Queen's Award for pioneering junior football league serving 3,000 children in Lancashire

A football league which provides grassroots sport for more than 3,000 children across Preston, South Ribble and Chorley, has been recognised with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 3:45 pm

The Mid Lancs Colts Junior Football League, which co-ordinates around 60 teams, has been given the award for promoting anti-racism initiative.

Paul Maloney, league development officer, said: “It’s fantastic to get this award. We’ve had a tough 18 months, we’ve lost two seasons of grassroots, so it’s a great boost at a time when we are also seeing youngsters back outside, engaging with sport.”

He added: “We are the only grassroots football league that works with the Kick Racism Out Of Football campaign. We know the power of sport and we wanted to address the issues within football with early intervention and education.

Some of the members of Mid Lancs Colts

“Lots of youngsters won’t get to see Sky Sports or go to Premier League games and see the messages there, so we are doing it on a grassroots level.”

Six other Lancashire organisations have also received awards, including Lancashire Youth Challenge for nurturing, supporting and challenging young people to overcome barriers, The Olive Branch in Lancaster which supports the marginalised and vulnerable and Beyond Radio Community Radio Station in Lancaster, the only local radio station covering Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth.

Steve Normyle, managing director of Beyond Radio, said: “We are honoured to have been awarded what we consider to be the pinnacle of recognition for the hard work of our incredible team.

“Giving local people a service that keeps them informed, entertained and engaged on the things that matter most to them, is at the heart of everything that we do.

The League has a central base in Penwortham

“Our team of volunteers are the beating heart of what it means to be a community radio station, and today’s recognition is truly wonderful.

Each of the groups will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal, presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, The Lord Shuttleworth KG KCVO, at an award ceremony which will be held on Wednesday, September 15 at County Hall in Preston.

Furthermore, two volunteers from each of the groups will be invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022.

Lord Shuttleworth commented: “I am delighted that these groups’ work has been recognised in this way; during our assessment visits we were impressed by their achievements and commitment to their communities.

"I very much hope that we will see more excellent groups nominated for the Award in the future. I know that the people of Lancashire will look at the brilliant and essential work that

voluntary groups and charities have been doing and nominate for next year’s awards. The nomination window is now open.”