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A myriad of community football providers and formats

Community and grassroots football play a huge role in people’s lives, in sport and in our communities.  Whether played in a traditional club, a community setting, a small-sided facility or somewhere else football has the scope to engage with more people than any other sport.   There is a wide range of providers and settings with different focus whether it is talent pathways, social integration or fun and enjoyment and it seems that there is precious little dialogue and engagement between the various providers of community football.

We are seeing an increase in the different formats of football, be it futsal, footgolf, walking football, e-football or freestyle and they are all attracting players from a wide range of backgrounds, dedication and talents. It has been estimated that more than 50% of football is played away from clubs.

There is also a wide range of football for change programmes where football is used as a lever to engage with disengaged groups to improve people’s health, educational attainment, and social inclusion.  They are often delivered by dedicated community groups and others who see football as a means to an end and not ‘just football for football’s sake’.  

For the football governing bodies all these developments represent huge challenges and opportunities. Should they ignore them and stick with the traditional formats and clubs as the main providers or should they embrace all these developments and even consider to coordinate them all is a question which is important to community football at all levels.

So this is an exciting, innovative and flourishing sector with a larger number of different groups and providers involved, often doing great work, but with relatively little cross-sector engagement and communication. Until now – a connected grassroots football sector is what the Community Football Summit is trying to achieve.  

Bringing grassroots football together

The Summit will bring together people with an interest in community football from across a wide range of groups and bodies together. They will learn from each other, share ideas and experiences and develop new partnerships all to build a vibrant, visible and viable community football sector.

The Summit will cover important topics such as

How do we recruit and develop a workforce fit for a changing community football world?  Coaches, activators, welcomers, marketers and, community connectors are just some of the roles that will be required to develop and grow the sport. But who and how?

Is there a battle between the 4Ps?  Pleasure and Participation vs. Pathway and Performance.  Or can they live together, in perfect harmony? To what degree do the junior sections exist to develop players for the pathway or is pure enjoyment and engagement enough?  

What is the role of coaches? Are they a skills developer or activity grower or something between? Do our coach development programmes need revising and updating? How can all the various partners and providers work together? Schools, community groups, clubs, holiday camp organisers, coaching companies, governing bodies and so on. How can they develop purpose-full relationships? How do we attract more disabled people into football? Do we develop adapted formats and/or do we run mixed ability football initiatives?  

How do we develop and support football concepts using small-sided football training sessions for school children, for untrained adults and for patients that are suitable for large-scale implementation?  

How do we attract and retain more females into football? How do we create a culture and experiences that are more conducive to meeting the expectations of girls and women?  

How can grassroots football play a bigger role in their communities and in people’s lives? Or should we play ‘football for football’s sake’?  

How will technology change the world of community football?  From e-football to digital communications and player networks – it can’t be ignored, so how to engage? 

How do we attract sponsors and non-sports partners? How can community football, collectively, prove its worth to a wider world and thus attract support and funding?   How do the innovators and entrepreneurs and the traditional community football bodies and clubs work better together?

Who should attend the Community Football Summit

Football governing bodies, schools, colleges, community groups, coaching companies, holiday camp organisers, football for change organisations, club representatives, charities, coach developers and leisure trusts.

If you are interested in presenting, partnering or sponsoring please get in touch with Svend Elkjaer on svend@smnuk.com or call him on 01423 326 660.

To book your place as a delegate click here