GIRLS across North Yorkshire are being encouraged to go football mad after news of a £50,000 grant from the Football Foundation.

The cash from the foundation, the UK's largest sports charity, will fund a development officer to organise coaching and competitions for young players. A North Yorkshire league will also be established.

The North Yorkshire Sports Partnership will build on the work already begun by a number of local authorities in the region

It will target more than 1,000 new players as well as developing links with clubs and schools to provide professional coaching and soccer festivals.

Andrew Gair, the partnership's active sports manager, said the money would allow them to build on foundations already established through a number of programmes, including their own Youth Games and council and school coaching.

He said: "The new officer will bring the sport together and lead its ongoing development across England's largest Sports Partnership."

To ensure the long-term sustainability of the programme 75 new coaches will be recruited and developed over the next five years.

Additionally, 100 volunteers will be recruited and trained to support the development of up to 27 girls' football clubs.

The Football Foundation is funded by the FA Premier League, the Football Association, Sport England and the Government, and has a £53m budget.

The aim is to revitalise the game at grass roots level, to create modern facilities and to develop the game as a force for social cohesion and a vehicle for education.

Director of community development Mandy Ayres said: "Working with the FA and through groups like Yorkshire Sports Partnership we are ensuring a bright future for the female game."