Ricky Somal Appointed Chair of Hampshire FA IAG
Following the resignation of Lucy Faulkner as Hampshire FA’s Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG) Chair, Hampshire FA welcomed Ricky Somal to the role this week.
Hampshire FA’s first IAG meeting of the year took place on Tuesday 21 February at Hampshire FA’s HQ in Basingstoke. The first meeting of the year welcomed the appointment of Ricky, an IAG representative with an impressive background in the promotion and delivery of equality and diversity initiatives, programmes and presentations.
The IAG was formed in 2014 and since then has gone on to create a whole business equality action plan which now forms an integral part of Hampshire FA’s current strategic plan in aid of a county-wide approach to delivering equality and inclusion.
The plan supports the existing work and the targets laid out in the ‘English Football Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Plan’ The FA’s LGBT Action Plan, FA National Game strategy and also Hampshire FA’s County Plan. The IAG is made up of several external representatives that form the overall panel as well as Hampshire FA’s own staff.
Ricky, Head of Diversity and Inclusion for the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has also designed a five-point plan (Equality Standard) that aims to integrate diversity and inclusion within each business area of the organisation.
This model has achieved positive and measurable workforce outcomes whilst Ricky has gone on to receive numerous achievements to his name including the Head of Diversity and Inclusion award (2014) and International Diversity Champion Award (Public Sector Organisation) also in 2014.
The IAG meeting at Hampshire FA was also the first meeting with Football Development Manager, Chris Smith, who now oversees the IAG replacing Matthew York who is now Head of Community Cohesion at Pompey in the Community and remains a representative on the group.
The meeting covered Hampshire FA’s equality action plan, looking at a series of desired outcomes and the actions in place to achieve them moving forward.
The group was split up into three smaller groups with each group provided with a section of the equality action plan to review, make informed and effective recommendations where possible and highlighting other areas to achieve the desired outcomes set-out on a long term basis. After much deliberation the group collaborated as a whole and proposed their recommendations to all representatives.
Rocky commented on his appointment as Chair of the Hampshire FA IAG.
“As Chair of the Inclusion Advisory Group at Hampshire FA I am delighted to hear the progress they are making towards their Equality Action Plan. It was great to also deliver the following presentation: ‘Integrating inclusion within a Football Association’ to the group.”
Neil Cassar, Chief Executive of Hampshire FA, said: “We would like to show our sincere appreciation for our outgoing IAG Chair Lucy Faulkner for her commitment, dedication and input in the last few years on Hampshire FA’s IAG and a strong advocate for Hampshire FA’s Equality Action Plan.
“Lucy has a wealth of experience and knowledge which she brought with her to the role as Chair and from Lucy the staff were able to deliver on key objectives outlined in the plan; furthermore Lucy has undertaken commendable roles as Equality Manager at The FA and as Chair of the Professional Game Guidance Group for Kick It Out, football’s organisation for equality and inclusion and so her input has been invaluable for us at county level.
“Hampshire FA has made significant strides in promoting equality and inclusion evidenced in our pledge for the game and this has cascaded from top of the association downwards. We hope to continue to build on the achievements and the legacy which was started by Lucy and the group as it now transitions from one Chair to another.”
At the next meeting of the Hampshire FA IAG, a Kick It Out representative will be present to provide insight to the group from the football organisation that leads on equality and inclusion, and representatives will attend future meetings too.
Kick It Out has supported a number of campaigns in partnership with Hampshire FA and Portsmouth FC already, showing a true collaboration to wave the flag for equality and inclusion and a shared vision to ensure its success.