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Women and Girls Conference in Northants
 Women's Football News 1 Dec 2012
On Thursday night, the Northamptonshire FA hosted an event for all female teams, clubs and leagues in the county with a view to planning for the future of female football in the county. 
There is no doubt that nationally, this summer has given women's football exposure like never before. Therefore, it was a real privilege to have Rachel Pavlou (National Women's Football Development Manager) in attendance presenting the new National Strategy for Women's Football. She spoke about the main areas for development, including Growth and Commercial Development & Marketing. These are two areas that all clubs, however big or small can have an impact on locally, therefore the importance of this message cascading down the pyramid is crucial.
One of the main reasons for hosting the event was to do some consultation with clubs over the future of the female game in Northamptonshire. We produced a survey a few months ago asking clubs about their experiences and overall, the results were fairly positive but we wanted to get specific feedback about what would make people's football experiences better and easier, from administration to match day experiences. Groups were asked to work together in prioritising 9 key areas for improvement. The leagues and County FA will take this feedback and look at what can be implemented to improve standards.
We were also fortunate to have Ellen White, Team GB, England and Arsenal star in attendance. Ellen worked with a group of girls in identifying all the reasons why girls love to play football. Ellen herself spoke about the life experiences that football has given her and this was reinforced in the diagrams the girls produced.
After a short break, one of our Young leaders, Jack Patmore, presented to the room on his role as his club's press officer. He started running the social media, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Website for his club at the age of 12. Just 3 years on, he is now the club's official Press Officer. His presentation alone was enough to #Inspireageneration
Jack then hosted a Question and Answer session involving, Ellen, Rachel and our Chief Executive, Kevin Shoemake. Many questions were asked about Ellen's career to date, the expectations of women's football going forward, the future of the female game in Northants. Ellen then spent time talking to players and coaches, having pictures and signing various shirts.
One of the ladies players commented: "Just spent an evening listening to Arsenal and England striker Ellen White and wondering quite how brilliant it would be to be a professional footballer. If only I was 20 years younger."
The challenge now is to formulate plans to improve and develop the female game in Northamptonshire. Around 80 people attended the event, which is testament to the support for this within the county. For more information on the event, please contact Kathryn Hall at Kathryn.Hall@Northamptonshirefa.com or on (07930) 137534.

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