Sheffield & Hallamshire FA and the Football Association were delighted to present Denise Hicks with a Safeguarding Star award at the recent England’s Women game against Serbia at Doncaster Rover’s Keepmoat Stadium.

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Denise, a club welfare officer for Maltby Juniors and the league welfare officer for the Sheffield & District Under 18’s league, was presented with the award on the pitch at half-time by Brian Jones, Sheffield & Hallamshire FA chairman and Sue Hough, chairperson of the Women’s Committee, and received an ovation from the 4,000 supporters.

The award was commissioned to recognise the role that welfare officers play across sport and to ensure that vital standards in safeguarding are maintained and raised.

There are currently over 11,000 welfare officers throughout the country who all volunteer their time to help promote and develop safeguarding values.

James Hope-Gill, chief executive of the Sheffield & Hallamshire FA, said: “Denise gives many hours of her time to help support grassroots football. She does a fantastic job and is a real inspiration to us all. Without people like Denise grassroots football simply wouldn’t exist.

“We are delighted that she has won this national award and is receiving recognition for her dedication and commitment to the game we love.”

Denise said: “I always remember that the aim is to provide a fun and safe environment for young people to play football.

“I would encourage anyone interested in becoming a club welfare officer, youth league welfare officer or children’s safeguarding officer to speak to get in touch with the club, league or County FA welfare officer.”

If you are interested in becoming a safeguarding or welfare officer, or want to know more about the safeguarding work we do, please contact Clare Taylor, Sheffield & Hallamshire FA welfare officer on 0114 2414992 or email clare.taylor@sheffieldfa.com

Sheffield & Hallamshire FA want to hear who you think should win this year’s Groundsman of the Year award

Now in its seventh year, the award has been commissioned to acknowledge the passion, commitment and hard-work that grounds staff tirelessly put into maintaining pitches every week up and down the country.

Does your local club have a playing surface that is the envy of all visiting sides, nurtured with love, care and attention? Or is your groundsman often under appreciated for their hard efforts?

If so, this is the opportunity for your local football community to honour their dedicated staff members.

This season all nominations will be considered regardless of whether a pitch is maintained by an external contactor or maintenance company. However, each participating Club must still nominate a groundsman who is a member of that Club in order to be included in the competition.

The judges will score the groundsmen based on their individual contribution and dedication to improve and maintain the perfect pitch.

Groundsmen are not only assessed on the quality of the pitch but are also considered on the full knowledge of their role, how they effectively manage their resources and whether they work full or part-time.

James Hope-Gill, Sheffield & Hallamshire FA’s Chief Executive said: “The Groundsman of the Year Award is a fantastic opportunity for Clubs and players to recognise the wonderful work done by many grounds staff across the area. The work of the groundsman is often physically unseen and unfortunately can go unrewarded.”

If you wish to nominate your groundsman, contact Kate Evans, Marketing & Communications Officer at Sheffield & Hallamshire FA, on 0114 2414999 or e-mail marketing@sheffieldfa.com