Players celebrate.

Inclusion Advisory Group

The NFA's Inclusion Advisory Group reflects the diversity within the county and it meets formally a minimum of four times each year.

Its role is to support the County FA to deliver our Equality Action Plan. The group has had a pivotal role in developing this Plan and overseeing its on-going delivery and will check and challenge the work of the Association to ensure our policies and procedures are inclusive.

The IAG members are also there to support victims of discrimination and offer advice and support to under-represented groups. 

All our IAG Group members are here to support and advise you if you have any issues and if you would like to contact any of our team or get involved with the group, please do so through Debbie.Preston@NorthantsFA.com 

Contact

Debbie Preston

Football Development Officer

(E) Debbie.Preston@NorthantsFA.com

(T) 01604 678408

meeting minutes

iag members

I work for BT as a Regional Technical Manager in the Security Alarming Industry where I work very closely with Alarm Receiving Centres (ARC) and Installers. I provide technical training and remote service access for the Installers and manage accounts and contracts with ARC’s. 

In January of 2016 I set up a football team called Northants United FC with a couple of others where we wanted to be able to set up a team where all are welcome but with a high interest of getting the BAME players more interested and more involved in a structured club and team, with also another focus to get the young individuals to focus on something more positive and hopefully eliminate any negative involvements relating to drugs or anti-social behaviour. I am also a Level 1 qualified coach where I coached at a youth academy. 

I hope to be able to add value to the IAG board by helping and assisting where possible to ensure inclusion is at the heart of any and every club, with also a scope to raise the awareness of Inclusion across to a broader level.

I am a lecturer in sport studies at the University of Northampton, where I focus my teaching on equalities in sport. I have undertaken lots of research projects related to inequalities in sport, particularly at the grassroots level. I have worked previously with The FA and several County FAs, and have been involved with Kick It Out for many years, most recently as Chair of the KIO Grassroots Guidance Group. 

Football is my passion, formerly as a player, then as a fan and now as a footy Dad. I hope I can bring some of my knowledge of equality issues in grassroots football to the NFA IAG to help the organisation find ways to promote the equality agenda in football across Northamptonshire.

I am a Development Planner by profession. I have been in construction project management a lot longer sandwiched between roles in the voluntary sector and in local government.

As founder and former chair of the Northampton Bangladeshi Association and roles in various other multi-agency community and faith forums, I have supported engagement through sport, particularly football, for over 15 years.  

The beautiful game is a great leveller and I hope to use my contacts and access to communities across Northamptonshire to raise awareness of the IAG and help more people engage with NFA and make it the standard bearer for inclusion and access for all here in our county.

I am a retired priest who has lived and worked, since 1969, in four different communities across Northamptonshire. I qualified as a referee aged 16, was a primary school teacher, then governor, that coached school (including girls’) teams. I have been a local councillor, health authority member and faith leader. I am a football chaplain with strong links across the game. I have chaired the board of a fans owned professional club and led its community department.

My commitment throughout my professional and voluntary life is to encourage participation by those who are, or feel, under-represented. I have a capacity to think strategically and work practically. I support our IAG’s inclusive vision to extend involvement in the game across the County by engaging with those who are able and willing to deliver it.

I am a lecturer in Law and have been lecturing since 2001.  I have taken an active role in furthering the equality agenda and influencing strategy within higher education locally and nationally.  I am also Director and Chair of the Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council and a member of the Athena SWAN panel, judging applications for the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) as well as being invited to be a member of the ECU Athena SWAN working group influencing national equality policy.

Sport has an important part to play in bringing people and communities together and has the potential to make a difference in people’s lives. I hope that through my knowledge and expertise in the equality field I can make a contribution to the work of IAG in promoting equality in football.

I have been involved in sport since I was young and now run my own sport and leisure consultancy, Syzygy Leisure, after many years working in sports development, leisure management and for Sport England.   My main areas of work have been within the fields of equality, safeguarding and facility development.   I worked with the FA to develop their Race Equality training module and have delivered training for many County FA’s as well as their headquarters staff.  

Although I jokingly profess to being allergic to football, I passionately believe in sport being a wonderful tool to community cohesion and that everyone has a sport that they can enjoy.  They just have to find it.  Having been involved in many different sports as a coach, participant, professional and parent I believe that football can learn and benefit from other sports and I believe that my role on IAG is to bring this independent view to the panel to benefit football.

I have worked for Northampton Borough Council for over 25 years in Housing/Homelessness.

Away from work I enjoy supporting Northampton Town FC, my first game being Cobblers v Coventry in the FA Cup 3rd round on Jan 6th 1990. The only reason I attended was because I grew up in Coventry and secretly wanted them to win. That changed the moment Cobblers scored their winning goal, from that moment I felt an absolute connection towards NTFC and their supporters.

I have three sons that have played football from a young age, I have many years of experience watching grassroots football. Something which was noticeable to me was the lack of inclusion from BAME girls/women playing and volunteering in some sort of capacity at grassroots level which is one of the reasons I decided to become the support assistant/organiser/fundraiser for ON Chenecks boy’s football team.  I am also Welfare Officer for the Club. My hobbies include running, I am currently 4 runs off completing my 150th Parkrun (which is a 5k run each Saturday on the Racecourse). 

Inclusion and equal opportunities is something I strive towards not only in football but in life. I have a strong belief that each and every one has something to offer and should be valued. No matter how “small” you may think your offerings are together we can” Make it Big”.

I am an FA qualified referee currently in my 10th season, officiation at Step 4 level (one step away from National League (still referred to as the Vauxhall Conference by those of us who grew up in the Nineties)). I only took up refereeing when I was involved in the running of the Northampton Bangladeshi Association Football League in the mid Noughties, being in charge of appointing referees I was finding it a struggle to get enough cover on a Sunday afternoon so felt if I qualified it would be one less to find.

That league was set up in order to encourage young BAME players to play football in an organised manner as opposed to “jumpers for goalposts” and was a great success for a number of years. As part of my involvement with the IAG that is something I would like to see replicated once again.