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Community Football Summit 2020  


18th June 2020, Proact Stadium, Chesterfield FC

Bringing together everyone involved with
developing and delivering grassroots football


Strategies, policies, experiences, real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt, ideas and experiences to be shared.



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

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Svend Elkjaer is founder and director of the Sports Marketing Network, a leading consultancy and information provider with community sport and physical activity. Being described as ‘a positive disruptor’ Svend has worked across the UK and Denmark with all types of providers and funders helping them to become vibrant, visible and viable.

9.30 – 10.00 Challenges and opportunities for grassroots football


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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QPR in the Community works with young people between 4 and 24, developing and supporting them through football and education. The education department has 4 very succinct Whys? Ensuring what they deliver is consistent and progressive. Football Fever is a football project focussing on two areas. Projects include Premier League Primary Stars, a comprehensive school sports programme, Premier League Inspires for Secondary Schools, College Academy schemes for 16-19-year-olds, apprenticeships, traineeships and a foundation degree beginning in September 2020. The effects of these programmes are immense and often unquantifiable, however initially, just keeping young people engaged in education is a success. The cycle of education, employability development through to full-time work with QPR in the Community Trust is proven. Paul Mitchell is a former Partnership Development Manager for a School Sports Partnership and Development Coach for the Youth Sport Trust. Coached in AFC Bournemouth Academy, before working at Palace for Life Foundation and now QPR in the Community Trust. Current FA tutor and student studying MSc Sports Coaching.

How football can reach out and support homeless and disengaged people

Keith Mabbutt, Founder & CEO of The Street Soccer Foundation

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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.




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12.40-13.30 Lunch

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

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Football Fever is a football project focussing on two areas. The first is working with local communities to recruit and train young people/adults to be football coaches. Once qualified and DBS checked, the coaches will deliver sessions within Brent, to their local community. The sessions will be free or at a low cost to participants to encourage them to engage. The coaches will get support (equipment, coach support, mentoring) from Brent Council Public Health, University Campus of Football Business and Middlesex FA. The second part of the project looks to recruit and train young people/adults to be Internet video sports reporters – interviewing and reporting, video production and social media. These reporters will then access local football activities within Brent and make short clips and footage, to show on Football Fever creating an opportunity for Brent to capture the moment and to share and tell their football stories. Sarah Hawken has 30 years’ experience in Sports Development, Nutrition, Health, Wellbeing and Public Health. Passionate about getting people active and allowing young people to help shape their community and their lives. Tom Derry is a former professional footballer, currently playing semi-professionally for Tonbridge Angels in the Conference South. On a day to day basis, Operations Manager at WinkBall; an internet television network that provides QR video and channels to businesses, publications, brands and organisations.

14.30 SALISBURY ROVERS FC: it’s your game, play it your way!

Debbie Sayers, Founder/Club Secretary Salisbury Rovers

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Salisbury Rovers FC has established a unique football model. The club prioritises and energetically promotes free play, children’s rights and creativity! The club withdrew from leagues in 2017 and delivers a multifaceted programme of mixed-age football and futsal across multiple settings, including in free community projects. Rovers is four years old this year and has already been rewarded with two County FA Club of the Year awards for its unique football model. The club’s innovative, evidence-based practice has also gained attention nationally and internationally, with its approach being shared on podcasts and in interviews. The club is an activist community. It works to change the grassroots environment for the benefit of kids. In short, Rovers aims to return football to the kids who play the game. To this end, the club has connected with coaches in the UK and abroad to raise important issues about the nature of youth practice and children’s rights at national level: see for example, ‘protection of children in football’ and the club’s recent survey on the mental well-being of volunteers. In 2018, the club launched the #freeplaypledge with coaches nationally and internationally, and from a variety of youth sports, committing to child-led play. Debbie Sayers is the founder, Club Secretary and one of the coaches at Salisbury Rovers. Each week, as a volunteer, she coaches more than 100 children from ages 5 to 16. The coaching includes free play, matches, futsal and football. Debbie has a PhD in human rights law and a commitment to children’s rights lies at the heart of Rovers’ model. .

14.30 – 15.00 Developing Scandinavia’s largest integrated youth football initiative


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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 

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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.

16.00 – 16.15 Conclusion and finish