In November 2021 we officially launched our new three year strategy, outlining our plans, priorities and commitments across the next 3 years. As we enter 2022, we are delighted to promote and highlight the significant progress we have had over the first 6 months, working towards our key strategic priorities.
As we continue to support the restart of football, clubs and leagues are enjoying their first full season of football in Devon since the 2018/19 season. The Devon Ability Counts League is our county-wide disability league in Devon, and we are delighted to support them, as they hold their first fixtures in two years. This season we have had over 30,000 players register across the male and female affiliated pathways, with our leagues and clubs continuing to adapt to ensure they offer opportunities in the ever-changing landscape of grassroots football.
The Devon FA Advanced Coaching Centre has had extraordinary success this season with international call-ups to both FA and English Schools FA squads. Devon currently have two players in the FA Talent Pathway national camps, and one player who is currently in the England Under 16 squad. Alongside this, the English Schools FA Under 15 squad currently contains two players from our Advanced Coaching Centre who will represent their country in fixtures later this year.
We have supported our clubs and facilities to access funding from the Football Foundation which has seen £141,000 invested into projects, totalling £194,000 in the last 6 months. On top of these projects, a further £107,000 has been successfully awarded to clubs in Devon to improve their pitches over the next 6 years.
Ivybridge Community College are putting the finishing touches to their newly refurbished 3G facility. This Football Foundation facility will see a new state of the art surface for local clubs to enjoy and will see an increase in the match play opportunities at the college.
During the pandemic we were unable to run any of our coaching or referee courses, the latter having a major impact on the number of officials in our game. This season we have already trained 47 new referees and a further 14 have qualified. With further courses planned in the next 6 months, we look forward to welcoming further new officials to the game in Devon.
Our new Devon FA Coaches Academy has already had 130 attendees (both online and in-person) for continual professional development sessions. These have been delivered by both national FA Coach Developers and local coaches which has helped develop grassroots coaches across all ages of the game. For more information on our Coaches Academy please click here.
As a company we are proud that we have obtained the Foundation Level of the Equality Standard for Sport. We are now working towards the next level of the standard to support us delivering on our equality action plan.
Since July, we have welcomed 20 new Council Members. These new Council Members include representatives from our leagues across the County ensuring all our leagues have a voice on our Council. You can read more about our council members here.
In December, we were delighted to appoint our new Chairman, John Street. John will work with Bernard until he officially takes over in June, helping us work towards our FA Code of Governance. He is also leading on the delivery of the strategy and has commented:
“I am delighted at the progress made on delivering the aspirations contained in the 3 year strategy. It’s great to see that football is helping people recover from the difficult time we have all faced over the last 2 years, and long may this continue. In an effort to spread the details of the strategy even further and right across the County, we shall be holding some awareness days, when the team will be looking forward to discussing matters with you further. One thing that is crucial to the strategy, as well as mine and the Board’s aspirations, is finding a way for the voices of our young people to be heard as to how they want the game in Devon to develop. We are working on that now, and hope to release something next month.”