Three Sands United football teams have been recognised by the FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards for the difference they make to men affected by the death of a baby.

The Awards are a way to celebrate the fantastic individuals who put their heart and soul into the grassroots game across England – and say a huge thank you to the incredible volunteers who inspire us all.

  • Sands United FC Solent won Hampshire FA’s Club of the Year 2020.
  • Sands United FC Hull & East Yorkshire won East Riding FA’s Project of the year 2020.
  • Sands United FC Stockport won Cheshire FA’s Project of the year 2020.
Sands United FC Solent

Peter Moseley, founder and manager of Sands United FC Solent, said:

“Whilst completely unexpected, the award is testament to the hard work and commitment of every one of our members. The beauty of Sands United lies in a network of guys supporting one another and it is our hope that the recognition brought by this award will help us reach more families in our area affected by the loss of a baby.

“In our short existence, we have been fortunate to make some lasting friendships in the wider football community and we are particularly grateful to Fleetlands FC and all of the clubs that we have played that have raised funds and made donations to Sands. We are also grateful to the Gosport, Fareham and Solent League and to all at Hampshire FA for being great supporters of our cause and for helping us get off the ground.”

A spokesperson for the Hampshire FA said:

‘Sands United FC Solent have created an extended community and welcomed families who are going through these extremely difficult times. During the public nomination stage of the awards, they received comments saying how the club, through supporting men who are grieving, will continue to save lives across the Solent. The award is completely deserving and we couldn’t be prouder.’

Sands United FC Solent were founded in March 2019 and currently support over 50 men through their weekly football sessions and a support group on Facebook. The club competes in the Gosport, Fareham and Solent League and have resumed playing together again as the 2020/21 season begins and the Covid-19 lockdown eases.

Sands United FC Hull and East Yorkshire

Sands United FC Hull and East Yorkshire were also founded in 2019 and currently support over 25 men through their weekly football sessions. The club joined the Hull Floodlight Football League shortly before the outbreak of COVID-19 and have recently begun playing together again as the 2020/21 season begins.

Craig Pivey, founder and manager of Sands United FC Hull and East Yorkshire, said:

“The East Riding FA Award is a proud moment for us to be recognised as something so successful and supportive. It’s a tangible sense of achievement, to know that what you do is working and that other people understand the importance of the team. With Sands United you’re working in an area that arguable comprises of the two biggest taboos in mens’ lives, their mental health and losing a child.

“Being part of Sands we understand and appreciate the support that is available, we know where the support is and how good it is. But this award takes that further, it proves that externally we’re making a difference and changing the outlook on mental health and baby loss. I hope this shows that people who have not been affected by the death of a baby know Sands United is here and we can support more people in the area.”

East Riding FA CEO Adam Lowthorpe said:

"Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that has brought it was always our determination to press ahead with celebrating the areas Grassroots Football Heroes. Although we have a number of well deserving winners it is truly humbling not only to receive the amount of nominations we did but also to hear the incredible stories of dedication and effort.

The 2020 FA and McDonalds Grassroots Football Awards help the East Riding FA recognise those who go above and beyond to support the beautiful game in our county. Without you the game would not exist and we are indebted to your efforts in making sure that the East Riding is the best place for people to play and enjoy football. Thank you for all that you do and congratulations to all our award winners."

For more information about Sands United, including joining or setting up a team contact sands.united@sands.org.uk