AN Oxford initiative has been recognised at a national level after being named Grassroots Project of the Year.

Diversity Football League were among the winners at the annual FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards.

The aim is to celebrate the efforts of volunteers across the country who play a special role in supporting their community.

Diversity Football was set up to promote greater inclusivity within football.

Its weekly league is made up of teams from Oxford’s Kurdish, Eritrean, Nigerian, Romanian, Syrian and Pakistani communities.

The belief is that football can be used to have a positive impact on lives and the league was commended for the work done to engage so many hard to reach communities across the city.

They discovered their award success during a surprise visit from former England and Liverpool striker Emile Heskey.

He met the team behind Diversity Football to hear more about their work before joining in with a training session.

The team will be presented with their award at an event to be held at a later date.

Heskey said: “In what has been a hugely challenging year for the whole country, it feels particularly important to recognise the dedication of volunteers who work tirelessly to have a positive impact on their local communities.

“It was great to surprise the incredible team at Diversity Football.

“They should be extremely proud of their work and grassroots football in Oxford is in a much better place with them being a part of it.”