The Falkirk Foundation won a prestigious award on Friday night at Hampden Park as the charitable organisation picked up the ‘Best Community Football Project’ award at the 2021 Scottish FA Grassroots Football Awards ceremony.
The foundation launched its CAMHS (children and adolescent mental health services) Football Project in partnership with NHS Forth Valley over two years ago and was praised for the project’s impact and accessibility.
Initially designed to offer eight to 16-year-olds suffering with their mental health new opportunities to get into football in a safe and structured environment, it has grown into so much more for its users over the past two years.
CEO Derek Allison said: “The CAMHS Football Project offers children with a range of complex needs an opportunity to come together and play football. It has given children who struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD and autism an opportunity to develop their confidence and self-esteem through sport. The project has enabled the players to learn new skills, have positive social interactions and, most importantly, have fun. Our volunteers at the Foundation have made football accessible to children who would otherwise be excluded from the game.”
The Falkirk Foundation accepted the award from Livingston’s Marvin Bartley ahead of the Scotland Women’s team’s World Cup Qualifier against Ukraine at Hampden Park. During the half-time break, the volunteers from the foundation joined the other winners on the pitch to be celebrated for their accomplishments.
“It has been a really tough year for the entire grassroots football community,” said McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador, James McFadden. “That’s why I’m so proud to be here to honour these incredible winners. People like the volunteers at the Falkirk Foundation are a testament to their community and an inspiration to those looking to get involved in the grassroots game. The Grassroots Awards are a special occasion and a chance to show how grateful we are to the hours of dedication volunteers put in to make football what it is.”
Falkirk FC Chief Executive, Jamie Swinney said: “On behalf of Falkirk FC, we wish to extend our congratulations to Derek Allison and his team for this fantastic achievement. For a local programme, delivered by our Foundation, to receive a national award, is a tremendous sign of recognition, and one that is duly deserved. Our Foundation is a key partner within the club, playing a vital role in supporting the club’s community engagement and development. Through our Foundation, we reach many more people than we as a club, could do alone. The Foundation’s programmes positively impact the lives of thousands of people every year with the CAMHS project an integral component of their social inclusion work.”
“We are proud to celebrate this award with our partners and to help recognise the amazing people that both deliver and participate in this project. For Falkirk FC to once again be a progressive and successful club, a club we can all be proud of, we need our Foundation to be a key partner in everything we do. Our commitment as a club is therefore to continue to support the Foundation in everything they do, and to work collaboratively to help their projects grow and thrive. I would encourage everyone associated to Falkirk FC to share our pride in the Foundations achievement and celebrate their success.”