Hosted by Sports Coach UK, the showpiece event is seen as one of the most prestigious within the coaching community. Now in its 18th year, it raises the profile of coaches and the role they play in encouraging participation, performance and excellence. Previous winners include some of the most successful coaches from a wide variety of sports.
Sarah M'Grady (centre) is a finalist in the Community Coach of the Year Category alongside coaches in Rowing and Triathlon. This award recognises the outstanding contribution of a volunteer coach to getting more people starting, staying and / or succeeding in sport through excellent coaching.
Sarah has been with Larkfield Football Club for six years. With three sons, two of who play football and one who is a qualified referee, Sarah took on the role as Club Secretary, Treasurer and Website Administrator and in 2013 she started girl’s football for the club from scratch.
Larkfield now has girls, ranging from Under 8s to Under 16s training on a regular basis with eight youth teams entered into the Kent Girls and Ladies league. She works tirelessly ensuring that all the girls get an opportunity to play whether in the league or friendlies with local clubs. Last season a ladies training session was set up and a ladies team is now playing in the adult league with a second team in the pipe line. Sarah was then approached by some mums who wanted to do something whilst their children were training, a ladies walking football session started in July with sixteen mums regularly attending.
Sarah has worked encouraging young people through the coaching and refereeing courses and Larkfield have young Level One coaches and referees. All of the youngsters have signed up to football futures. Sarah worked with the FA and set up a female only mentor’s course which was a huge success. Sarah encourages and supports all her young leaders and is often seen taking them to events. She has also done her coaching, refereeing, and mentoring courses so she can fully support her young leaders. Sarah now also sits on the Kent Girls and Ladies league committee and hopes to replicate her club work through the league.
Sarah’s success has come from her unfailing enthusiasm and the fact she has time for everyone. She promotes all the girls activities via Twitter, Facebook and a new blog that she has set up.
She is even getting her work noticed by the national press as Larkfield Ladies have been filmed recently with Tracey Crouch (Minister for Sport) by Sky sports, for Girls Football Week in September.