Club of the Year: Sands United
We are delighted to announce that Sands United Brighton & Hove have won our Grassroots Club of the Year Award as part of The FA and McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards.
The awards aim to recognise and reward volunteers, match officials, clubs and leagues across the county who have made a difference to grassroots football in their local community.
Sands United Brighton & Hove are not your typical Sunday league team, they are a team made up of bereaved dads and anyone affected by baby loss, with the aim of raising awareness and helping with their mental health. The team was started up by Andy Lindley in February 2019, and they now have over 40 players signed up - each of them having been affected by baby loss.
As a club they have created an amazing support network for all the families involved either directly or indirectly. The team acts as an extended family and is much more than just a football team. Typically, when someone suffers baby loss, they are given guidance and advice and encouraged to join support groups to talk through their grief. This doesn’t appeal to many men who struggle to talk about their feelings, so Andy started the team as a way for these men to start conversations, break the silence around baby loss and provide a support network. But, instead of sitting in a room talking, they could chat or get the support required through their love and passion for football.
Each player wears the name of their angle on their shirt, so they can play football for their angel. Before the game the team always conducts a minute’s silence in memory of one of their angels, or as they call it an ‘angelversary’. The team meet regularly to train and to provide support which is improving the players mental health by offering a safe and secure place to talk and to share their experiences and advice.
One of the players commented: “I, amongst many others, have had to endure the pain of losing a child before, during and after birth. Mental health for men has always been hidden in the background but Sands United has definitely changed that. They always encourage us all to reach out when we need to and that support network has been truly invaluable!”
To find out more about The FA and McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards please contact: