As we hit the half way mark of our three year business strategy we are delighted to promote and highlight the County successes over the first six months of the 2022/23 season (July to December).
At the start of the season we had the news that our female talent pathway would changed from our Advanced Development Centre to Emerging Talent Centres. In partnership with Argyle Community Trust and Exeter Community Trust we now have three centres based across the County and have increased the numbers accessing the mid opportunity from 52 to 180 players! Of these players involved in the Talent Pathway we have had a large number of international call ups, 5 players representing England schools teams. We have had players called up to the England, Wales and Republic of Ireland U16 level and a further 11 players in various levels of the England Talent Pathway.
To support our commitment to invest £240,000 we launched our new Community Fund. This new fund enabled us to invest £40,000 into 53 different clubs across the County. The various projects included storage containers, building improvements, line markers, respect packages, goalposts and funding towards new teams.
Alongside our invest twenty clubs in Devon have successfully applied to the Football Foundation small grants scheme accessing £71,000 towards £94,000 worth of the projects.
As we continue to prioritise improving grass pitches we have supported clubs to apply for circa £130,000 from the Football Foundation Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund.
To ensure the workforce across the County continues to support the Devon Football Family we have made some additions. Dan Dixon and Nick Garlick have both made a significant impact to game in the Devon since becoming members of the team at the County offices. Through funding from The FA we have been able to recruit Susie Catling and Sarah Smith our new Equal Game Ambassadors. Alongside these positions we have also recruited two new Community Champions, Leigh Brooks for the female game and Lee Ballard for the disability game.
To increase opportunities for all players I Devon we have increase the number of Squad Girls sessions to 7 and retained the 38 Weetabix Wildcat sessions covering the County. We have also been selected to deliver a new FA Pilot, Comet Disability Football Programme for 5-11 year olds with a disability.
We understand there are many games each week that do not have a referee appointed due to the number of officials available, in the first six months of the season we have trained 77 new referees, 7 of these newly qualified referees are female. We have more referee courses planned for the remaining part of the season as we look to continue to increase the number of referees in Devon.
John Street, Chair of our Board of Directors said: "It's great to see the continuing progress being made against some challenging targets set in our 3 year business strategy. Particularly pleasing to me, is the commitment to re-invest in grassroots football across the County, not just in terms of financial support for clubs, but also support for all areas of the game via the appointment of community Ambassadors and Champions."
To view our infographic on all the highlights please click here.