Last Monday, 11 October, we hosted our Black History Month Event at Cheshire FA HQ.
Unfortunately, last year we were not able to hold our annual celebration evening but this year we were back with a bang. We welcomed a variety of people from across the local, regional and national footballing community and were delighted to be joined by a number of fantastic guest speakers from different areas of the game.
The whole evening provided an opportunity to celebrate Black History Month, as well as discuss the different positive contributions with the speakers that we have made in both football and wider society.
First to take to the front of the room was Edleen John. Edleen joined the FA is September 2020 and is The FA’s International, Corporate Affairs and Co-Partner for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Director. Edleen shared a fascinating insight into the FA’s mission to drive forward change. Later in the evening Edleen joined the discussion panel allowing the attendees to put forward their questions.
We were then joined by John Folwell, the FA’s Head of Grassroots Coach Development, who delivered a presentation informing our guests of how his team are serving the Grassroots Coaching Community and creating opportunities for everyone involved in football.
After John, Raj Randhawa (Northern Grassroots Officer for Kick It Out) joined us and discussed the importance of reporting discrimination to ensure action is taken. Raj also shared a powerful insight into what Black History Month means to him.
The evening then provided an opportunity for people to network and share their own personal experiences of the footballing landscape in Cheshire while enjoying some local cuisine provided by Kanya Bistro.
The second half of the event saw a Q&A hosted by Butch Fazal, the FA Coach Inclusion and Diversity Manager, who welcomed former England International, Emile Heskey, who represented his country at four major tournaments and former Barbados International, Emmerson Boyce, who famously captained Wigan on 11 May 2013 to a historic FA Cup win against Manchester City. Both provided fascinating insight and shared experiences of growing up, their playing careers and their current coaching journeys.
The final part of the evening was a panel discussion with Butch, who was joined by Kimiyo Rickett (Cheshire FA, Inclusion Advisory Board Member), Asad Qureshi (Sport England), Edleen John, Dr Colin King and Les Howie, where by members of the audience were able to ask questions and interact with the panel.
Steve Smithies, Cheshire FA CEO, said: “It was a really inspiring evening and Cheshire FA are grateful for all the attendees and wonderful guest speakers.”