Colchester United has been named The Football League Family Club of the Year at The Football League Awards 2015.The club received the award at the gala ceremony at The Brewery, London, on Sunday evening in front of over 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry.
The Football League Awards 2015 mark the 10th year of the awards, which celebrate on and off pitch excellence across The League’s 72 clubs. This year all 72 clubs were nominated for at least one award.
Colchester United beat off competition from the likes of Brighton & Hove Albion, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes Dons, Plymouth Argyle and Stevenage to claim the overall Football League Family Club of the Year Award.
During the 2014/15 season, Colchester United set out to increase family attendance by introducing an U11s-for-free initiative at every League 1 fixture, with all members of staff and players contributing towards a culture where families can enjoy watching affordable live football in their town. As a result, the first half of the season saw more than 3,000 U11s attend a match at their local club.
On winning the award, Colchester United's media manager Matt Hudson, said: "It's really important to win this, we moved stadium a few years ago to the edge of town and it's really important to stay connected with the local community. We made a concerted effort this year to make families feel welcome. This award is the culmination of that. We've done stuff at pretty much every game this season to make families feel welcome. This is the result of a lot of hard work from everyone at the football club."
Football League clubs excel at attracting young fans and families to their grounds to watch live football. By using mystery shopper families, The Football League acknowledges the clubs that are delivering a fantastic family match day experience. This award honours those clubs that are leading the way in continuing to push the standard even higher to providing the very best experience for families across The Football League.
Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of The Football League, said: "The 10th Football League Awards has given us the opportunity to reward outstanding performance, both on and off the pitch, during what has been a memorable Football League season.
"Each of our winners thoroughly deserves this recognition and, once again, we've seen exceptional levels of talent, dedication and achievement across all our nominees."
The Football League Awards 2015 were streamed live on The Football League's official YouTube channel and website, while highlights will be shown on Sky Sports 1 on Monday evening at 6:15pm and 9:15pm.
To find out more about The Football League Awards, and for a full list of Award categories, please visit www.FLAwards.com or search for #FLAwards on Twitter, and other social media.