During Volunteers' Week, we have spoken to previous McDonalds and FA Grassroots Volunteer of the Year, Chris Brown, about the work he does for his Club and League.
Norfolk FA’s Football Development Officer Anna Larkins spoke to Chris Brown on his roles as a Club Chairman and League Vice Chairman.
Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with Horsford FC, and how that has evolved over the years?
"I started my role at Horsford FC after my friend asked for a hand on a Saturday morning with a new Under 7 side, which led me through the full process. An enjoyable journey which has seen us grow our club, me undertake many different roles (coach, camera man, interviewer, manager, secretary, treasurer, child welfare officer and now chairman) to get a full rounding and understanding of how we can improve our club for as many people as possible.
"We’ve done a good job, plenty of award wins, player progression and new opportunities in football made. I played for the club as a child, and I now volunteer, because I want to give back to my local community and for there o be better facilities and opportunities for the community and future."
How did you then become involved with the Norfolk Combined Youth League, which has led to you becoming Vice Chairman?
"From a league perspective, I got involved at the amalgamation of the three former youth leagues. I expressed an interest as I wanted to see if I could share my learnings from Horsford FC on a wider scale. Initially involved in the league communication strategy, which led to TV and radio appearances for the league, and a growth in teams and clubs joining the league from elsewhere. A few years later and I’m now vice chair of the league, we have a very strong group of volunteers who are very good at the roles they have.
"My role has developed from the creation of U17/18 divisions to keep players in football for longer, to me looking after our development age groups. This has involved devising a new fixture programme for U9-11 teams to ensure a smoother progression into football at U12 and above. I enjoy my role as a league volunteer as it’s so wide ranging, and I get to speak to people in very different positions to find out about their experiences. It’s also a great feeling when you see some really great and tight tables which shows that the work we’ve done has worked!"
Darren Iles, Richard King, Chris Brown and Alfie Hewett
How would you sum up your experiences in volunteering?
“At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better, it’s about what you’ve given back.”
Anna Larkins, Norfolk FA’s Club Development Officer (Clubs and Leagues) said: “Chris is the perfect example of how much impact a volunteer can have on the grassroots game. He is an asset to both his club and league, and we at Norfolk FA are grateful for the time and commitment he puts in to continue improving the game. Chris is very deserving of his Volunteer of the Year Award last season.”