The FA is pleased to announce that the Surrey County FA has achieved the Preliminary Level of the Equality Standard, and were congratulated by the FA Full Council on May 28th 2012 at Wembley Stadium.
FA Chairman David Bernstein presented Surrey County FA Chairman Les Pharo, CEO Ray Ward, County Development Manager Caroline McRoyall and Senior Football Development Officer Paul Jones with the award.
The National Standard for Equality is a nationally recognised framework that assists County FAs with embedding equality at the highest level of their organisation, and communicating and sharing that commitment with its staff and its partners.
It also provides a framework to review how a County FA is organised around equality in relation to its service delivery, workforce, policies, procedures and legal compliance against the backdrop of the National Game Strategy’s four strategic goals and three enablers.
On notification of the award, Surrey County FA CEO Ray Ward said: “This is a great achievement for the Surrey County FA and testament to the hard work of our staff and support of our Board. We achieved the Foundation Level of the Standard in November 2009 and immediately started to attain the Preliminary Level; to be the first County FA in England to achieve this level is especially pleasing and supports our County vision of Football for All.
"I would especially like to thank the following for their involvement; Caroline McRoyall, County Development Manager, Oliver Selfe, Football Development Manager at British Universities and College Sport, who started us on the process while in our employment; Paul Jones, Senior Football Development Officer, and Les Pharo, Chairman and Equality Lead.”
Meanwhile Kelly Simmons, Head of National Game, said: “I congratulate Surrey County FA on being the first County FA to achieve the Preliminary Level of the Equality Standard for Sport and recognise their excellent work in the field of equality and diversity. They are certainly leading the way, and their achievement is a beacon of good practice in this area, which should encourage other County FAs to follow.”
Some of the key areas of work we have engaged in to achieve this award are:
• A well established Equality Forum in place since 2008, with sub groups for Race/ Religion, Disability and Gender (incorporating LGBT). An Equality Seminar was held in December 2011 to finalise action plans for each group.
• Epsom Community Festival – a small sided tournament run in July 2011 targeting Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) groups that currently do not play league football. Leaflets were translated to encourage the Portuguese community to get involved. The event will run again this year on 30th June to coincide with the refurbishment of Court Recreation Ground from a sand-dressed to a 3G surface.
• Veterans Football promotion – Whilst Vets football has be running for a long time in Surrey, its promotion had not been high on our agenda. As a result, we established a separate section on the website for promotion, created specific press releases and radio adverts highlighting players up to the age of 60 competing, and got funding through Free Sport London to run specific Vets Football sessions in Sutton.
• Worked in partnership with the Surrey Youth Service to run Referee courses for young people not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET).
•Increased the number of Disability teams across the County each year, targeting areas where there is a lack of provision. The County Disability League provides for three age groups - Under-13s, Under-16s and Adults, with 33 teams participating every month.
• Our Get into Football Officer has been running sessions for the BME community, establishing a partnership with the Zesh Rehman Foundation and football charity Street League as well as sessions specific to females through Sportivate Funding.
• Set up Just Play centre in Sheerwater, Woking, an area of deprivation, and in October 2011 delivered sessions with a coach from the Safer Neighbourhood team. 18 people regularly attend and two participants will be supported to gain coaching qualifications and run the sessions themselves with support from the local Youth Worker.
• Establishing links with LGBT communities with staff attending training sessions and meeting organisations such as Pride Sports, Stonewall FC (a gay football team based in London), and the Gay Football Supporters Network.
• Annually support the Surrey Youth Games, running football competitions for Pan disability groups and girls.