A joint initiative between the Guernsey Football Association and Ravenscroft, which aims to development football volunteers and coaches of the future has encouraged more of Guernsey’s young people to give time back to the sport and seen more girls becoming involved with the sport.
Football for Everyone was launched two years ago following discussions between senior representatives of football in Guernsey on the island and sponsor Ravenscroft who have a collective ambition to support and develop the youth game by enabling and encouraging participation of both boys and girls of all abilities.
The programme includes the FA Junior Football Leaders Award which was designed and introduced to show young people that there are many other ways to get involved in the sport apart from physically playing. In the first year of the programme, 27 young people completed the training course and a number of those have since used those skills they have acquired to support the local football community in various ways. The 2017/18 academic year saw another 31 young people completing the training course.
The course itself, which has been delivered by Guernsey FA Football Development Officer, Angus Mackay, includes six hours of practical learning with the students then required to complete 4 hours of volunteering to gain the full qualification. The volunteering hours can be achieved by helping with a team, running football activity sessions, refereeing or organising and managing events.
‘It has been great to see some of the students who completed the course in the first year using their skills and giving up their time to give back to local football. This is the basis of the ‘Football for Everyone’ campaign, which is aimed at growing the sport locally in a variety of ways and delivering the Junior Football Leaders Award is an important element in developing more volunteers to ensure the sport us sustainable,’ said Angus.
‘I am now looking forward to seeing the 31 students from the current academic year do exactly the same and the GFA is here to support and guide these young people with their volunteering. We recognise that football is the same as other sports in that it needs volunteers and we want the younger generation to understand how important it is to give something back.
‘We have already begun planning our delivery programme for the next academic year and the schools continue to be really positive about the course. We are again planning to deliver the award in every school so that we see more and more young people getting involved both on and off the pitch.’
The end of the 2017/18 academic year and football season also marks the second full year of the Guernsey FA delivering the Ravenscroft Girls Player Development Centre (PDC).
Over the course of the two years, the numbers of girls participating has continued to increase and there are now 45 girls registered, 38 of whom have been presented with their official kit, provided by Ravenscroft, for attending at least 10 sessions.
‘It is a fantastic sight to see all the girls wearing their kit on a Monday afternoon. We have a wealth of girls of all ages attending the weekly sessions which is building the foundations for the future in order to potentially create female only teams with the aim of starting a mini girls league and that’s all because of the support we have been provided by Ravenscroft,’ said . Guernsey FA Women & Girls Development Officer, Joelle Pengelley.
Guernsey FA Chief Executive Officer, Gary Roberts, said it was fantastic to see the growth and success of the Girls Player Development Centre
‘The Guernsey FA is both proud and encouraged with the positive growth that has been seen at the Ravenscroft PDC, and is really excited to see girls football continuing to grow and build a bright new future for girls football in Guernsey. The specific girls only opportunities that we are now able to provide are only possible through the support of the Guernsey FA partners and I would like to again thank Ravenscroft for the commitment and support they continue to show to Guernsey football and in particular the PDC. It is important to also acknowledge the work and influence of Joelle and the team of volunteers supporting delivery of the PDC, who have all been instrumental in creating a positive and welcoming environment for the girls to enjoy playing football, learning and having fun.’