The unique, must-attend event for everyone involved with community football
8.45 – 9.15 Registration and Tea/Coffee
9.15 – 9.30 Welcome and setting the scene
Chair, Svend Elkjaer, Founder/Director, Sports Marketing Network
9.30 – 10.00 Challenges and opportunities for grassroots football
10.00 – 10.30 The emergence of a collaboration between sport tech and grassroots sport
Alex Zurita, London Sport’s Specialist Advisor – Technology for Participation
Along with a growing digitally savvy population, there is also the emergence of tech entrepreneurs creating and developing products focusing on the grassroots and mass market by bringing new innovation, engagement tools and business models for the sport and physical activity sector.
Sport Tech Hub has been key in enabling this growth as it was founded with a core purpose to better connect London’s thriving SportTech scene with a wider strategic ambition to make London the most physically active city in the world.
This session will present the emergence of a sport tech community via the Sport Tech Hub, hear from entrepreneurs looking to drive more participation and engagement and a key to this, how collaboration with clubs, local organisations and governing bodies is paramount.
Three years on, over 35 tech entrepreneurs have benefited from the Sport Tech Hub’s support, building and driving partnerships from football foundations, local authorities to health trusts, ultimately impacting tens of thousands of Londoners and beyond.
Alex Zurita is London Sport’s Specialist Advisor – Technology for Participation, with responsibility for shaping London Sport’s strategic commitments to supporting technology, data and digital initiatives designed to raise levels of participation in physical activity and sport in the capital. This includes leading the Sport Tech Hub, London’s strategic plan of action – ‘Making London the Heart of the Sport Tech World’ and engaging with sector-leading initiatives such as OpenActive.
Alex joined London Sport in 2011 with brief stints as Great Britain Women’s Football Team Manager, and a secondment to the London Legacy Development Corporation as Programme Manager for the multimillion-pound project – Active People, Active Park.
10.30 – 11.00 Engaging with non-traditional community football clubs
Tom Burstow, Deputy CEO, Sported
Beyond the formal structure of the game, hundreds of community groups use the power of football to create positive social outcomes for young people across the country. Often established by local volunteers, they deliver great work reaching members of the community facing huge challenges such as poverty, youth violence, poor educational attainment and other inequalities.
Despite the enormous passion and dedication of their group leaders, a disproportionate number of football focused groups fall by the wayside given their incredibly limited resources and constrained organisational capacity. Sported works with these groups on a free to join basis, strengthening their ability to raise funds, reach new audiences and start planning for the future.
This session will highlight the challenges that exist in strengthening the game at a grassroots level particularly for those groups aiming for community benefit as much as sporting success and will suggest, from our experience, the ways in which the game can grow sustainably and reaching all audiences.
11.00 -11.30 Tea/Coffee
11.30 – 12.00 Three workshops (delegates will have to decide which one they want to attend,
but will also receive the slide presentations for the other workshops).
Inspiring girls aged 5-12 to experience football in a relaxed setting, whilst having fun and making friends
Katy Evans – Football Development Manager, Girls Participation, FAW Trustment Manager, Girls Participation, FAW Trust
The School Sport Survey conducted by Sport Wales every three years’ highlighted that there was a huge demand from girls wanting to play football, but those numbers were not reflected in the affiliated club game; this is where Huddle aims to bridge the gap between a taste in school and entering the club game. Huddle was born in 2019 to inspire girls aged 5-12 to experience football in a relaxed setting, whilst having fun and making friends. Huddle is delivered by clubs and partners who have the ambition to introduce girls to football in an energetic and engaging manner – there’s no fixtures, or leagues, or strict kit to wear, the only rule is that it is fun! The FAW Trust is a registered charity and is responsible for the development of football in Wales. For more than 20 years, it’s been our job to work with the Football Association of Wales to protect, promote and develop the game of football to achieve our joint vision of: Football for everyone, everywhere in Wales. Katy Evans is one of the Football Development Managers at the FAW Trust with a National remit for Girls’ Participation. Since being in post from July 2018, Katy has researched, consulted and prepared the necessary elements that are valuable in attracting and retaining the ‘novice girl’ to football. With a background in gymnastics and netball, Katy has a passion for sport and is motivated to create welcoming and friendly environments for new participants to enjoy the wonderful game of football. .
Mixed Ability Football, bringing a new inclusive dimension to the game
Mark Goodwin, Founder/Director, Mason Faulkner, Project Manager, International Mixed Ability Sports
In 2015 Bradford in West Yorkshire hosted the first Mixed Ability Rugby World Tournament and there are now around 20 mixed ability rugby teams around the UK. The inspiration for the first English Mixed Ability football team came from Anthony Brook, a young man with Cerebral Palsy and Learning Difficulties, who refused to accept that he could only play an adapted version of the game he loves and only play it with other disabled people. In the summer of 2016, the first Mixed Ability Football Festival was run in partnership with Mencap Doncaster Rovers’ 5 a-side pitches with teams from as far as London, Liverpool and Nottingham to South Yorkshire. The tournament has now run annually for 4 years and it has positive impacts for wellbeing, physical and mental health, friendship and relationship building at all levels. From the tournament, a min- league has been developed in South Yorkshire and what’s unique is that players are not graded, judged or identified as disabled. Participants are male or female and could have down syndrome, a physical disability or no impairments. .
