By Dan Barron, Community Organiser
Rother Phoenix FC has progressed incredibly well over the last few months from non-existent to an ambitious footballing community group. Dan had first spoken to Natasha about a football project for children currently out of education. Tasha was then assistant coach in Kiveton. Due to circumstances could no longer work with the club. Natasha started looking into a community football group for Ferham. In doing so parents and children have followed Tasha’s football sessions to Ferham Park as well as engaging residents.
Natasha had spoken to parents who have said they would follow the project to Ferham because of Natasha’s reputation of putting the welfare of the children first. It only took a week for parents to come forward for potential community leadership roles as well as some volunteers who want to help the project with less responsibility. That is a massive credit to Natasha and her passion to become a coach in football and engage with children in sport. Natasha brings previous footballing and coaching experience enabling the project to begin immediately.
Whilst the group were forming Natasha met with the Sheffield FA and Yorkshire Sport Foundation who have offered support to the project in the future. Every task Natasha and this community football group has been handled by the committee and their volunteers with enthusiasm. They have made amazing progress over the last few months with a huge task of creating processes, establishing the group, and working with partners and the community.
The group have held unofficial training sessions seeing 50 residents attending including up to 30 children attend the sessions as well as parents and guardians. The regular attendees of the football sessions are a diverse group of children from different cultural backgrounds. The sessions are run well and have created a great relationship with the community. Parents have also offered their skills to help with the sessions on Saturdays and you will commonly see parents talking or getting involved. The group strategy is to enter the league next year with the FA, create and develop the football team and be successful in funding the group’s ambitions over the next few years. The most important objective highlighted by the group is that the football sessions and group will always have a focus on the keeping it affordable for families, the children’s happiness and developing their skills.
The group have already had a positive response from local authority to pay for the first-year maintenance of the Ferham Park football pitch. We are currently finalising the details on the group bank account before completing a community leadership application to see if it will be successful. This was made possible by Cllr Ian Jones who has also supported the group in inquiring about Ferham Park’s football pitch.
Recently the group hosted a fancy-dress football session over the Halloween weekend which included fun games for the children to play as well as training. The kids got their own back on the coaches for all the gruelling training sessions by wrapping them in toilet paper to look like mummies. Another well attended training session as well as an extra treat in the form a treat bags for the players and player of the day.
A special mention must be given to an unofficial volunteer Mick of the group who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes with Natasha to get the group to this point. Mick has spoken to councillors, local business and promote the group enabling the group to secure sponsored kits and attract members.
It continues to be an absolute pleasure to work with the Rother Phoenix FC Community group/ football club and their commitment to ensuring families are in a positive healthy environment for developing their skills.