Lincolnshire Football Association's Youth Council submitted the Lottie & Larry newsletters into the Youth Engagement category in the County FA Recognition Awards 2023.
The Awards, which will be announced at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Thursday 23rd 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.
So, what exactly was done to try and engage the younger footballing audience in Lincolnshire? And what impact did this have?
There are two main indicators that we used to set up our Lottie and Larry Newsletters. In our first Lincolnshire FA Youth Council meeting in May 2022, we all expressed an interest and concern in younger aged (grassroots) football players and the lack of engagement, voice and interaction they have with the County FA. Through some of our own experiences at that age, as well as through coaching and from having family members at that age, we thought it was important to interact as part of the County FA.
More recently, we have delivered a survey for young people in the county, gathering information and issues young players are having and these themes will be included within our Newsletter.
Through this project, we set out the achieve a better interaction and relationship between 5–11-year-olds and the Lincolnshire Football Association Youth Council.
We wanted to email out an engaging and interactive newsletter bi-monthly, engaging with themes both within and outside of the footballing community. For example, we have based them around the World Cup, back to football, World Day for Cultural Diversity, and Women’s Football, among others, with future editions looking to engage with Black History Month and key safeguarding messages.
The aim is to engage young players but also teach them about key campaigns and topics. We also address safeguarding by using our Lottie and Larry safeguarding mascots within tasks or by having an educational story about Safeguarding scenarios, so the players know what to do in these situations.
We wanted to create a voice for young people and an engagement for players ages 5-11. We wanted to create a new opportunity outside of playing football where the County FA Youth Council can interact. These newsletters allow players to express their thoughts but are educational in a fun way with reading, writing, and improving safeguarding knowledge.
All Youth Council members are involved with the development of each newsletter; however the Media and Marketing Lead is responsible for leading on each one.
Each newsletter has been sent to the Club Secretary of all clubs in Lincolnshire with youth teams, and to date over 25 parents have signed up to receive the newsletter directly.
The newsletters have received fantastic feedback from clubs and parents alike, who are pleased to see the LFA Youth Council engaging with young people in an enjoyable, creative and informative way.
Our next steps are to add more topics though the newsletters and to take them to tournaments and key events to engage with more young people. We aim to utilise our newsletters and safeguarding mascots (Lottie and Larry) to engage with more campaigns and share key safeguarding messaging with young people.
Going forward, we would like to help other County FA Youth Councils to set up their own newsletter and offer ideas and support with them.
Jordan Mason, Football Development Officer (Disability & Inclusion), said: "The Youth Council's bi-monthly newsletters have been a fantastic addition to the County FA Comms, in-line with initiatives and campaigns that the group of young leaders feel strongly about. Entirely planned and developed by the group, Lincolnshire FA are lucky to have such an enthusiastic and dedicated group championing their communications to young people involved in football across Lincolnshire."
To find out more about Lincolnshire FA's Youth Council, click here
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