Friday, June 14, 2024

Youngsters Help to Shape Grassroots Football’s Future


Youngsters Help to Shape Grassroots Football’s Future

Essex County FA Youth Forum Chairman, Ciaran Whatley is aiming to find the next generation of club secretaries, managers, development officers and referees as he leads the group into another productive season in 2018/19.

As part of the Forum, young people aged between 16 and 24 have the opportunity to help shape and develop football, supporting and empowering a diverse workforce and influencing change. Currently a group of six individuals are supporting the County FA in delivering a strategy, aiming to give a voice to youngsters and make a positive impact.

Ciaran is proud to head the Youth Forum, and has pointed out that the knowledge within the group is valuable: “In my eyes, my main task as Chairman would be to give each Youth Forum member the best opportunities to develop and find their own successes, in a way which helps improve their clubs and the communities around them.”

“When we’ve all met up over the course of the season, and before for those who are in their second year on the Youth Forum, I can tell that there is a lot of energy and a wide skill base amongst the group. When combined, those two mean we have a good platform for success.”

Ciaran started volunteering in 2011/12 with Hawkwell Athletic FC’s Soccer School, which soon developed into refereeing when he turned 14. He performs various volunteering tasks, including referee mentoring plus helping in their home ground’s kitchen. Currently a lot of his time is going towards setting-up a girls academy and organising a fun day to help launch this.

Across the season, the Youth Forum will be working alongside the County FA to deliver the annual Grassroots Football Festivals, Futsal Finals and various events, and Ciaran agrees that there any particular areas and specialisms where the team’s skills could be strengthened.

“I think having new faces would give us the perfect opportunity to build upon what’s come before,” he explained, “with new ideas and voices providing a fresh take on how we can develop both ourselves as a Youth Forum and football in Essex as a whole.”

Rhys Elmer, from the Essex County FA Development Team, added: “I believe it’s extremely important that we listen to the views of children and young people to shape the way grassroots football looks. Young people currently volunteering in football are our future generations of club and league committee members, coaches, welfare officers and first aiders.”

If you’d like to join the Youth Forum, E-Mail Rhys Elmer at or call (01245) 393093. For further details on volunteering in grassroots Essex football, visit, follow @EssexCountyFA and search for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.

Could You Join the Forum?

The ultimate aim is to recruit a team of twelve, to cover as many areas of football as possible. Existing ‘Football Futures’ members are welcome to join if they are:

o able to attend, and actively participate in, all monthly Youth Forum meetings

o committed to Youth Forum aims to provide a voice for children and young people

o capable of delivering and attending various football events related to the role

o in a position to support a minimum of three Essex County FA events

o willing to complete the FA ‘CRC’ process


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