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Neath community project wins national grassroots football award

On Saturday 13th November, The Boot Room, a charitable organisation set up by Carl Bradley from Neath, was named the national winner of the prestigious Community Project of the Year award at the 2021 FAW & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards ceremony, held at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The FAW & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards recognise and celebrate the tireless volunteers who dedicate countless hours to inspire those in the grassroots community. The awards are now in their fourteenth year and Carl Bradley joins a long list of inspirational grassroots football heroes who have been recognised by the programme. The awards held a special significance this year, as they also celebrated those who have done exceptional things during the pandemic to support their clubs and communities.

The Boot Room aims to give every child the chance to play football by removing the barrier of cost – ensuring that no child goes without boots. The community project recycles worn boots donated by members of the public to be sent out to people who really need them. The extraordinary work that founder Carl Bradley has done with his army of volunteers doesn’t stop there. The project is expanding its services into wider areas to support even more children, as they hope to keep inspiring kids from all background top play football.

Carl Bradley accepted the award from football legend Joe Ledley ahead of the Wales men’s team’s Word Cup Qualifier against Belarus in front of a full capacity crowd at the Cardiff City Stadium. During the half time break, he joined the other winners on the pitch to be celebrated for their accomplishments.

“It has been a really tough year for the entire grassroots football community. That’s why I’m so proud to be here in Cardiff to honour these incredible winners. The Boot Room embodies what it means to be a true community hero. They are making a real difference to the lives of so many kids across the country and their work is truly inspiring. The Grassroots Awards are a special occasion and a chance to show how grateful we are to the hours of dedication volunteers put in to make football what it is,” said McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador Joe Ledley

Local McDonald’s Franchisee Ron Mounsey, who is an avid supporter of grassroots football in Neath, added: “At McDonald’s we share The Boot Room’s commitment to removing the barrier of cost to football. Any child, from any background, should have the right to play football – but with the cost of kit and boots it’s not always possible. The work Carl Bradley and his volunteers are doing is seriously impressive and I applaud them for everything they’re doing to make the sport more accessible. It’s always an honour to be involved with the awards and to celebrate the people who are the heart and soul of the grassroots game.”