The pandemic has taken a terrible toll on all aspects of life. I know how important sport is to our identity as a country, and local football clubs remain at the centre of our communities.
Last week it was great to return to Boreham Wood FC to catch-up with chairman Danny Hunter. As the local Member of Parliament, I have always followed the Club closely as it is my home patch – I even had the honour of joining them on their first ever trip to Wembley.
The Club is at the heart of our community in Borehamwood and provides support for those in need with projects and education initiatives such as disability football festivals, weekly football coaching onsite and much more. Boreham Wood FC are one of 1090 clubs benefiting from government support agreed for the National League this week.
But it is not just Boreham Wood FC – their ground Meadow Park hosts the home matches of Arsenal Women FC, the Arsenal youth teams and Watford reserves. In Potters Bar, attendance has been as high as 248 fans per game who have come out to support local team Potters Bar Town FC.
As Secretary of State and your MP, I am acutely aware of the importance of local clubs at all levels, both across Hertsmere and nationally.
We are working with the Premier League to agree support and I was delighted that Boreham Wood FC, Potters Bar Town FC, and Arsenal Women FC have all been awarded Premier League funding of £40,000 to help them prepare for football’s safe return – on top of government support.
Whilst the months ahead will be difficult, and we continue to face many Covid challenges, I will continue to work round-the-clock to ensure the survival of our lower-league local clubs.
[This article was written on Sunday 11 October 2020]