St Agnes AFC delighted by Club of the Year award
Being voted Parasport’s Club of the Year for 2021 has created an unmistakable buzz in a small corner of Cornwall, according to St Agnes AFC chair Mandy Kimmins.
The Westcountry outfit were among 11 nominees for the prize having been named as Club of the Month for July, in part due to their terrific work in retaining a social connection between their members during the national lockdowns.
Now relishing every moment of being back on the pitch, the youngsters in St Agnes’ disability set-up were further boosted by the news they had topped the public vote in the Club of the Year poll and Kimmins admitted she felt humbled by the award.
“We are very excited that a little club in Cornwall has been recognised in this way,” she said.
“The players, supporters, coaches and everyone at the club is made up. It certainly helps to show how important disability sport, not just football, is in general.
“We shared the poll on our social media and our followers were very supportive in getting behind us, which was lovely.
“Since the Club of the Month award in July, we’ve been very lucky and managed to keep training – whenever football has been allowed to be played, we’ve been out there playing.”
The club’s motto – ‘everyone is welcome, everyone can be included, everyone can play football’ – is at the heart of everything they do and the club is virtually unrecognisable from the one Kimmins joined 18 years ago.
At that time, St Agnes fielded just two teams – a number which has now swelled to 34, including a disability team which is growing all the time.
“Numbers have been really good of late and the players are so enthusiastic,” she said.
“We had one of our biggest turnouts at youth training last week, so the new year is looking very positive and the players are loving being back on the pitch, meeting up with their friends at training and monthly festivals.”
St Agnes are one of a handful of Cornish football teams to run a disability team and Kimmins hopes the recognition brought about by their Club of the Year accolade will see options for youngsters on a local and national level increase.
“Hopefully it will not just attract people to come to our facility, but to disability football and sport more generally,” she said.
“There is currently one [disability football] festival a month in Cornwall and it would be great to see more clubs offering the provision so more players are able to engage with it.
“As coaches, we are extremely proud of all the players both within our disability section and the rest of our club.
“We are super excited to be recognised by this national award and it’s testament to the contribution that is put in every week by all our volunteers.”
For more information on St Agnes AFC, including how to get involved, click here: https://parasport.org.uk/opportunity/st-agnes-afc-dis-ability-squad-adult-youth