Ex-Man United star and former England boss heap praise on football heroes

15 Community Champions were honoured at a House of Lords Reception earlier this week for their outstanding contributions at Barclays Spaces for Sports facilities in their communities.

The event was hosted by talkSPORT’s Georgie Bingham, while footballing legends Dion Dublin, Graham Taylor, Lawrie McMenemy and John Scales were among those who heaped praise on the deserving group.

Each region of country was represented by individuals selected from a pool of hundreds of people, many of whom are volunteers, that give up their time to run Barclays Spaces for Sports facilities.

Dublin trophy

The Community Champions are relied upon by their areas for a range of responsibilities, including coaching, maintaining facilities, first aid, catering, fund raising, mentoring and many other tasks key in helping grass level sports, such as football.

Barclays Spaces for Sports is the UK’s largest ever sports-based corporate social responsibility programme. Launched in 2004 it saw international bank Barclays partner with the Football Foundation to develop 204 multi-sports sites in disadvantaged communities right across the country.

The investment into the Barclays Spaces for Sports facilities programme in the UK was £67m. The sites built as a result play host to more than 30 different kinds of sport and are used by over 88,000 people every week with participation, not sporting excellence, the key ethos.

Com championsPaul Thorogood, Chief Executive of The Football Foundation, said: “More than 88,000 people are now using Barclays Spaces for Sports sites across the UK every week, thanks to investment provided by Barclays and the Football Foundation since 2004. Tonight’s Reception showcased the lasting sports infrastructure legacy that this partnership has created for hundreds of the most deprived communities across the country.

“It is important that sites that have received considerable initial investment over the last 11 years remain financially sustainable throughout their usable life, so they do not require local authority or any other subsidy to maintain them. This is made possible through the work of the Football Foundation’s Grant Managers, who have helped to develop an individually tailored Sustainability Plan for each site. But it is also thanks to the tremendous work of the 15 Community Champions and the hundreds of others like them who are so critical to grassroots sports throughout the country.”

List of Community Champions in full

1 – Name: Maria Calway-Kennedy
Site: Y-Services for Young People multi-use games area at Forton Road, Gosport
Role: Director and Trustee of Y-Services

2 – Name: Andrew McKinnon
Site: Junction 4 Skatepark, Blackburn
Role: Skatepark Manager

3 – Name: Oliver Graham
Site: Hamsterley Trailblazers, County Durham
Role: Vice Chair

4 – Name: Peter Richmond
Site: Colchester Leisure World, Essex
Role: Tennis Development Officer

5 – Name: John Lees
Site: Glodwick Cricket Club, Greater Manchester
Role: Head of Outfield Maintenance

6 – Name
: Glynn Moore
Site: Silverdale Cricket Club, Staffordshire
Role: Cricket Development Officer

7 – Name: Stephen Smith
Site: Freethorpe Village Hall, Norfolk
Role: Site Administrator and Village Hall Booking Clerk

8 – Name: Joshua Taylor-Brown
Site: Wymersley Park multi-use games area, Hull
Role: Sports Coach

9 – Name: Karen Quigley
Site: Washington Millennium Centre, Washington
Role: Centre Manager

10 – Name: Hannah Jarman
Site: Crew Club, Brighton
Role: Finance and Development Officer

11 – Name: Clive Knight
Site: Oswestry Team Tennis Club, Shropshire
Role: Tennis Coach

12 – Name: Paula Hill
Site: Cary Park Tennis Club, Devon
Role: Secretary

13 – Name: Lillian Pearce
Site: Glodwick Cricket Club, Greater Manchester
Role: Catering volunteer

14 – Name: Keith Wilding
Site: Ross-on-Wye Skate Park, Herefordshire
Role: Chair of Trustees

15 – Name
: Tony Jones
Site: Llanfechell mult-use games area, Anglesey
Role: Site Developer