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Following the success of a 'Female Only' Young Leaders Workshop at the Shrub End Community Centre in Colchester over the summer, Colchester Town FC players Georgie Lilburn and Abbie Wooldridge are about to make their first moves into coaching by working towards the Level One Certificate in Coaching Football later this year.
The original workshop was advertised to local schools and football clubs and was run specifically for the Colchester and Braintree districts as the north east of the County is recognised as a low participation area for female football. Four girls were present from Colchester Town FC and they were very keen to take steps forward in their volunteering after the workshop.
Two of those were Georgie and Abbie and the former has since gone on to assist as a 'Young Leader' at an Essex County FA Summer Camp in Lawford. The FA Football Futures initiative (formerly known as Step into Sport) for Young Leaders aims to develop the next generation of volunteers. The programme enthuses, retains and develops young volunteers regardless of their background, gender or ability and targets emerging individuals aged 14 to 19.
The content at Shrub End was both theoretical and practical, defining the word 'volunteer' as well as introducing participants to the FA Football Futures Programme and how they could help to support the development of girls' football in the area. After watching DVDs and viewing presentations, they got their thinking caps on to design custom warm ups before venturing outside and showing off their skills in a setup of 4v4 pitches whilst also officiating games.
The Essex County Football Association now hope to link the volunteers into girls-only camps, festivals and local clubs within the north east. Plans are afoot to run a similar workshop in the Tendring region at Little Oakley as well as potentially arranging a female-only Junior Football Organisers Course later this year, partly depending on the success of these.
Emma Manning, Female Football Development Officer for Outer Essex, was delighted with the outcomes of all the girls' efforts, saying: "I would like to say a big thank you to all the girls that attended the workshop at Shrub End. They showed enthusiasm to give up their own time to develop their own experience and qualifications and take steps to grow the girls' game."
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