Dates for the Diary
With Armistice Day being on Saturday 11th November, and Remembrance Sunday being on Sunday 12th November, I ask all Suffolk football matches are preceded by a minute of silence across the weekend of 11-12 November. Obviously if clubs/teams wish to hold a minute’s silence outside of that weekend, they would be very welcome too.
Anti-Bullying Week 2023 will take place from Monday 13th – Friday 17th November, starting with Odd Socks Day on Monday 13th November in celebration of what makes us all unique. The theme for this year is ‘Make A Noise About Bullying’.
You can pledge your support for Anti-Bullying Week here.
Rainbow Laces 2023
Suffolk FA will again be supporting the Stonewall Rainbow laces campaign this season, running from Saturday 25th November to Sunday 10th December.
Stonewall has launched its 10th annual Rainbow Laces campaign, urging people ‘keep up’ the progress on LGBTQ+ inclusion within football. Since the colourful campaign began in 2013, more than a million people – from iconic sports stars to grassroots teams – have worn the charity’s rainbow laces in proud support of LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport. Every season we have seen an increase in the number of players, teams, clubs, referee’s and leagues get involved within the grassroots community of Suffolk, and we want this to continue again this year.
If you or your team/club/league would like to get involved please get in contact with Kirsty.Smith@suffolkfa.com and we can look at ways of supporting you with this. Suffolk FA do have a number of physical Rainbow Laces that people can request, these are free – however they will require a postage fee to be paid or collection from Suffolk FA in Stowmarket. We are also able to provide you with some Rainbow themed team sheets, fixture lists and other assets you can use on social media channels, if these are of interest please get in touch with Kirsty.
Referee Coverage and Courses
Although showing signs of improvement in recent weeks having trained 66 new referees already this season, referee coverage has continued to be difficult since the start of the season, especially for Saturday morning youth football. I thank you to the coaches and parent who have stepped in when a referee has not been able to be appointed.
To help us continue to improve coverage, I would be grateful if you could please continue to publicise our referee courses, where possible, with the details of the next course below.
Venue: Walsham-le-Willows Football Club
Dates: Monday 20th November 18:30-21:30, and Sunday 26th November 09:00-17:00
Further details and booking process can be found here.
Suffolk FA Player Support Funds
This season we have three player support funds available.
The Suffolk FA Benevolent Fund
Available for applications on behalf of those who are incurring financial loss as a result of injury from the game. Clubs must have contributed to the Benevolent Fund in either the current or previous season to be eligible for award, with the higher the contribution the greater the potential award. This does not replace Personal Accident Insurance.
Successful award from the Suffolk Benevolent Fund unlocks access to The FA Benevolent Fund.
Further detail regarding the Suffolk FA Benevolent Fund, including application forms (adults and youth), can be found here.
The Suffolk FA Safe Eyewear Fund
Suffolk FA are once again running the Safe Eyewear Fund for the 2023-24 season, available to application on behalf of youth or adult players. Applying clubs must have contributed to the Suffolk FA Benevolent Fund during the previous or current season.
Wearing everyday glasses whilst playing risks injury to either the player or other participants. Within the Laws of the Game, match officials can prevent players wearing glasses from playing if the participants’ glasses are deemed unsafe.
Full eligibility criteria and details of how to apply can be found here.
The Suffolk FA Youth Retention Fund
The fund, launched last season, is to support families who are facing financial challenges, meaning young players are in danger of not being able to play for an affiliated team.
The Youth Retention Fund will support the cost of young players’ club membership fees and other expenses in a bid to prevent children dropping out of football simply because of the cost of playing. Up to £150 is available per child, to a maximum of £500 per club, and applications can be made on behalf of anyone playing in an under 18 age group or below for the 2023-24 season.
For applications to be considered, the club whom an applicant represents will need to have made at least a £10 donation to the Suffolk FA Benevolent Fund for the 2023/24 season.
Full details and an application form can be found here
Disability Training for Clubs
England Football have launched Disability Training For Clubs: Journey To Inclusion – a combined toolkit and training workshop created to encourage more grassroots clubs to open their doors to disabled people. The toolkit takes the form of a simple disability inclusion health check for grassroots clubs by presenting a series of reflective questions shaped around six core pillars for clubs to consider. Working through the health check will help clubs understand their areas of strength as well as those that need development.
Additionally, a training workshop has been developed for clubs that want to further investigate the barriers disabled people face when accessing football or those who simply want some additional support in creating and implementing their action plan.
Both the toolkit and training sign up forms can be accessed by visiting www.englandfootball.com/play/Disability-Football/training. Featuring players from across the England Men’s and Women’s senior teams, para squad players and grassroots players, you can watch the promo video for the training and toolkit here.
To equip coaches to better deliver to players with a disability, we are hosting a free face-to-face ‘Coaching Disabled Footballers’ CPD session on Sunday 3rd December, 09:30-12:00 at Copleston Sports Centre in Ipswich. To secure a place on this season, please book via this link.
England Football Re-Accreditation
The England Football Re-accreditation window is NOW OPEN for the 23-24 season. To stay accredited shows your commitment to making your club the best possible place for everyone to enjoy football.
The window will be open from the 1st November to 10th March 2024 through the club portal. To head for the club portal, please click here.
Please see links below with guides on how to complete this process depending on your club.
1 Star Club – Here
2 & 3 Star Club – Here
Linked Clubs Renewal – Here
If you have any questions about this process, please contact James.Morley@suffolkfa.com.
Sport England Club Matters
Sport England continue to offer free Club Matters webinars and sessions for sports clubs. There are a number of sessions scheduled throughout November, including;
Dealing with Increased Costs – 18:00-19:30 Thursday 9th November
Raising Money to Sustain Your Organisation – 12:00-13:15 Monday 20th November
Exploring Legal Structures – 18:00-20:00 Wednesday 29th November
All Club Matters resources and webinars, including to booking process, is available here.
And finally, it has been a testing last 4-6 weeks particularly due to Storm Babet and Storm Ciarán sweeping through the county. The resilience and resource demonstrated to ensure football participation is safely held has been incredible, because we know these kind of occurrences bring extra pressures such as pitch inspections and extra communication. Thank you for all you and colleagues continue to do to provide football in Suffolk.
Wishing all a more straight-forward time as we head in to the Festive period, with Diwali on Monday 13th November before Hanukkah 7th-15th December and Christmas after that.