Kick It Out support launch of Berks and Bucks FA grassroots equality project
Kick It Out were in attendance to support the launch of Berks and Bucks Football Association’s (BBFA) brand new grassroots ambassador project for the Milton Keynes area at Stadium MK on Wednesday (22 February).
The new pilot scheme was inspired by Kick It Out’s own ‘Next 20’ Ambassador programme, which sees 20 players from across the Premier League, English Football League and Women’s Super League promote the organisation’s key messages of equality and inclusion in schools across the country.
The launch event was set up by Jon Wood, BBFA Innovation Manager, to promote the scheme and provide information to prospective Player Ambassadors about the key aspects of the role, which includes educating local sides on inclusion, as well as actively promoting local and national campaigns in their own club.
Also in attendance was Dons forward Daniel Powell, who has been a Kick It Out ‘Next 20’ Ambassador for almost three years.
He joined Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, as they offered an insight into their experience educating young people about discrimination.
“It went very well – I think me and Paul got the message across and it was a positive event,” Daniel said. “It’s important for me because I also coached at grassroots level, so when you see local clubs coming out to listen to us, it’s only going to have a positive impact on the amateur game.”
He explained why he felt obliged to continue supporting Kick It Out: “We know discrimination still happens – there’s not as many black managers or Asian footballers as there could be, so we just want everyone to be on a level playing field.”
Paul was enthusiastic about the impact the scheme could have.
“If those ambassadors can inspire the players in their side to challenge discrimination, that would be a great start for the pilot,” he said. “It’s a ripple effect – if you have 10 ambassadors at 10 clubs that may have four or five teams each, the message spreads to officials, parents and the friends of those players, and eventually, everyone involved in grassroots football across the region.”
Jon commented on a successful launch event for BBFA in which a variety of grassroots participants from Milton Keynes expressed an interest in taking part.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” he remarked. “It’s a pilot programme and what we’re looking for are individuals that are going to help us ensure it’s of a high quality, so the feedback we received this evening has all been really positive and the local clubs involved have come up with some excellent suggestions too.”
Jon praised Kick It Out for their support in developing the project: “It’s been crucial. Throughout the process Paul’s been an important sounding board because much of the key elements of ‘Next 20’ programme are transferable. It’s been great to learn from him what has worked and where there are areas for improvement.”
For further information about being a BBFA Player Ambassador, please contact Jon Wood on 01235 544898 or email Jonathan.Wood@berks-bucksfa.com.