Guernsey Football – Stronger Together
The Guernsey FA is pleased to release details of the new strategy for grassroots football in the island, which will guide the actions and focus areas from 2021 until 2024, and beyond.
The strategy, ‘Guernsey Football – Stronger Together’, represents a vision that highlights a commitment from the Guernsey FA to ensure that the sport truly represents the unified, welcoming and accessible game for ALL, and one that is a focal point of positivity across the island. Football, without question, remains an integral part of the fabric of community life in Guernsey, and the aim of this new strategy is to focus on identifying and responding to the new challenges and opportunities within the game and ensure the future is bright for generations to come.
The Guernsey FA recognises that the local club game will always be the heart and soul of the affiliated football in the island, and the quality of support provided to that area of the game, via clubs, referees and Guernsey Football League will not diminish. However, evidence suggests that more and more people are now looking for alternative forms of physical activity - outside traditional 11v11 or 9v9 football – to fit with the changing nature of modern lifestyles. This strategy, and the key focus areas that have been identified, will therefore, see balanced support being given to the traditional game, but also to identifying and establishing alternative formats to retain players in the game, and also see growth in some areas. Those new formats and opportunities will also link with States of Guernsey policy, with the Guernsey FA committed to playing its part in relation to the Guernsey Plan for Sport and also the Children and Young People’s Plan.
Guernsey FA Chief Executive, Gary Roberts commented that:
“Whilst Guernsey is a relatively small community, it is one that is passionate about its football and the power of the game has been evident across the island for many years. Not only does football elicit so many differing passions and opinions, but it also serves to unite the community through shared values and positive experiences. Football has tremendous capacity, power and community reach, including via the strong club network, and wider football community, to promote not only sporting participation, but also the associated physical and mental health benefits.
This strategy – Guernsey Football, Stronger Together - therefore, focusses on five key areas of the game that are recognised as providing either the biggest challenges to the continued success of the game or the biggest opportunities to grow the game for current participants and those generations to come. However, the focus area which is at the heart of this particular strategy is that of the football facilities across the island. Specifically ,the work to ensure these are fit for purpose will be a priority because without quality playing surfaces and supporting facilities, the game simply cannot grow and progress. Throughout this duration of this strategy, and beyond, the Guernsey FA will be focussing time, energy and resources into improving facilities for all participants through different facility based projects.”
In addition to the central focus of football facilities there are other important focus areas, which include participation – both male and female – as this always remains a key focus within the strategy. The Guernsey FA will be working with all stakeholders to meet the goals and objectives that will see more formats and opportunities available to male players and greater accessibility for girls to get involved in the game. In addition, the three other focus areas are the foundations of the game; the grassroots workforce, football environment and business excellence that ensures high quality service and standards, including digital advancements, are consistently provided to the game.
There will be a renewed focus to provide support to the grassroots workforce, which will assist in another focus area, being the football environment. Working together with all stakeholders will help foster the positive environment needed to retain and grow participants. Safeguarding runs throughout this strategy and underpins the work of the Guernsey FA……….in everything we do, we will ensure safeguarding practices and procedures are embedded so the game is fun, safe and enjoyable for ALL.. Finally, the way in which the Guernsey FA operates as a business to serve and support the game will be instrumental in linking the strategy together.
Guernsey FA Chairman, Chris Schofield concluded that:
In order to achieve our strategy aims and objectives it has been important to review our performance against the objectives of the current 2018-2021 strategy. The progress, which has been made across many areas of the game, has had tangible benefits and there have been many success stories and positive changes in the local football community. However, there remain many more opportunities to improve the game locally and, whilst many of these aims go beyond the time period covered by this strategy, we are fully committed to the identified focus areas. I believe that the Association employees, and supporting workforce, who provide such sterling support to the football community, will continue to strive to ensure that in the next four years we have a set of tangible outcomes to focus on and are able to demonstrate our progress across the objectives of this strategy.