, commented: “Thank you to my hosts Irwin Mitchell solicitors and Birmingham FA for a brilliant evening.

“I was honoured to hand-out an award for the Charter Standard League of the Year. I wish continued success to the Birmingham FA and the grassroots volunteers teams/staff involved. I look forward to next year’s awards ceremony!”

Jayne Connolly of Coventrians Football Club, the winner of FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year, added: “Coventrians FC is extremely proud to not only have been nominated, but to have been awarded Charter Community Club of the Year from BCFA.

“To have our efforts recognised is a huge honour and the kind words spoken not just from The FA but from fellow nominees is something that we will treasure. To be part of such an amazing, well organized evening with such worthy nominees was a privilege”

The awards were held in partnership with national law firm Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, and supported by McDonald’s.

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