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Andy Thorp, pictured, has won the inaugural Barclays Community Sports Award, in recognition of his leadership of Street Soccer, a Manchester-based initiative enabling homeless individuals to reintegrate into society through football.

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We set up Street Soccer as a place for people to meet, make friends and play sport, but also where they can gain coaching qualifications which will ultimately make them more employable.
Andy Thorp, Winner of the inaugural Barclays Community Sports Award

Andy Thorp, pictured, has won the inaugural Barclays Community Sports Award, in recognition of his leadership of Street Soccer, a Manchester-based initiative enabling homeless individuals to reintegrate into society through football.

Through Andy's work, Street Soccer has grown from a weekly football training session to a full rehabilitation scheme, providing Football Association (FA) Level One coaching qualifications to individuals who are homeless, in supported housing or on probation.

The Barclays Community Sports Award recognises the outstanding contribution of individuals and groups to grassroots sport and celebrates the work of the Barclays Spaces for Sports community investment programme across the UK. It will complement the Barclays Player and Manager of the Month Awards presented to the best performers in the Barclays Premier League throughout the season.

Through the accolade, those working in community sport can receive recognition for their achievements in the same way as players and managers at the top of professional football.

Andy said: "I am honoured to receive the Barclays Community Sports Award.

"We set up Street Soccer as a place for people to meet, make friends and play sport, but also where they can gain coaching qualifications which will ultimately make them more employable.

"The prize money will ensure more individuals than ever are able to work towards an FA Level One coaching qualification."

Gareth Southgate, former Middlesbrough and England international footballer who heads the judging panel for the award, added: "We are delighted to recognise Andy's amazing contribution to grassroots sport in the Manchester area.

"Along with his team he works 50 weeks of the year providing support for the homeless, which shows the relentless dedication he has to Street Soccer.

"With centres in Stockport, Bolton, Wigan and Leigh, and plans to expand further, this is certainly testament to the outstanding contribution from Andy and his team."

The Barclays Community Sports Award is a joint initiative between Barclays Spaces for Sports, the Premier League's Creating Chances community football programme, and UK sports charity the Football Foundation.

Each monthly winner will receive £1,000 for their group or organisation, a limited edition trophy, and be entered into the end of season award to win a further £5,000.

Members of the public can nominate a person, group or not-for-profit organisation for the Barclays Community Sports Award by visiting the website.

Barclays Spaces for Sports, launched in the UK in 2004, is a community sports programme using sport to revitalise disadvantaged communities and tackle key social issues in countries around the world where Barclays operates.

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