A DRUMCHAPEL football team has been given the highest award for voluntary groups in the UK for almost 20 years of work in the local community.

Drumchapel United FC received the news last week that the club had been chosen to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Established in 2001, the club has 136 active volunteers and is the biggest voluntary organisation in Glasgow.

Three years ago the club received the ‘best grassroots football club’ award from the Scottish FA.

In addition to its 27 age group and adult teams, the club also operates a range of voluntary community initiatives, including a food bank, Christmas toy collections, elderly support groups and ‘Wellbeing4All’ packs.

The packs were designed to tackle hygiene issues brought on by poverty and include sanitary products; hairspray; deodorant and body wash which are issued each month and are accessible to players, parents and coaches.

Chairman Scott Bland said: “We are very aware that we never want anyone involved in our club or the wider community to feel different, singled out, or not able to afford to attend the club.

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“The players and parents can help themselves to supplies, and either give the packs away to people who need them or make use of them for themselves.

“It’s a way of ensuring no one feels unable to attend, and we are also aware of situations where parents would need to go without adequate sanitary products to ensure their kids had them.

“We are also the first grassroots club to offer mental health first aid training, including suicide awareness training.”

The club also operates a youth ambassador scheme with younger players meeting once a month to discuss issues in their local community, such as sectarianism, gangs and mental health, and develop strategies to open up conversations with their peers.

Local councillor Malcolm Balfour said: “Many congratulations to Drumchapel United football club.

“The work carried out by this club at all levels from kids to coaches is nothing short of amazing and proves that no matter where you come from, with hard work and commitment you can achieve anything.”