Liverpool Football Association [FA] has been successfully shortlisted for both the Partnership and Football Development awards at the 2023 County FA Recognition Awards.
The Awards, which will be announced at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Thursday 23 November 2023, recognise and endorse the best projects, products and services delivered by County FAs over the past season while sharing best practice and learnings from around the country.
A record breaking 242 submissions have been entered from the 50 County FAs operating across England, highlighting continuous improvements and showcasing how they are innovating to improve grassroots football and increase participation across all levels of the game.
The twelve categories which will be recognised at the awards were:
- Brand Engagement
- Coach Development
- Employee Wellbeing & Engagement
- Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
- Facility Development
- Football Development
- Positive Football Environment
- Referee Development
- Special recognition
- Women & Girls
- Youth Engagement
Whilst working with Merseyside Police on our Chief Constable and PCC She Inspires Football Programme, the Force were in the midst of launching their new Prevention Model and Department. The aim of this model focus’ upon 4 key areas - Culture Change, Reduced Harm, Reduced Offending and Reducing demand through evidence-based problem-solving approaches.
Having met with Detective Superintendent Helen Bennett, Head of Prevention, through the course of planning for the inaugural She Inspires Programme, she and her team identified that using football would be a catalyst to driving several of their initiatives forward as well as helping them engage with the community.
Our partnership has supported us in expanding our links in the Refugee and Asylum seeker communities across Merseyside, allowing us to provide footballing opportunities to both male and females of all ages.
Our partnership is still in its infancy and the areas/programmes we have detailed in this are only the tip of the iceberg.
Given the number of leagues running duplicate provision on a Sunday in Merseyside, we are faced with low level teams playing in a league with high level teams. This often leads to teams and players at U14 & U15 dropping out of the game as they aren’t playing at a level that suits the individual. With the numbers of teams folding due to his issue it has impacted on us creating a full male player pathway from Youth Football to Adult Football on a Sunday.
The objectives were clear, to save 6 teams from leaving the game and create a competitive opportunity for them to play football against similar ability banded teams and with a more flexible format. The programme was used as safety net and reignite the individual’s passion for the game.
Our initial target was to retain 75 players across the 6 teams, but we exceeded this with 8 teams being involved and 110 male players aged U14/U15 retained. Those retained teams and players are now registered to participate in the Walton & Kirkdale JFL U15/U16 Division in the 2023/24 Season, with this League now having a complete player pathway.
Anthony Smith, Liverpool FA CEO, said: “To hear we’ve been shortlisted in not one, but two categories of the County FA Recognition Awards is a fantastic achievement. It’s a testament to the dedication of our staff, partners, clubs and communities involved in the programmes. We always aspire to be at the forefront of football development and in establishing strong relationships with our local partners for the benefit the grassroots football community.”
The FA’s Head of Operations for Grassroots Football, Tim Foster added: “I’d like to congratulate Liverpool FA in making the final shortlist for the Partnership and Football Development Awards, and all of the other shortlisted County FAs in what has been a record-breaking number of submissions this year.
It has been fantastic to see such a strong selection of programmes and projects entered across the twelve categories, and we look forward to hosting our County FAs at Wembley Stadium in November to thank them for all they do in serving our national game.”
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