In January 33 clubs attended the East Region 2017 Quality Mark Awards evening to celebrate and recognise the good work going at clubs, notably the volunteers, coaches and many staff that year on year continue to develop and contribute to our game. Speaking on behalf of all the East Region Football Development staff, Club Development Manager Gavin Tinley noted the incredible passion and drive within some of the community clubs to develop the game at a local level, from growing the game to developing facility projects. The evening also provided an environment for clubs to network as well as discuss their experiences and best practice. To support bringing some of these stories to life the East Region developed some video case studies.

Within the Walking Football footage is a snapshot of the work that goes on within our Community Clubs and the impact it has on people’s lives whether it be social, health related or just the opportunity that clubs provide within their local community. We sometimes need reminded about the power of football and the role that you and your club volunteers play, as well as the impact they have on their players. Older players always tell the younger ones to play as long as you can, it’s not to win trophies, or that they think that you are talented, or they are concerned about you keeping active as you get older.

It’s about friendship, learning about trust, understanding commitment, developing confidence, learning to be a team player, learning from mistakes, developing motivation, leadership and responsibility, the banter/fun environment, bringing people together, feeling valued. Whatever it means to you there will be a connection or an importance.  

Within the East Region we have provided through Quality Mark clubs support to grow the game across many areas such as walking football which has become part of their player pathway. Last year a focus group was also developed to act as the focal point for this activity, connecting now to the national association Walking Football Scotland. The group is made up of volunteers and players as well as key support around the table from the Scottish FA, local authority trusts, pro clubs, active schools and NHS.

Football for Life is the Scottish FA’s vision and this is documented in more detail within our One National Plan 2017-2020. Community clubs are playing a key role to contributing to our game achieving this along with a partnership approach.