Grassroots hero Robert McCallum, from Airdrie, has been named winner of the Scottish FA's Central region's Volunteer in Youth Football Award, in the 2012 Scottish FA Grassroots Awards, presented by McDonald’s and the Sunday Mail.

The Grassroots Awards celebrate those young players, coaches and volunteers in the six Scottish FA regions, who dedicate their time to supporting grassroots football in their local community. 

Robert McCallum, 40, was instrumental in founding the Gartcairn Academy in 2007 and has developed the club from a group of 10 children to over 350 young footballers from the Airdrie and Coatbridge area.

The club’s motto “Those who want to play, shall play” has seen the club earn respect across the region capturing young footballer’s minds.

The Quality Mark Club now offers over 40 qualified coaching staff to children in the area and as the only club in the area to have a lease on their pitches it boasts top quality coaching facilities.

Robert’s influential role as Chairman, football coach and fundraiser has seen the club grow from a blank canvas to a competitive and well organised community club.

Without his time and commitment hundreds of children would not have the opportunity to participate at the grassroots level in Airdrie and the surrounding area.

As winner of the regional Volunteer in Youth Football Award Robert will now be included in the national shortlist, with the National Award winners being announced at a special ceremony at Hampden Park on Thursday September 27th.

Alan Taylor, football development officer for the Scottish FA in the region, said: “Robert is a legend of the grassroots game in our eyes and it is right that we take the time, not just to recognise his dedication, but also to say thank you for the enthusiasm and time that Robert gives up.

"Without the thousands of volunteers, like Robert, dedicating their time and effort passing on their skills to others, grassroots football in local communities simply wouldn’t happen. 

"I want to wish him the best of luck in the national awards later this year, and we look forward to hearing the results.”

Robert said: “It is a fantastic feeling to have been recognised by people across the region for all the hard work that has gone into developing Gartcairn.

"The people and community that support this club are fantastic and I wouldn’t do all of this if it wasn’t for them.

"I just hope that I can do them all proud now I have been put through to the National Awards shortlist."

Other winners from the Central region include:

• Best Volunteer in Adult Football – Donald Beaton

• Best Volunteer in Disability Football – Sandy White

• Best Volunteer in Schools Football – Ian Ash

• Best Volunteer in Girls and Women’s Football – Yvonne Anderson

Voting for the national awards is still open. To vote now for your Professional or Community Club of the Year and Coach of the Year clickhere.

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