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Darwen Girls Youth Onside

Darwen Girls Awarded Lancashire FA Youth Onside Status

Safeguarding Support Officer Paul Smith visits Youth Committee

Congratulations to Darwen Girls FC, who have been awarded with Lancashire FA Youth Onside status!

Paul Smith, our Safeguarding Support Officer, was delighted to attend a meeting of the club's Youth Committee and deliver the award.

This is a framed certificate awarded to any grassroots youth club in the county who can evidence it is actively canvassing the views of the players and acting upon them where appropriate.

Paul asked the girls various questions about their experiences at Darwen Girls, a relatively new female club in East Lancashire set up by husband and wife Matt and Nicola Gregson.

One of the girls told him the club had empowered her to set up a party for the girls with £250 of club funds. She believed she had been given a great deal of autonomy and this highlighted the trust placed in the girls by the club committee.

Others commented on the positivity in the club generated by caring coaches who were supportive in both victory and defeat. There was talk of a great feeling of togetherness between all players and that every player comes off the pitch with smiles on their faces irrespective of results.

Perhaps most importantly of all, the youth committee members felt that having a big say in the operation of their club had positively impacted on other areas of their lives. They are now planning a trip to Holland as a celebration of such a positive season.

Paul said: “I was really struck by just how positive each girls was about the youth committee and the club in general. Having seen their enthusiasm for their work I couldn’t help but reflect that every club should routinely consult its players before considering any new initiatives or implementing any changes. After all, it’s fundamentally their club and their game. If we never ask, how will we know the things that matter most to them? By involving them in the decision-making process, we stand to keep more players in the game for longer, and make that experience all the more positive.”

If you already have youth consultation embedded in your club and have not yet received our Youth Onside award, please contact Paul at paul.smith@lancashirefa.com.

Similarly, if you wish to discuss setting up a committee or questionnaire, please let us know and we can put you in contact with clubs where a youth voice is pivotal to the club’s operations.