A huge thank you to everybody who took the time to #VoteSIFL - you've won the Social Inclusion Football League £50,000!
For the past fortnight, the hashtag has been all over social media as the parties behind the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre-based competition tussled with four other good causes from the north west to try and win a share of the funds on offer through The People's Projects from The Big Lottery Fund.
Currently taking place once a month with the help of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, the league provides an outlet for footballers with variety of mental health and addiction-related issues. The new funding will secure the league's funding for the next three years whilst also allowing it to potentially double in size.
The north west public have thrown their support behind the idea, which has been heavily promoted at recent Rovers home games, much to the delight of the SIFL's driving force.
Paul Hardman, support coordinator for Creative Support, who help to administer the competition, revealed:
“This is fantastic news for everyone in Blackburn with Darwen and further afield. The support from the public, the football family and our Health & Social Care partners has been overwhelming and we are so grateful.
"I think that people recognise the fact that mental health, substance misuse and homelessness are issues that can affect any one us at any time. I have three beautiful children and if they were to struggle at any time for whatever reason I would want them to have access to a project like this.
"The funding from the Peoples Projects will enable the Social Inclusion Football League to continue its work and support more people who need it. All of us here at the League would like to thank every single person who voted. You have made a positive difference at a time when relentless Government cuts are having devastating effects on local communities.”
More information on the Social Inclusion Football League can be found via the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust website at www.brfctrust.co.uk