This was a first for the club and meant a lot to the young children he’d worked with to see him up on the stage with the Chairman.
From then on, as the new 2014/15 season started, Larkfield ran a Junior Leaders course with the support of Kent FA for 20 youngsters. This gave them a taste of coaching and refereeing in a full day course with the chance to complete four volunteer hours to obtain a certificate.
All the club managers got behind the teenagers and offered to have them helping their teams with coaching; gradually they all completed their hours and were able to add the achievement to their CVs.
Lots of Larkfield’s youngsters then carried on volunteering afterwards and joined the FA Football Futures programme, adding their hours to their rewards total.
There are already six Football Futures members from the club who have reached the first total of 10 hours and one volunteer who is about to hit the 25 hours target.
Larkfield are also supporting nine young people at the club who are attending the upcoming Kent FA Football Futures day at The Abbey School, Faversham to learn about refereeing, coaching, nutrition and psychology.
The club also lead the way by having a pool of 12 young referees who they use for all matches and regularly put two or three teenagers through the course every year. This September Larkfield also has seven girls taking their Mini-Soccer Referees course.
Young Leaders are also used within Larkfield Girls and Ladies. Five have Level 1 Coaching badges helping out at events like the Kent FA’s Goals for Girls tournament and Skill Team sessions in holidays.
As a result of their focus and support of young people, Larkfield have had numerous offers and extra curriculum sessions like Self Defence classes and Dementia Friends projects which are always well supported. Four of the club’s Under 15 Boys recently helped with a Community project with Oakwood Park Grammar School where they spent the day clearing and tidying the sports ground and clubhouse.
In addition, two young coaches also help out Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council with football training at the St James Centre for teenagers.
Club Secretary Sarah M’Graday said; “We like to think if children join Larkfield FC at a young age for the football, they still play football as teenagers but are able to do so much more as well within the club and the community and become the confident, older children that they as youngsters once looked up to.”
“We currently have approximately 30 Young Leaders who do a whole range of different things within the club and this number is continuously growing.”
If you’d like to follow the example of Larkfield and get more young people involved with volunteering at your club, click here to learn more about the Football Futures programme.