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Celebrity Big Brother star Nicola McLean backs our Footie For All Campaign to give clubs £1k funding boost

NICOLA McLean praises The Sun for ensuring every child can play football as we relaunch our Footie For All funding. 

In partnership with Tesco’s Stronger Starts campaign, we have another 150 grants to hand out to youth grass root football clubs across the UK. 

The reality star is delighted to see more girls playing football thanks to our grant

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The reality star is delighted to see more girls playing football thanks to our grantCredit: Olivia West
Nicola's son Rocky, 13, had played for the boys devision of the club

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Nicola’s son Rocky, 13, had played for the boys devision of the clubCredit: Olivia West

WAG and Celebrity Big Brother star Nicola said: “Playing sport is something every child deserves to have access to, no matter what life is like at home. 

“Seeing the work of this grant from The Sun and Tesco in action is amazing, as all the girls here clearly love playing football. This cash makes sure they can keep getting training despite money being tight for everyone.  

“I’m excited that women’s football is getting so much attention, and who knows, maybe one of the players here will represent England one day.”

Her backing follows the support of Jarrod Bowen, Eric Dier, Raheem Sterling, and Gary Lineker

READ MORE ON FOOTIE FOR ALL

Last year, we launched our Footie For All campaign to shine a light on how financial struggles were forcing kids to give up football.

Figures showed that 94 per cent of grassroots clubs were concerned about the impact soaring costs were having on their membership, according to charity Sported.

Our last round of funding saw £150,000 given to remarkable clubs, and we’ve been blown away by how much they do to help their community while ensuring everyone keeps playing the beautiful game. 

From starting up new teams, providing free places for low-income families children to replacing old and out of date equipment, the cash has been put to good use.

So today we urge YOU to apply for one of our fantastic 150 Footie For All grants.

The cash can be used in any way that encourages more children to take up the sport or improves access to the game.

How to apply

WE want to hear about YOUR club and the huge difference you make for kids in your community.

If you are a not-for-profit grassroots football club in England, Wales or Scotland, working with youngsters under the age of 18, you could be eligible for one of our 150 grants.

Funds can be used for anything that gets kids into the sport.

Your club might need help with pitch fees or want to sponsor places for kids from low-income families.

  • Entries close at midnight, April 30.
Nicola has spent years ferrying her boys to grassroots training and knows how important it is

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Nicola has spent years ferrying her boys to grassroots training and knows how important it isCredit: Olivia West
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Perhaps you are a local team that wants to offer parents help with membership fees.

Maybe you need new kits or more pitch space to play on. Grants can also be used to help with transport or general running costs.

Nicola, 42, has had first-hand experience of grassroots as both her boys have played for local clubs since they were four years old. 

She went to visit the girls division of Flackwell Heath Minors team to see how they are putting their grant to use getting more girls involved. 

During her visit to the Buckinghamshire club, she said: “I’ve loved seeing how this club has embraced the girls and made them feel as welcome and as good as the boys teams. They’re all amazing.”

Footie favourites back Sun campaign

PREM stars have queued up to praise our grassroots drive….

PHIL FODEN

Reddish Vulcans, Manchester City, England

“Grass roots football is where it began for all of us. It brings happiness for so many people and it’s so important nothing gets in the way of everyone having that opportunity.”

HARRY MAGUIRE

Brunsmeer Athletic, Barnsley, Sheffield United, Hull City, Leicester City, Manchester United, England 

 “I SPENT my childhood with a ball at my feet. Playing with a team gives kids an outlet and a chance to learn discipline and to make friends with people they might not have met.”

RAHEEM STERLING

Alpha & Omega FC, QPR, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea & England 

 “MY mentor got me into football to correct my behaviour. I found something I wanted to put my energy into. I fell in love with it – and I made friends for life.”

JARROD BOWEN

Leominster Miners, Hereford Utd, Hull City, West Ham & England

 “WE can’t let kids see their dream die simply because Mum or Dad can’t afford to pay for the subs, kit and travel. Football is for everyone.”

JOHN STONES

Penistone Church FC, Barnsley, Everton, Man City & England

“PLAYING grassroots football as a kid with my friends for my local team was the first step into football for me, and I never looked back.

“It played such an important part of my childhood and I’ll always be so grateful for the opportunity it provided for me and so many other children.

“Grassroots football often provides a happy and safe environment for children to play, meet friends and learn new skills. If it wasn’t for that start I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn important life skills on and off the pitch while having fun with my mates.

“It can give children something to look forward to, even when things may be difficult, and make such a positive impact for both parents and kids.”

ERIC DIER

“FOOTBALL is a lifeline for many. It encourages teamwork, discipline, friendship, improved health and wellbeing and a sense of community. I know kids will benefit from the game and all that comes with it.”

She’s used to ferrying her boys to training sessions, as both Rocky, 13, and Striker, 18, have played football at a grassroots level.  

Nicola said: “My youngest son Rocky played for Flackwell Heath. Grassroots football is majorly important. Both of my boys have done it, and it’s given them a sense of community, and it’s been a great way to make friends. 

“Kids also learn how to win and how to lose. They need to be taught both of those.

“It’s a great thing to do and as many people who can be involved in grassroots football should be. It really shouldn’t come down to finances as to if a kid can play or not. 

All I can say to The Sun is thank you for helping us get girls playing football.

Declan Breen, club chairman

“It needs to be open to as many people as possible, and that is what The Sun’s grant ensures.”

Nicola, who is married to former West Ham player Tom Williams, was told by coaches that the girls had improved in confidence and skills since playing with their own gender. 

Rocky now plays for Slough, and Striker is honing his skills at Beaconsfield. 

Thanks to our grant, the club has been able to rent more pitch spaces and boy more goals to see as many girls as possible playing with them.

Flackwell Heath Minors chairman Declan Breen said: “The grant means we’re not restricted by money when it comes to provisions. 

“We’ve been able to rent more pitches and get goals, allowing more girls to play with us. 

“It’s also helped cover the costs of one of our teams, too.

“It’s been fantastic, so all I can say to The Sun is thank you for helping us get girls playing football.”

Declan Breen told Nicola how much of a difference the grant is making to the club

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Declan Breen told Nicola how much of a difference the grant is making to the clubCredit: Olivia West
She reguarly watches her son Striker play matches with his local club

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She reguarly watches her son Striker play matches with his local club
She even took a turn at showing off her fancy footwork with the girls

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She even took a turn at showing off her fancy footwork with the girlsCredit: Olivia West

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