THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING TO “THE VOICE OF THE CHILD
Oxfordshire FA is committed to creating a fun and safe environment for young people to play and most importantly enjoy football and work closely with clubs and leagues to achieve this.
Youth football, as the phrase suggests, is football for youth players which is administered by adults, and not 'adulty' football with youth players! As such we believe it is important that these young people have a say in how THEIR CLUB is run and so we are supporting the “Voice of the Child” initiative. This is where we give young people the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas on how THEIR CLUB is run through things like the youth councils, suggestions boxes, team meetings etc. These ideas can be simple things like choosing their own end of the season event, having a say in kit style as well as feeding back on facilities, training sessions and many more ideas.
By listening to the Voice of the Child not only will players become more involved and feeling a strong bond with THEIR CLUB whilst playing it will hopefully also lead to them staying with the club beyond their playing days and becoming the coaches and committee members of the future.
Commenting on this initiative the OFA Designated Officer Nigel Saverton said “the voice of the child is not only a great way of getting young people fully involved in THEIR CLUB and hopefully staying involved well into the future but equally importantly if they feel they are being listed too they are more likely to share any Safeguarding concerns if they have this sense of support and belonging. It is great to see that a lot of clubs have taken this on board and made sometimes only minor changes that have had made a real difference. For example, one club who received negative comments about the changing rooms replaced all the light bulbs and that made a real positive difference to the players and it can be as simple as that and we (OFA) are really pleased with how many OFA clubs have embraced this initiative”.
2 local clubs, Summertown Stars AFC and Chinnor Youth Football Club have really taken the Voice of the Child to heart and share their experiences. Click here for Summertown’s story and here for Chinnor’s story.
If you would like more information about how your club listens to the Voice of the Child, then please contact your Club Welfare Officer or email firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information on Safeguarding Children then please click here.