After an inspirational and emotionally exhausting awards ceremony on Wednesday 2nd December 2015, we were delighted to announce the winners of The Football for Good Awards 2015 in full.
We decided to hold the inaugural Football for Good Awards to recognise and celebrate all the amazing GOOD things that football achieves around the world. 2015 was a monumental year for us. It marked the former Skillshare International’s Coaching for Hope programme’s 10th year working across Africa and Asia to change young lives through football. We wanted to do something big to celebrate.
We see every day how much difference a simple ball, a pitch and a positive attitude can make to a person’s life and we knew countless other organisations were out there seeing the same thing. Yet whenever we opened a paper or turned on the TV all we could see was the game we loved being criticized and lambasted as corrupt.
We’d had enough. We wanted to show that football is so much more than just a game. It’s an incredible force for good and has the potential to change the way the world works.
The Football for Good Awards were born.
The Awards, held at Old Billingsgate Vaults were hosted by Sky Sports’ legend Ed Chamberlin, judged by The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and attended by the great and the good of the football world. Accolades were awarded across 8 categories and followed by an exclusive After Show Party with our patron Fatboy Slim.
The evening kicked off with an emotional speech from Coaching for Hope Alumni Nothemba Bambiso. Former Skillshare International CEO Cliff Allum introduced Nothemba saying “from the mines of Burkina Faso to the streets of South Africa Coaching for Hope have been using football to transform lives. Nobody knows this better than Nothemba Bambiso, an alumni of our programme and an extremely determined young woman.”
Nothemba spoke about the difference football had made to her life. Taking her from a children’s home in Cape Town, to Zurich with David Beckham to present The 2018 England bid and now into a career that she loves. “Once I joined a team my life turned around. I did well in my exams, had the confidence to go to University and now have a career as a personal trainer.”
The International Impact Award
The first Award presented on the night was The International Impact Award which champions those using football to make a real difference to people’s lives in every corner of the globe.
Up for the Award, sponsored by FIFPro, were GOALS Haiti, Alive and Kicking and Coaches Across Continents.
Alive and Kicking walked away victorious. The Charity sets up ethical social enterprises in Africa that create durable and personalised footballs. They have created 150 jobs that support 900 people. They also created the first ever ‘sound ball’ to allow blind young people to play football.
Upon receiving the award, Glenn Cummings from Alive and Kicking urged everyone in the room to work together in harnessing the power of football to make a bigger impact in our world.
The Sponsor Impact Award
The second award of the night was the Sponsor Impact Award, sponsored by Evolution, which recognised the amazing work football can do with the might of a sponsor behind it.
Up for the accolade were Continental Tyres for their FA Girls Football Festival, Gazprom for their partnership with Chelsea FC and Kinder+Sport for their partnership with Watford FC.
Continental Tyres walked away with the gong for their work with The FA . The FA Girls’ Football Festival Programme was boosted by Continental Tyres to promote playing football to over 11,000 girls across England.
The Football Club Diversity Award
Next up was the Football Club Diversity Award, sponsored by The PFA, which aimed to showcase the work of those who bring football to often excluded age groups, ethnicities and disabilities – so that everyone has the chance to enjoy the beautiful game.
Nominated in the final shortlist were Reading FC Community Trust, The Crystal Palace Foundation and United Glasgow Football Club.
The Crystal Palace Foundation were the emotional winners of the award. Crystal Palace work for equality and diversity in sport. They run a disability programme, aim to increase girls’ participation in sport and support the employability of diverse young people.
The Football Game Changer Award
Half way through the night came the Football Game Changer Award, sponsored by streetfootballworld. The Game Changer Award recognised organisations using the popularity of football to connect with people across society and tackle issues in a fresh and innovative way.
Up for the award were Street Child United for The Street Child World Cup, Everton in the Community for the mental health programme ‘Imagine your Goals’ and Kick it OUT for their work to tackle discrimination in football.
Street Child United were the nominee to walk away with the coveted prize. The organisations’s Street Child World Cup in 2014 exposed street children’s plight to 220 million people. As a result, street children across the world were consulted by parliament and major legislative change was achieved.
Upon receiving the award CEO John Wroe gave an impassioned speech to the audience:
“It’s an honour to receive the Game Changer award. We would like to share it with the children we serve, our incredible NGO partners working to support street children across the world and every supporter and volunteer who helps make our work possible. We believe that no child should have to live on the streets.”
The Best Youth Employment Initiative Award
The Best Youth Employment Award, sponsored by Adidas, was next up. This award celebrated those harnessing the power of football to pave the way to meaningful employment for the next generation.
Four nominees were on the shortlist, including: The Chelsea FC Foundation, Street League, Hull City’s Tiger’s Trust and The West Ham United Foundation.