Ammanford AFC – from just a football club to more than a club
Ammanford AFC was for a while one of many community football clubs with a senior side (with home gates of 50) and a couple of hundred Juniors.
Whilst the club has witnessed significant progress in recent years, there have been two key events that have been instrumental in the evolution: Funding was secured for the development of the ground facility to include a 250-seater stand, new floodlights and perimeter fencing. The other event saw the club and community massively affected by the tragic suicide of “one of the club’s own” youngsters. As a result, the club has been instrumental in the creation of a charity “The Jac Lewis Foundation” to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing in young people through a wellbeing counselling facility.
This has further galvanised the club’s outlook inspiring the organisation of community events and charity fundraisers, including a Toy Appeal and support for local and wider charities and good causes, including cancer and flood appeal donations and so on.
Working in partnership with local organisations they are now developing a Well Being Centre at the club. They have also seen the gates rocket to average over 300 a game, with a couple of individual crowds well above that. The club is also part of the FAW Trust’s More than a club programme.
This presentation will cover this ongoing journey.
12.05 – 12.40 Three workshops (delegates will have to decide which one they want to attend,
but will also receive the slide presentations for the other workshops).
Empowerment: a win-win recipe for football clubs and youth
What football can do for education and what education can do for football
Paul Mitchell – Education Manager at QPR in the Community Trust, FA Tutor
How football can reach out and support homeless and disengaged people
Keith Mabbutt, Founder & CEO of The Street Soccer Foundation
In the summer of 2015 former footballer, Keith Mabbutt launched the Street Soccer Foundation after learning of the plight of homeless people in England. The thought of using the global no.1 sport as a platform to attract, engage and inspire vulnerable young people was compelling.
But just how can football truly help those who are disengaged from our society and currently experiencing homelessness?
In this talk you will hear from Founder & CEO, Keith Mabbutt, on how the Street Soccer Foundation has gone on to become nationally acclaimed, now operating nationwide to deliver its flagship programme, the ‘Street Soccer Academy’, viewed as the number 1 football-led project tackling youth homelessness in England.
With the goal of driving change in the country using the power of football, Keith will provide an insight into the partnership-led approach the Foundation has taken to be able to help change lives, create opportunities, and build better futures for those the Foundation supports.
Keith Mabbutt was recognised by the Centre for Entrepreneurs and The Sunday Times as one of the UK’s most successful Businessmen supporting the next generation, A former footballer Keith Mabbutt, is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of The Street Soccer Foundation.
13.30 – 14.00 Football Fever – recruiting and training young people/adults to become football coaches or Internet video sports reporters
Sarah Hawken, Health Improvement Manager, Brent Council
Tom Derry, Operations Manager, WinkBall
14.30 SALISBURY ROVERS FC: it’s your game, play it your way!
Debbie Sayers, Founder/Club Secretary Salisbury Rovers
14.30 – 15.00 Developing Scandinavia’s largest integrated youth football initiative
Fodboldlinjen in Randers, Denmark (population 63,000) has been going for 10 years and more than 500 boys and girls in the 7th to 9th grade play football in the morning between 6.15 – 7.45 am twice a week at twelve different facilities across town. The young people are graded according to their footballing levels so that they will we playing with equals.
The project also delivers a six-week junior leadership course where the young people are taught design (football kits), innovation, management, marketing and strategy and they then produce a plan to build a club. In 2019 48 pupils from six schools completed the course.
The project also delivers a football coaching course and every year all the young people go on a study tour to Germany and is being delivered in partnership with several local schools, colleges and the local Superleague football club.
15.00 – 15.30 Community Football in 2030 – what will it look like?
Svend Elkjaer, Founder/Director, Sports Marketing Network
The world is changing and in many cases that bring new opportunities if we are willing and able to change ourselves, but not if we see change as the enemy and take forever to react to the new world. Community football clubs and providers are not immune to this situation and we who are involved with this sector simply have to embrace change and we could benefit from that change.
This presentation will put forward some options for how in 2030
1. We will cater for both social and competitive sports and develop facilities that are fit for the future?
2. We will embrace technology to engage with participants?
3. We will develop a better relationship with the wider community?
4. We will raise the profile of our clubs/place and our activities?
5. We will be either #JustForFootball or #MoreThanFootball at our clubs and centres?
6. Our staff, coaches and the wider volunteer workforce will look and behave like and how will we look after them?
7. How we will become better at generating sustainable income?
15.30 – 16.00 Panel debate
How do the innovators and entrepreneurs and the traditional community football bodies and clubs work better together and what could the future for community football look like.