ENGLAND manager Gareth Southgate has praised C&K Basildon Girls after the club was awarded a £6,000 Grow the Game grant.

The grant will provide a boost to grassroots football in Basildon, and will also allow the club to add a youth section to their already established ladies teams.

C&K Basildon Girls will now be able to set up U10, U12, U14 and U15 teams, with the hope of the players progressing into the ladies first team, while coaches will be able to keep their coaching badges up to date.

And Southgate was pleased to see C&K Basildon Girls’ hard work rewarded.

The England boss said: “I am so pleased that C&K Basildon Girls FC has secured this Grow the Game grant.

“The club has worked very hard with the Essex FA and the Football Foundation to get more local people playing football so that they can enjoy the many physical and mental benefits that come with playing regular sport.

“Grow the Game is mainly funded by the FA and delivered by the Football Foundation.

“This is money that is flowing from the very top of the game down to the lowest levels, to help clubs at the grassroots to bear the cost of starting up a new team, whether it be for a new kit, pitch hire or sending volunteers on FA accredited coaching courses.”

Grow the Game, which was launched in 2010, is a £2.5m programme that awards grants to grassroots football clubs that wish to create new teams, especially amongst under-represented groups.

Up to £1,500 is available to help FA-affiliated clubs with the cost of creating a new team, which might include the cost of FA coaching courses, FA league affiliation costs, referees’ fees, first aid kits and football kit and equipment.

And C&K Basildon chairman Peter King was delighted to receive the grant.

King said: “Naturally, when you start a set of new teams, as we intend to do for next season, you face a variety of challenges, especially in the finance area.

“The grant could help to pay for new kit for the players and coaches, along with small sided goals, pitch and officials fees, so the kind endowment from the Grow the Game fund will be very welcome and will make a real contribution to the start-up costs.

“All the management of the newly formed youth and girls teams are very excited and have proved a powerful and potent force in getting things ready.

“As the leading Essex based ladies team, we anxiously look forward to providing a professional pathway to any and every competent female player that wants to play at the highest level.

“The fund, which is spread over three years, will be used in the prescribed way to finance the various specific areas associated with the girls set-up, ranging from kit to first aid packs and coach training to football fees.”

C&K Basildon Girls U14 manager Steven Keys was also pleased.

Keys said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the community.

“We will have around 90 girls in the youth section now training or playing football. The grant will help us to give the girls the very best facilities and equipment.”