Rotherham United are in line to become the Community Club of the Year at the upcoming Football League Awards.
The family-friendly Rotherham United Community Sports Trust is the sole representative from the North East and Yorkshire region hoping to win the Johnstone’s Paint Community Club of the Year gong.
The club secured its nomination after being recognised for its work around supporting individuals with mental health issues, using sport as a vehicle to reduce the effects of the condition.
At the awards ceremony on Sunday, April 17, in Manchester, Rotherham will be up against regional representatives Burnley, Burton Albion, Charlton Athletic, Brighton and Hove Albion and Cardiff City, hoping to be named the country’s best.
Rotherham’s main case study for the award is their Sport England Mental Health project, which is a three-year Sport England funded programme that aims to create sporting, training and volunteering opportunities for adults in Rotherham with mental health issues.
The project was launched in September 2014 and has engaged with people from across Rotherham including participants from Rotherham Mind, Headway, dementia services, community mental health teams, Rush House, Lighthouse and the early intervention in psychosis team.
Head of Community at RUFC Jamie Noble said: “While that was our major project for the year, we have also been commended for our work in a host of other areas including education, sports participation and inclusion.”
The girls RUCST works with are between 14 and 25 and come from all backgrounds and all areas of Rotherham – the only real stipulation is that the girls must not already be playing regular football for a grassroots club.”
Co-ordinator Alix Dickens said: “I have always been interested in football, but always found it hard to get involved in any girls-only teams when I was younger.
“As soon as I knew RUFC were involved in female development I wanted to be involved in it.
“I wanted to use my own experience to ensure all girls in Rotherham have appropriate access and support to help them get involved in the sport they love.”
Mark Cummins, community manager, said: “It is fantastic to be nominated.”