Inclusion Advisory Group

Staffordshire FA were awarded the Foundation Level of the UK National Equality Standard for Sport in 2010. This has since been updated and refreshed in 2015.

In December 2012, The FA Board approved English Football’s Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Plan 2013-2017, which brings together varied stakeholders from across the game with a comprehensive plan to promote inclusion and tackle discrimination in all its forms. 

The plan seeks to address issues such as under representation and encourage greater inclusion across the game.

As part of the Plan, Staffordshire FA has created an Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG) to oversee the wider aspect of Equality in relation to the County FA Business. The IAG will enable Staffordshire FA to consult with diverse communities, and ensure that the services we provide meet any gaps in provision and are relevant to the needs of our local football communities.

The FA’s Anti-Discrimination Action Plan 2013-17 has four key goals which the IAG can help deliver:

  1. Widen football’s talent pool-by recruiting volunteer IAG members to support CFAs develop inclusive county plans, and add capacity to CFA Boards, Councils and Committees
  2. Clarify anti-discrimination regulations and sanctions-by assisting CFAs with raising awareness of the minimum five match ban for abusive or discriminatory behaviour; and mandatory equality education
  3. Instil confidence in reporting discrimination-through raising awareness within the wider football community on how to report discrimination, and advising on tactics to instil confidence in the reporting and disciplinary process
  4. Increase knowledge and awareness-by supporting CFAs with embedding inclusive practices within existing development programmes, and promoting education in equality.

It is paramount that equality and inclusion is incorporated into our project planning, organisation and delivery by our staff to develop football and increase participation. The County Inclusion Strategy aims to promote the Association’s wide ranging equality agenda across the FA’s four strategic goals of Growth and Retention, Better Players, Running the Game and Raising Standards. It outlines the action that the Association take to ensure equality of opportunity for those administering and playing the game.


Meet our Inclusion Advisory Group:

Sam Turner
International Federation of CP Football and CPISRA
Biography: A UEFA B coach, Sam aims to help people fall in love with the game, grow the football family and ensure everyone feels welcome. Sam is passionate about disability football, providing an equal football offer at all levels of the game and provide provision for everyone who wants to play, coach, volunteer, officiate or work in the game.

Sam has previously led at FA Disability Talent Centres and Regional Talent Centres for Partially Sighted and Deaf Futsal, as well as Blind Football. Currently an FA Coach Mentor and a mentor for young people with disabilities, Sam has also developed and delivered professional education and participation programmes in Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism.

Sam is a member of the International Sports Organisations for the Disabled group and also sits on the International Football Federations in Disability football group Para-Football For All.

Operations Manager for IFCPF, Sam offers a vast amount of experience from additional roles such as GB Deaf Football U23s Coach and, Team Manager for the Wales Learning Disability National Team.

Byron Parkes
Engage Communities Coach
Biography: Previously a semi-professional footballer, Byron would love to see more youths involved in the game from various backgrounds at varying levels in order to increase public exposure. Byron believes that with the right mixture of care, guidance, support, feedback and wisdom young people are able to increase self-awareness and be exposed to the opportunities available.

Byron has previously completed work on many youth projects where the use of sport has been the key element of engagement. Most recently, he has worked alongside Stoke City Councils in order to organise and run both the Street Games Teams and TWMAD for people aged 7-20.

Naomi Bird
Insight, Communications & Equalities Manager at Sport Across Staffordshire and Stoke-On-Trent.
Biography: Extremely passionate about creating opportunities for all, Naomi has led on SASSOT’s equality agenda since 2006. Having achieved both Foundation and Preliminary levels for Equality Standard for Sport, Naomi has contributed to shaping the strategic direction for disability sport and physical activity development across the county.

With the aim of supporting football clubs to open their doors to the wider community, Naomi’s previous involvement in programmes such as ACCESS Across Staffordshire and Girls Active brings a host of experience and expertise to the group.

Previously co-ordinating an Equality and Diversity Steering Group and County Disability Forums, Naomi provides great insight into hard to reach groups.

Leila Green

Nicola Mellor
Female Football Co-ordinator at Burton Albion Community Trust
Biography: A Level 2 coach currently overseeing all of the female programmes for people aged 5+, Nicola works within the community to engage more participants into sports through football and other related activities.

With a strong passion for football, Nicola has been involved in sport since the age of 9 and has since gained a Foundation Degree in Sports Development and Coaching. Nicola aims to bring her coaching experience to the group in order to support breaking down barriers and making contact with hard to reach groups. Nicola’s previous experience both as a coach and a player will offer the group insight into barriers that may still exist in sport.

Sarah Minshall
Social Inclusion Officer at Port Vale FC Foundation Trust
Biography: With over 10 years’ experience in the Sport Development sector, Sarah provides the group with insight to multiple areas such as Girls’ and Women’s, Mental Health, and Disability.

Through her current role at Port Vale FC Foundation Trust, Sarah organises and delivers on multiple inclusion programmes that encourage participation in sport and football for all. A Level 2 coach, Sarah works with 8 – 18 year olds from all backgrounds including those with Disabilities and disadvantaged young people.

Gavin Appleby
Chairman at Newcastle Town FC
Biography: As a hard hearing/deaf born lover of the game, Gavin aims to create real opportunities for inclusion through the connection with other key governing bodies and agencies.

A UEFA B coach, Gavin has developed many skills to help shape strategy and develop a good understanding of the issues in and around the game currently and historically. Through his external links, it is hoped that Gavin will provide the group with access to a number of organisations who may be willing to support plans going forward.

Lee Pointon
Team Manager/Coach at Newcastle Town FC
Biography: Passionate about ensuring that all children have an opportunity to play football at any level, Lee is a senior business consultant who has previously built teams against a backdrop of equality and diversity. Lee became involved in the sport because of the impact that it is able to have on individuals and society.

Soccer School Manager at Newcastle Town FC, Lee believes that the foundations for greater participation are available and no special requirements are needed however, he understands that there a number of barriers and is passionate about working on breaking these down.

Mike Cross
Regional Success Manager at Amaven Ltd.
Biography: A Level 2 Coach, Mike has experience in the Talent ID process and has a vision of ‘putting something back into the community.’

With a keen interest in sustainability and growth, Mike aims to share knowledge and learn from other in the group and beyond. With previous experience of implementing an obesity strategy and improving the lives of young children from 5+, it is hoped that Mike will be able to call on his previous experience in order to guide the group forward.


Further information:

Should you be interested becoming a member or learning more about these opportunities, please contact Football Development Officer (Inclusion) via any of the following:
(T): 01785 279835
(M): 07816 536450

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