Aylsham Football Club is this week celebrating picking up two awards – one from the Norfolk FA and the other from Radio Norwich.
The club, which is nearly a year into its big move to the new purpose-built Youngs Park facility on the outskirts of Aylsham, will be presented with the Norfolk FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year award by Bryan Gunn at Norfolk FA’s annual gala awards evening tonight at Dunston Hall.
The awards recognise the achievements of Norfolk’s grassroots football community. And Aylsham FC’s win is a reflection of many years of hard work in getting Youngs Park up and running for the community, the scale of growth to 25 teams and its tireless efforts to develop football in the community for all ages and genders.
The Norfolk award also earned Aylsham the right to be put through to the judging of the regional Charter Standard Community Club award. The eventual winner at national level was Gedling Southbank FC in Nottinghamshire.
Ian Potter, chairman of Aylsham FC, said: “We have a highly dedicated team of volunteers at the club intent on creating a legacy for future generations and our town.
“An award like this goes a long way to support that effort by so many unsung heroes, by officially recognising at county FA level the hard work of the community to drive this club forward.
“We are almost at the anniversary of our adventure at Youngs Park and should all be very proud of winning awards like this for our community. I would like to thank Mick McCann for demonstrating to the FA why we were deserving of this accolade.”
Kelly Simmons, the FA’s director of participation and development, said: “Volunteers and clubs like these are what keep the grassroots game alive.
“Their efforts give children and adults of all abilities the opportunity to enjoy and participate in a safe environment, and without them the game we know and love couldn’t exist.”
And on Wednesday evening, the club’s youth chairman Gus Bates, who also helps run under 11 and under six sides, picked up a Local Hero Award from Radio Norwich’s Rob Chandler and Kate McCabe at the Holiday Inn Norwich North.
The awards recognise the unsung heroes in the Radio Norwich broadcast area who contribute so much to their communities.
“To be the person who picks up the award is an honour,” said Gus.
“But it’s really important to understand that there is a core group of people at the club who work their socks off to give lots of young people the chance to play football in a safe environment where they can learn to be the best they can.
“In truth, the award has been earned by everyone in that core group.”
Despite the awards, Mr Potter said it was crucial for the future of the club to attract more volunteers to step forward across a range of roles.
“It’s been a fabulous few months, but we need more help in the form of volunteers.
“Anyone who feels they have a relevant skill would be made most welcome. As we grow, we really need a sales person to promote advertising opportunities, volunteer caretaker, refreshment and bar staff.
“There are plenty of roles that could suit local people who just want to get involved in supporting the club and the facility.”
Contact Mr Potter at email@example.com.
Gus Bates (2nd right) collecting his award from Rob Chandler, Andrew Hudson and Kate McCabe.