We kick off our #KentFAThanksU celebrations with an insight into the mind of an award winning female coach, Parm Gill.
Parm who was named national winner of the Best Inclusive Project Category at the 2017 FA Community Awards, holds many roles at Guru Nanak FC as well as being a member of Kent FA’s Equality Adviser Group.
Parm took time out of her busy schedule and many roles to answer our questions on her volunteering journey.
I cover many roles at Guru Nanak FC including Club Welfare Officer, coach for soccer school aged 5-11 year olds, manager for Under-13 girls, player and centre administrator for the clubs FA Girls Wildcats centre starting this April.
I was trying get back into training after my ankle fracture from netball and whilst jogging around the 500m track around the Guru Nanak ground, I was intrigued how the senior adult team and youth teams trained. I approached the senior coach at the time; started 1 to 1 participating in fitness drills, learning how to kick a ball and from then on, I started reaching out to others who were at the time jogging around the track and with word of mouth, without knowing, numbers started to increase and at that point, I knew exactly what I wanted, to do; start a female section, something the club never had since established in 1965.
Our club was assigned a FA Coach Mentor, Nik Strizovic whom I liaised with, told him about my passion and he pushed me into the right direction. Nik put me in contact with Natalie Curtis from the Kent FA and she assisted me with the promotion through the correct channels reaching out to the community, tackling all age groups by visiting local schools, attending assemblies, social media and word of mouth wherever i went. Before i knew it, it had snowballed which Nik had imagined due to my commitment. By now, I had around 60 girls/ladies wishing to play football. I then presented this to the club committee who supported me and the female section developed from then on.
There was something missing in our community for girls & ladies. I wanted to start football for the females and change the mind-set of our community. Gradually changed by educating them mainly by training on the pitch and showing that football is not just for boys and men but girls and women can participate and enjoy themselves by not only getting fit but learning the wonderful sport and meeting socially. I wanted to showcase the sport along the terms of health and fitness and for all. I wanted to take that huge risk and fulfil my dream by reaching out and showing the Gravesend community that sport can be played regardless of gender, religion, background, ethnicity, race, class, sexuality or age.
I have many great memories from kicking the ball 2 years ago, learning how to play football, playing in the South East Counties Women's Football League to being the first female coach/manager for the club. I have loved meeting people I would never have dreamt of, learning the game and getting a chance to implement the learning and most of all, the fun element that comes with kicking the ball. Watching the players smile, engaging in football, learning new skills and creating the love of football whilst seeing them all develop week after week. We operate as one large inclusive family having fun.
My knowledge of football and confidence level has increased. I can now hold a conversation about football and I look forward to training/matches, having fun, meeting all those involved. Football has boosted my self-esteem for sure.
From my experience and from what I have seen in the past couple of years, the confidence boost someone gets, football helps the youth in schools and reduces the fear of public speaking. Spending time with a child to bring them out of their shell, certainly works wonders. Each individual needs are different and recognising what is required and able to help them is something that I would encourage others to do.
Get involved as you will never know how enjoyable football can be. Not only for yourself but the feeling you get from helping others make a difference and to go away knowing you have done something constructive to someone elses life.
If you’re a member of a local football club or league, then you’ll know how valuable volunteers are.
#KentFAThanksU is your chance to celebrate and show your appreciation for those volunteers that make the game in your area possible for so many. We have launched a toolkit full of useful resources so clubs and leagues can make the most of the campaign by clicking here.
For more details of how your club and league can get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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