Street League walked away with the gong and Simon Lansley took to the stage to collect their award. Street League help young people from disadvantaged communities in the UK to get jobs. In 5 years they have grown from 2 cities to 13, from 20 staff to 120 and from getting a handful of people into jobs to 1500 this year.
The Disability Rights Award
Following Street League’s success was The Disability Rights Award, sponsored by Majestic Athletic. This award recognised those that champion disability rights by working tirelessly to bring football to people of all abilities.
The nominees were made up of 3 hugely inspiring projects: The Danny Ings Disability Project at Burnley FC in the Commnnity, Manchester City’s One City Disability Project and Charlton Athletic’s The Charlton Upbeats.
The beloved Charlton Upbeats walked away triumphant. One of the most uplifting moments of the night came when the team and members of the Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) descended on the stage to accept their award. Upbeats Captain James Barnes was delighted to win and thanked his team mates before doing a victory lap around the room.
Carl Krauhaus, Head of Disability and Mental Health at CACT said:
“The night was amazing. We are absolutely thrilled that The Charlton Upbeats project has been recognised for this award, especially considering the opposition we were up against. The project has had amazing support over the years and we feel this is a deserving recognition for the achievements and hard work of everyone involved”
The Champion of the Womens’ Game Award
The penultimate award of the night was The Champion of the Women’s Game Award, sponsored by Hogan Lovells. Gender equality in football is a tough issue to tackle and this award recognises some of the fantastic work being done to put girls at the heart of the beautiful game.
Nominated for the award were a quintet of change-makers including: Coaches Across Continents, Albion in the Community’s Kin Stenning, Cardiff City Foundation’s Damian Flynn and Bulgarian coach Yoana Djambavoza.
The audience were in for a shock when award sponsor Elaine Penrose announced not one but two winners – Kim Stenning and Yoana Djambavoza. Elaine explained that the judges were so torn by the quality of work going on in this category that they decided to flout procedure and announce two winners.
Kim Stenning was delighted to receive the award and ‘could not stop shaking’. She explained how when she was growing up there had been no opportunity for girls to play football, so she just played with the boys. When she got older she wanted to change this. Kim now works for Albion in the Community where she works tirelessly to get women and girls involved in football. Her female football development programme has 490 graduates and she launched a project for Mum’s who want to learn more about football.
Yoana Djambazova was the joint winner of the award. In 2013 Yoana from Bulgaria single-handedly established Sevlievo Ladies Club, persevering despite cultural resistance. The team is now in the top 5 in the country and 5 players play for the national team
It was Yoana’s first time out of Bulgaria and she explained to the audience that she was so surprised and delighted to be recognised in this way.
The Player Impact Award
The last award of the night was The Player Impact Award, sponsored by Tilney BestInvest. This award recognised the charitable and selfless work that footballers achieve, by using the platform that football has given them to help improve the lives of others.
The room held its breath as the nominee video played. Up for the award were Alan Shearer, for his work with profoundly disabled children, Jamie Carragher for his work with underprivileged young people in Merseyside, Dan Bentley for his community engagement work and Simon Milton for his work for prostate cancer.
The lovely and humble Simon Milton was crowned victorious to a huge cheer of support from the room. Former Ipswich Town Player Simon Milton has been an outstanding ambassador for Ipswich Town Football Club for the past 28 years. In June 2015 he arranged for ITFC to undertake the London to Amsterdam cycle challenge in aid of Prostate Cancer UK. He recruited and led a team of 70 cyclists to raise over £85,000 for the Cancer Charity and in excess of £55,000 for the Club’s Academy. He has also used his position to encouraging men to undergo prostate checks.
On winning the award Simon said:
“To represent Ipswich Town FC and Prostate Cancer UK was an honour for me and to win the Player Impact Award made the evening one I will never forget.”
Thank you from everyone at the Coaching for Hope programme
Our former collaborator, Skillshare International, extended a massive thank you to everyone who made these awards possible. From our award sponsors, to our judging panel, to the event staff, all at Dotted Line Film for making the fabulous showreel of the night, our Host Ed Chamberlin, inspirational speakers and patron Norman Cook – you all all incredible.
But most of all we would like to thank each and every nominee out in the field making change everyday. Your enthusiasm, commitment and passion for your causes took our breath away.
For us the awards were a humbling, uplifting and re-affirming showcase of just how much good can be done with a football. We hope you all felt the same.
On the night many guests made extremely generous donations to our Coaching for Hope 10th Anniversary appeal, which aims to bring the gift of a football coach to 18,000 vulnerable children across Africa and Asia. We’d like to thank each and every one of you for your generosity.
See you next year!
The Coaching for Hope Team