As Club Development Manager for the Scottish FA West Region, Corrie Campbell is perfectly placed to talk about progress.
Having transitioned from her previous role as Girls’ and Women’s Club Development Officer, she has seen first-hand the evolution of both the girls’ and women’s game in Scotland and a host of community clubs with potential for tremendous social change.
We sat down with Corrie to talk about the impact her roles have had on football within communities.
When did you start working for the Scottish FA?
I started in October 2011 and have been working as a Club Development Manager for about a year and a half now. I worked as a Girls' & Women's Club Development Officer prior to that.
What is a typical day in the life of a Club Development Manager?
It varies. You can work days, evenings and weekends and no day is the same. Generally I will be in the office or meeting local authorities and football development officers during the day, then at night it’s working with club volunteers.
What kind of work do you do with the volunteers?
A lot of it is club support and development – upskilling them, giving them support to grow their clubs’ structures, whether it’s in governance or coach education, by organising workshops to help them with areas such as applying for funding. It’s all about building a club’s structure to cater for their community in an effective way.
My main remit is basically to provide football for all or football for social change. Those are the key areas and once the clubs achieve them, the drive for participation falls into place.
What is the most pleasing aspect of your job?
I would say working with volunteers to make the difference. They give up so much time and it’s really satisfying when you can help support them and see up close the difference they make in their communities.
When I was younger I wasn’t allowed to play football for a boys’ team or school team so I was determined that I was going to make a difference in girls’ and women’s football first of all in whatever capacity. That’s why I love my job. Now it’s not just girls and women’s; it’s everyone in my community. There are a lot of people out there that didn’t get the opportunities. Now we are concentrating on football for all, so that is very pleasing.
What are some of your biggest achievements within the role?
I think our community and legacy clubs are the biggest stand outs. I have supported them to be not just about football. They are a brand within their community and they class themselves as a football family. It is moving to hear the stories and how they change lives. Some of the things the clubs do are remarkable and not just on the pitch – off the pitch as well. Everything they do is geared towards creating better people in the community.
We have projects with clubs that cater for kids with free school meals, so during school holidays they provide football and food. There are also clubs with initiatives that get parents active, even if it is not through football, so they become more active at the same time as their children.
You have a lot of remarkable community clubs in your region. One, Drumchapel United, is a Legacy Quality Mark Club and recently committed to the LGBT Sports Charter. How pleasing is it for you to see clubs under your wing make strides like this?
There is no stopping Drumchapel at the moment. They are becoming so big within their community and being one of the first grassroots clubs to sign up for the charter was unbelievable. They are now a major brand within the community and they want to support everyone.
What was the experience like in your previous role as Girls' & Women's Club Development Officer?
It was fantastic, that was my dream job. When I started there were only 12 girls and women’s teams in the area and no football activity for anyone under 11. Now we have more than 40 teams in clubs in the area, so it has developed so much within a short space of time. It was hard work but it makes a big difference – now a young girl within any local authority will have a club they can play girls football at if they don’t want to play in mixed teams.
How much has girls’ and women’s football progressed since you have been working at the Scottish FA?
The mind-set has changed. From a young age it is natural for a young girl to go and play football as a main sport. Now the priority is to identify other areas we haven’t focused on, such as Walking football and women’s recreation football outside league football.
It has come on a long way in the short time I’ve been working in the Scottish FA. There is a lot of potential for growth. Now the priority is to support the clubs to be able to cater for that growth.