• Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

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South Shields football organisation champions the grassroots game

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A leading national football organisation based in South Shields is supporting the grassroots football community through delivering a wide range of campaigns and events.

Team Grassroots is the only independent voice for grassroots football and provides a platform where coaches, parents and anyone involved in non-professional or elite football can find guidance and advice.

For more than a decade, the organisation has been working with the FA, Kick it Out, Show Racism the Red Card and other stakeholders in football to deliver regional and national campaigns, with the aim of helping to bring people together, raise awareness of important issues and make football more accessible.

Now the team of four, including apprentice and former footballer Ben Robertson, are ready for promotion and a move to new premises so they can continue the company’s exponential growth.

Former police officer Paul Kirton set up Team Grassroots after suffering an injury at work which meant he could no longer continue his career in the force.

Team Grassroots has since built up a strong social media presence on all channels and reaches around 15 million coaches, parents and Sunday League players across the UK each week.

The team has previously worked closely with the FA on a national safeguarding campaign Play Safe targeting parents and coaches. In the North East they have worked with partners and charities to fund and deliver free football equipment and kits, as well as donating defibrillators and providing CPR training to grassroots clubs.

Team Grassroots will be hosting 16 Q&A style events for the FA as part of its top to bottom consultation of grassroots football to find out what clubs would like to see and what challenges different clubs across the country face. The 16 events will take place all around the UK with at least one set to be held here in the North East.

Paul Kirton, who has also been a football coach for 15 years and writes a column for The Daily Mirror, says: “Team Grassroots has allowed me to create a brand and voice that I’m hugely passionate about and I can’t believe how much of a positive impact we have had on communities not only in the North East but all around the country.

“We are keen to stick to our South Shields roots and as well as working on a national level we want to bring as much as we can to the North East, whether that be the events we host or delivering regional campaigns.

“I decided to set up the organisation after suffering an injury at work which meant I couldn’t pursue my career in the police force. I’m so glad that this gave me a push to set up a voice which was hugely needed within the grassroots football community and has helped make non-professional football more enjoyable and accessible for everyone.

“There are so many hot topics at the moment, including the abuse of grassroots referees, silent support weekends, the rise of the girls game and the national review and it’s great to be able to have a voice on all these areas.”

Paul currently coaches the Whiteleas Diamonds in South Shields, an under nine girls football team that play in the Russell Foster Youth League.