The Football League Trust has launched its new Gold Standard Award which will recognise outstanding work by Community Trusts at Football League clubs.

Key to The Football League Trust's delivery of the Government's 'Big Society' agenda, the Gold Award will recognise community schemes that have developed into exceptional and sustainable businesses.

The Gold Award was unveiled at a Westminster reception by The Football League's Honorary President Lord Mawhinney in front of an audience including Sport and Olympics Minister, Hugh Robertson MP.

A close relationship between Clubs and their Community Trusts is an essential part of the new Gold Award, with players being used as role models and ambassadors in the local community.

The standard is further achieved through the commissioning and delivering of CSR for large regional companies, with clubs also becoming regional hubs for funding bids and project management. Community Trusts achieving the Gold Standard will also act as mentors for local Bronze and Silver schemes.

Currently, all 72 Football League clubs have already achieved Bronze level with 46 also reaching the Silver standard. The Football League Trust will announce the first clubs to achieve the Gold Standard Award later in the year.

Dave Edmundson, General Manager of The Football League Trust, said: "With the launch of the Gold Award, our award winning accreditation criteria are now complete.

"All our 72 community schemes have reached bronze level, all are charities and 46 schemes have reached silver level. Our commitment to maintain an improving standards culture, with an objective to change lives and become an integral hub of the communities served by Football League Clubs will encourage a desire to Go for Gold, and be a recognised kitemark of leading in community development and engagement.

"In addition the publication of the Trust's Three year Report at this event hosted by Lord Mawhinney, Honorary President of the League, also demonstrates the impressive impact and considerable progress made by Football League Community Schemes, underpinned by our overall purpose to 'Use the Power of Football to Make a Difference'."