A partnership between Carlisle United, the Cumberland FA and Cumbria police to stop domestic abuse has been given a prestigious award for its work.
United Against Abuse has been handed the Partnership Award at the 2020 County FA Recognition Awards.
The awards, hosted online for the first time due to COVID-19 restrictions, recognise and endorse the best projects, products and services launched by County FAs over the past season while sharing best practice and learning from around the country.
Cumberland FA was handed the Partnership Award for the county-wide football themed domestic abuse campaign to confront, reduce and raise awareness of domestic abuse in Cumbria.
Using the power of football, the campaign sent out a strong message from everyone that domestic abuse has to stop.
Ben Snowdon, chief executive of Cumberland FA, said: “We are obviously delighted to have been recognised by The FA for the partnership and the initiative.
“The initial concept was brought to us by Cumbria police and as a County FA we were able to see how this would link to the Respect programme and its messages around on and off the field behaviour.
“The support of Carlisle United FC, was critical in unifying the grassroots, national league and professional game in stating that we United Against Abuse.
“I would like to thank Cumbria police, Carlisle United FC and all of the leagues and clubs across the county who supported the campaign.
“However the most important aspect of this award is the opportunity to once again promote the key messages from the scheme, at a time when they have arguably never been more important.
“As a game we will continue to stand United to say that abuse of any kind should not and will not tolerated. Whether this be on the field between players, off the field towards a match official or in this case at home.”
Detective Chief Inspector James Yallop, of Cumbria police, added: “It is great recognition for the county and shows what can be achieved when different organisation’s come together to unite in a common goal.
“The take-up we had from local football teams was amazing and we’d like to thank every team who took part and took a stand against domestic abuse.”
Nigel Clibbens, the chief executive of Carlisle United, said: “We have been proud to work alongside Cumberland FA and Cumbria Constabulary to help raise awareness of an issue which can impact anyone in society.
“I know that is a message which everyone involved in our football club support fully, including our supporters.
“We are pleased the campaign has been a success and recognised and we have been able to work together and be a part of it.”
Cumberland FA hoped that by raising awareness the joint campaign would send a message that abuse, of whatever type, will not be accepted inside or outside football.
Cumbria police was able to access affiliated clubs and teams in order to increase the reach of the campaign and also to allow for tailored campaign information to be distributed.
Cumberland FA delivered FA Respect festivals to three youth leagues supporting the new intake of under-7 and under-8 teams at the beginning of the 2019/20 season.
This involved 70 teams with parents and carers of each team receiving a presentation during the festival about how they can support their child and also the key principles of the United Against Abuse campaign.
Each parent who attended received a thermos mug promoting the #UnitedAgainstAbuse campaign.
Cumbria police also attended the festivals to help educate children and adults about domestic abuse, how to spot it, report it and how to get help and support.
The #UnitedAgainstAbuse social media campaign was well supported with players from across the county getting involved by putting a red stripe on their face at matches and training in order to raise awareness of domestic abuse across the first few months of the 2019/20 season.
Workington Diamonds Ladies FC won a kit with #UnitedAgainstAbuse on the front of the shirt in their club colours as part of a prize draw.
Cumberland FA’s Nike Partner Kitlocker printed the shirts provided by Cumbria police for the prize draw winners.
It is estimated that more than a million people have been reached by the Cumbria #UnitedAgainstAbuse social media posts alone.