MK Dons and Kick It Out showed their support for the Berks and Bucks FA’s brand new grassroots ambassador project at Stadium MK last week.
The launch event was set up by Jonathan Wood, BBFA Innovation Manager, to promote the scheme and provide information to prospective Player Ambassadors about the key aspects of the role, which includes educating local sides on inclusion, as well as actively promoting local and national campaigns in their own club.
In attendance was Dons forward Daniel Powell, who has been a Kick It Out ‘Next 20’ Ambassador for almost three years.
He joined Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, as they offered an insight into their experience educating young people about discrimination.
“It went very well and I think me and Paul got the message across,” Powell said. “It was a positive event.
“It’s important for me because I’ve coached at grassroots level, so when you see local clubs coming out to listen to us, it’s only going to have a positive impact on the amateur game.”
He explained why he felt obliged to continue supporting Kick It Out: “We know discrimination still happens – there’s not as many black managers or Asian footballers as there could be, so we just want everyone to be on a level playing field.”
Mortimer was enthusiastic about the impact the scheme could have.
“If those ambassadors can inspire the players in their side to challenge discrimination, that would be a great start for the pilot,” he said.
“It’s a ripple effect – if you have 10 ambassadors at 10 clubs that may have four or five teams each, the message spreads to officials, parents and the friends of those players, and eventually, everyone involved in grassroots football across the region.”
Wood commented on a successful launch event for BBFA in which a variety of grassroots participants from Milton Keynes expressed an interest in taking part.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” he remarked. “It’s a pilot programme and what we’re looking for are individuals that are going to help us ensure it’s of a high quality, so the feedback we received this evening has all been really positive and the local clubs involved have come up with some excellent suggestions too.”
For further information about being a BBFA Player Ambassador, please contact Jon Wood on 01235 544898 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.