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Steve is extremely passionate about grassroots football and he has an unshakable belief in the positive effect it has on people’s lives, no matter what their role in the sport. He has always played the game but started off in volunteering as a coach at the age of 16. Since then he has tried his best to make a difference, taking on many roles from secretary to referee, and from cleaning toilets to becoming chairman, of his favourite local club. Steve has been the chair of the Sussex Disability Football League since 2018, and is also chair of our Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG).
IAG Deputy Chair
Sharon is the FA Regional Coach development officer in the South East and her role is to support new coaches from under-represented backgrounds to ‘Step over the Sidelines’ and get involved in coaching. Her key focus is to recruit support and deploy more female coaches in to the grassroots game as part of FA Education to ensure courses are accessible and fit for the future. Sharon evolved into football from a teaching background of 25 years where she held the roles’ of Director of Sport and Assistant Head at Bede’s School Sussex. Sharon left teaching to join The FA in 2017 and has now turned her remit to inspiring the next generation of females to get into coaching within the grassroots game. Sharon believes in volunteering and this has led to some invaluable experiences of working with and supporting teachers and coaches in Botswana, Lesotho, Rwanda, Ghana, Trinidad and Tobago in their delivery of PE and football through mentoring and bespoke training and development. Additionally Sharon has also run a Wildcats at Newhaven and coached school teams from under-8 to under-19 in the school sector, as well as being part of the ISFA (independent Schools Football Association) Development Committee and Representative Teams coaching staff at under-16 and under-18. During the Euro’s Sharon led the Euro Legacy Workforce group in recruiting more females into coaching and referring roles within Sussex. This also involved the County FA creating partnerships with Brighton University in providing a female pathway for female coaches alongside a female coach development group. Sharon received the accolade of being listed on the 2022 Kindness & Leadership, 50 Leading Lights UK supported by Britvic in recognition of her transformative approach to leading and supporting positive change within her industry.
With 20 years coaching experience, Jade holds the UEFA C Qualification and is an FA Coach Mentor for Disability. Jade is also Secretary for the Sussex Disability Football League and heads up the Sussex County FA development team. Jade also works as a support worker, helping people with a disability to acquire new life skills. Jade's passion for equality and inclusion has been a constant driving force in every role she has held, including a sports assistant to a Paralympic athlete. Jade believes that football has the power to influence change in society and that the IAG can be the driving force here in Sussex.
Former player and Taekwondo European champion with over 18 years experience in coaching. Pam gained a First-Class degree in Sports Science and MSc in Sports Coaching Science. She then embarked on her coaching qualifications. Pam currently hold a UEFA B License, Youth Module Award and an MSc in Sports Coaching Science. She has worked with number of grassroots football clubs and their community trusts, later becoming an FA Coach Mentor (Disability) and Coach Developer (UEFA C). Pam has also guest lectured at a number of universities on the Principles of Inclusive Sports Coaching, Adapted Physical Activity, Sport and Disability and Contemporary Issues in Disability Sports Coaching and PE. Her particular interests are developing Disability and Women and Girls’ football, as well as anyone working with under-represented groups, who wish to further develop their skills and knowledge and to form relationships with football's key stakeholders. Pam strongly believes that disabled and female coaches should not be restricted to coaching disability or female football and wants to encourage a more integrated approach.
Dr Sophie Cook
Writer, speaker, actor, broadcaster and photographer. LGBT and mental health campaigner. Hon Doctor of Letters. RAF veteran. Self harm and suicide survivor. 13th most influential figure in Brighton, apparently... oh, and transgender. Dr Sophie Cook became the first transgender woman to work in football’s Premier League as club photographer for AFC Bournemouth following her transition from Steve to Sophie in the summer of 2015. Europe’s first trans TV newscaster, Sophie has hosted her own TV and radio chat shows and is an experienced broadcaster. In the 2017 General Election she contested the East Worthing & Shoreham seat, increasing the Labour vote by 114% and narrowly missing out on becoming the UK’s first trans MP. Sophie is a standup comedian, actor and an in-demand public speaker, delivering keynote talks internationally including a TEDx Talk on change, fear, vulnerability, diversity, mental health and LGBT issues. In 2019 as recognition of her work around mental health Sophie was awarded the title of Doctor of Letters honoris causa by Bournemouth University. Sophie was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to LGBT+ Life Award at the 2020 British LGBT Awards and in 2019 was named as the 13th Most Influential Person in Brighton according to the Brighton Power 100. Working with organisations of all sizes, Sophie is honoured to hold the position of Speak Out Champion at the Crown Prosecution Service where she is responsible for improving confidence amongst employees in being able to speak openly about their experiences as part of the CPS’ continued cultural drive to embed EDI within every tier of management across the organisation. Sophie’s published books include her autobiography ‘Not Today: How I Chose Life’ which charts her personal journey from despair to redemption and acts as a self help book for anyone struggling with their mental health and identity, and a series of illustrated volumes that address various forms of bigotry. Sophie is honoured to hold the following positions: Honorary Vice President at Bellevue FC, Ambassador for Kick It Out, Ambassador for the Sussex Disability Football League, Ambassador for Hope Charity Project, Ambassador for Beyond Reflections, Patron of Just A Ball Game, Patron of Proud Cherries, Patron of Space Youth Project, Patron of People’s Pride Southampton, Equality & Diversity Officer Whitehawk FC and member of the Sussex County FA Inclusion Advisory Group.
Sarah currently works at Brighton & Hove Albion as Supporter Services Manager and has many years’ experience working in football, formerly at Birmingham City. Sarah is passionate about Equality, Diversity & Inclusion has helped the Albion with their equality journey to date. She loves to travel in her spare time.
Amy is Head of Training & Wellbeing for Loch Associates Group and leads on the delivery of training and wellbeing services to the firm's clients. Prior to joining Loch, she had a successful career in law for over 15 years, qualifying as a solicitor in 2015. She worked as an Employment Partner for a regional full-service law firm, managed an external HR consultancy and advised on and delivered training to SMEs in a wide range of industries. Amy is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion, having seen, first-hand, the damage discrimination can do through her work advising on the law and HR best practice. She strongly believes education and training are the best starting point. Outside of work, Amy enjoys musical theatre, keeping fit by going for walks and running and spending time with her daughter.