Tina Jacobs, a grandmother-of-five and ‘Victory Hants’ football volunteer coach for 150 people with disabilities and other needs in Portsmouth, is the Nationwide Building Society Mutual Respect Awards winner for February 2021.

Nationwide Building Society Mutual Respect Awards, as part of The Football Association’s Respect Campaign, aims to help make grassroots football more respectful and positive.  The brand-new award recognises outstanding contributions, achievements and behaviour in grassroots football across the country by young players under the age of 18, coaches, teams, parents and referees.

Chris Hull, Ambassador for the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award, said: “Tina runs a local club in Portsmouth called ‘Victory Hants’ which is a diverse community group for disabled people plus many others who are finding life hard and challenging.

“Tina and her group provide football sessions for the young players and those of all ages on a weekly basis.  During the pandemic, she has been keeping the sessions going online with activity, games and constant engagement.  However, that is barely half of Tina’s story as she and her willing band of volunteers have turned to helping those in need in the local community with free food packages and support in these recent trying times.  Helping the community is at the centre of Tina’s life and she thoroughly deserves this recognition.”

Tina, 57, said: “We are very proud of the work of ‘Victory Hants’. It is a diverse, active community involvement organization based in Portsmouth and offers inclusive football and activity for anyone aged 14 and over.  Our participants have a previous history of homelessness, mental health issues, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, long-term unemployment or have suffered social isolation.  The purpose of the group is to break down barriers within the community with the help of football for our participants.

“In recent times ‘Victory Hants’ has diversified our services to accommodate the current Covid 19 pandemic. Since March 2020, we have provided free food to those with special requirements, provided school age children in Portsmouth with a daily lunch and access to learning resources including pre-loved, re-cycled laptops and learning devices.

“Victory Hants CIC has also provided emergency food parcels to those who have found themselves being made redundant or on extended furlough.

“We have over 150 members who we have kept occupied and engaged during the pandemic via our online media support service including games, quizzes and inclusive exercise classes to help maintain our members’ and families’ fitness during the lockdowns.

“I have the support of 12 volunteers and I am delighted that Nationwide feels the efforts are worthy of recognition with their Mutual Respect Award and look hugely forward to my visit to Wembley to watch England play. What an incredible treat.  Thank you.”

Tina not only receives a trophy and the accolade of being the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award winner but also wins tickets to an upcoming England game once fans are allowed back into stadiums.

Nominations are now open on Nationwide’s Facebook page for the March monthly award and anyone over 18 can nominate their ‘grassroots respect hero’.

To nominate a player under the age of 18, a coach, team, parent or referee for the March award – someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the game or their community – go to: Nationwide Building Society’s Facebook page:  HERE

The nominator must be over the age of 18.  The nomination window closes 11.59 on 21st March 2021.

Nationwide’s target is to engage with one million parents and coaches in the FA Respect Campaign as a part of their three-year partnership.

Paid for by Nationwide Building Society