In February 2022, Chinnor Youth Football Club set up the Voice of a Child Youth Committee and we held our first meeting at the start of April. The committee is made up of volunteer players of all ages from different teams across the club. The meetings are led by the Club Chairman, Ben Davies, who is supported at each meeting by the clubs youth liaison officer and a club welfare officer.
We were extremely keen to put this initiative in place at CYFC as we felt it would not only benefit the children but the club too. It would be fair to say that the children arrived at the first meeting a little shy, however this didn’t last many minutes! We explained to the children what the Youth Committee was all about, how proud we all were of them for stepping forward and giving up their time and how important their role was within the club. There was much enthusiasm, which was an absolute delight to see.
The first meeting was all about introducing ourselves and getting to know each other; we played some fun games, had a few sweet treats, talked about what we will do over the coming months and the importance of the children’s role in our club going forward. We talked about the club, the role of the Youth Committee, safeguarding and welfare, future events, budgeting and how the children would be involved... we played a particularly fun game trying to guess the cost of different items – they were pretty good at this but were surprised at the high cost of one or two items!
As we only created our Youth Committee in April, we didn’t have long to start organising our tree planting and celebratory event for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This was a great session and the children learned a lot about organising an event, finding volunteers and financing it within a budget. They enjoyed discussing their views, how to advertise the event and who would be doing what on the day. They left having a much better idea of what happens behind the scenes when an event is organised and the importance of communication within the club and committee.
CYFC feel it is extremely important to listen to young players in the club, to ensure they are heard, to provide a happy environment and to promote growth and development for the children and club. We want to be proactive in ensuring we do this to the best of our ability.
Participation in our Youth Committee will help develop youth leaders who will hopefully continue to be active in our local community and club going forward. It will allow the children to develop new skills over time, such as leadership and problem solving, and will help the club meet their needs and the needs of other club members. We hope the opportunity will give the children a sense of purpose within the club, new experiences, a sense of pride and accountability and help to build their self-esteem and confidence. The aim is for this to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all.
The Youth Committee members will help shape our club and the way it is organised, run and developed going forward. They will be able to pass on feedback from their team peers and opinions and feedback will be taken into account in club decision making. We see this as an extremely positive change at the club, which will provide practical skills and socialisation opportunities, as well as strengthening safeguarding practices by providing the opportunity for any issues or concerns to be shared appropriately.
Safeguarding is a top priority in the club, which is why we have recently recruited two new club welfare officers. The youth forum positively contributes to safeguarding children within the club.
The enthusiasm shown by all the children at the meetings and their eagerness to attend the next meeting feels extremely positive and we are absolutely delighted. We are looking forward to what we can achieve together in the future.
Ben Davies, Chinnor youth Chairman.
I am extremely proud of the hard work around this vital project.
Chinnor Youth Football Club are committed in supporting our young people involved in football.
We continue to build and develop a safer experience for children and young people.
With their feedback and direct involvement, we can provide an open and honest way to continue to learn lessons by listening to the most important people within the club.
Playing football should always be free from the fear of bullying, harassment, discrimination and abuse and we will always seek ways to improve and to keep football at our club safe and fun for all.
Terry Devine, Chinnor youth Executive Chair.