Lincolnshire FA’s Football Futures programme is currently in transition and under re-structure after a successful 2016-17 season (in regards to leaders engaged). At the forefront of the programme’s re-development is Lincolnshire FA’s Student Management team which is made up of Lincolnshire’s University Football Activators around the county. Below is an update on how the UFA’s are progressing in their respective establishments, thus supporting the Lincolnshire FA’s Football Futures programme to take a different route.
BISHOP GROSSETESTE UNIVERSITY
The 2015-2016 academic year was hugely successful for Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) and September 2016 saw the University Football Activator (UFA) role be introduced to the establishment for the first time.
Firstly, the Men’s Football Society continued its growth over recent years and increased its membership numbers for the second year running. As the former President of the Men’s Football Society, Callum worked hard to reintroduce a second competitive team to participate in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) leagues. The additional team for the 2016-2017 BUCS season has provided twice as many members with the opportunity to represent their university in competitive football fixtures. Furthermore, the Linx5s small-sided football (SSF) competition, delivered by the Lincolnshire FA, has provided individuals with a SSF provision who are new to the format. Not only has the competition increased levels of participation for students at BGU, it has also introduced individuals to an alternative format of football.
At BGU, the impetus is not solely placed on being a player. In conjunction with the University of Lincoln and Lincoln College, aspiring coaches are being introduced to the coaching pathway through subsidised FA Level 1 and FA Futsal Level 1 coaching courses. We already have one student who has received a bursary to complete the new FA Level 2 coaching course and he has been working with the Women’s Football Society in preparation for this. The reintroduction of a Women’s Football Society was another priority for Callum at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. Improving the participation levels women in football has been identified as a priority by BUCS and 25% of each university’s new participants must be female. The uptake has been fantastic and is testament to the society’s committee who have recruited and maintained a good number of members; the members are interested in playing a mix of recreational and competitive football. The competitive team’s first fixture saw them draw with the University of Lincoln in an emphatic 5-5 thriller and the women have participated in the first couple of Lincolnshire Women’s League 5v5 competitions which started on Sunday 22nd of January 2017.
UNIVERSITY OF LINCOLN
Daniel Sheehan (Participation)
At the University of Lincoln, the UFA (Participation), Daniel Sheehan, has introduced a female only Mars Just Play session with the aim being to increase the number of females playing football. So far there has been an increase in numbers compared to last year, however, this remains a priority in line with BUCS KPIs. Furthermore, the university’s first mini-tournament was a Christmas social tournament. There was a large number of male and female participants present and it was beneficial to have a more structured, competitive session in contrast to the Mars Just Play sessions. The University of Lincoln activators engage participants through benefits such as tickets to watch the England Women’s team, free Just Play sessions, pens, water bottles and card holders.
Lauren Comery-Lang (Workforce)
As part of the UFA (Workforce) role, Lauren Comery-Lang is looking to improve the future football workforce through several coaching courses exclusive to the students of the University of Lincoln, Bishop Grosseteste University and Lincoln College. The FA Level 1 coaching course starts this month, aiming to introduce more students to the coaching pathway who can then progress to volunteering within the community and/or assist more experienced coaches at local grassroots clubs. Also, there is a Futsal Level 1 coaching course which begins in April and early uptake looks promising.
Discussions have also taken place regarding the idea of a coaching hub which will offer support for those students who have completed their Level 1 and wish to continue their personal and professional development. The main aims of such coaching hubs are to source placements, support coaches and develop links between the student body and the local community.
Luke Craggs and Millie Bristow
Luke Craggs was selected as the first ever Football Activator at Lincoln College after being recommended by the Lincolnshire FA. Millie Bristow was subsequently chosen to be the female Activator and they have been running a number of different sessions, with a growing number of students, ever since. They were also selected to be a part of the National Student Leadership Committee, a selected panel of 12 students from the 215 Activators across all colleges nationwide, to influence how college football is delivered and developed in the coming years.
One of the main objectives for the Lincoln College Activators was to provide the students who did not get the opportunity to play in the academy a chance to play during their breaks at college. As a result, 2 groups of students now play every Wednesday lunchtime between 12:00-14:00. Secondly, a football provision for females was important to ensure female students had the opportunity to play. Millie identified the need for an alternative football provision for females that differed from the traditional 11v11 format. Thus, a Lincoln College team entered one of the Lincolnshire FA’s Linx5s festivals in which the team came 2nd. Being the team’s first tournament, this was considered to be a huge achievement and signified progression in terms of Women’s Football at the college. Both Luke and Millie’s ideas are underpinned by a commitment to providing an adaptable structure which, when they move on to further studies, will facilitate an easy transition between them and the new Football Activators.