As a result of Joel's hard work and commitment, the Birmingham County FA have created the Joel Richards Foundation Legacy Fund which will honour Joel’s memory and leave a lasting legacy which will benefit the local football ‘family’.
The fund was launched by the Birmingham County FA - where Joel also served as chairman of the Youth Council - on Sunday to coincide with what would have been Joel's 21st birthday on Wednesday.
The Joel Richards Foundation Legacy Fund will take the form of a bursary fund that local young coaches, referees and volunteers can apply to have access to. By applying through the fund, individuals will have the opportunity to receive funding to help support their progression through their football journey – something that was tragically taken away from Joel all too soon.
Suzy Richards said: "It was lovely. There were so many people there, friends from the Referees' Association and the Youth Council. His school friends and family all came along, as well as Owen who was playing.
"It will work as a bursary for young males or females who want to get into football or refereeing and help to pay for things like exams, kit or any trips they have to do because it can be quite expensive."
More than £500 was raised from the football match, while Joel's former school Stuart Bathurst High in Wednesbury has donated £900 to the cause. Overall £2,500 was raised across the weekend.
Suzy said: "It is the perfect tribute to Joel, he would have loved the fact it was being done in his name.
"It was what Joel was all about. He set up the Youth Council and was all about supporting getting young people into sport.
"Now there is going to be a legacy fund, in a way it is like Joel is still helping. I want to thank the Birmingham FA for setting this up."
Kirsty Dixon, chair of Birmingham FA’s Youth Council, said: “Joel was an amazing role model, inspiring young people throughout all areas of football, refereeing, coaching and volunteering. Joel dedicated his time to support as many people as possible, and always knew how to put a smile on your face.
“His legacy will continue through the many awards in his name, and now the Joel Richards Legacy Fund. We hope to continue the support he personally provided through the fund, which will benefit many – especially those who need some support to kick-start or help them on their own football journey.”
If you would like to view photos from the Joel Richards Foundation Legacy head over to our Facebook page.
The Joel Richards Legacy Fund is now available to anyone in the Birmingham region, between the ages of 12 and 25, who need financial support to help them get involved with football.
Joel Richards Foundation Legacy Fund Application Form
Once you submit your application, you will be contacted by a member of Birmingham FA Youth Council.