The Referees’ Association this year introduced a number of annual “Community Awards” designed to say thank-you to our hard-pressed volunteers, and also to incentivise and inspire The RA as a whole. 
The Joel Richards Young Volunteer of the Year Award, run under the auspices of the RA-FA Youth Council, went this year to:  Will Briers of Brighton RA.
The RA Community Awards 2019
The independent Judging Panel comprised: 
·       Richard Glynne-Jones
                National Referee Manager at The FA
·       Chris Kavanagh
                Select Group 1 and FIFA Referee
·       David Crick
                RA Representative to The FA
·       Bill Bombroff
                RA Life Member
·       George Lowe
Multi-Channel Communications Officer at The RA
(who judged the “Social and Digital Media Excellence” award only)
·        Administrator of the Year
·        Local RA of the Year
·        County RA of the Year
·        Social and Digital Media Excellence
·        Outstanding Contribution (Over 25)
·        Outstanding Contribution to the Community
1. Administrator of the Year
Nominations:  Ken Leach (North Oxfordshire RA), George Byrne (Bury St. Edmunds RA), Colin Burnikell (Sunderland RA), Martin Atkinson (Nuneaton RA), Barry Howson (Sheffield RA), Albert Asbury (Eastleigh RA), Ryan McIlravey (Bromsgrove RA), Terry Atkins (East Devon RA), Jack Noble (Shrewsbury RA), Richard May (Leeds RA), Alan Owen (RA Life Member/Cannock Chase RA), Andrew Bailey (Basingstoke RA), John Wilson (Driffield and Bridlington RA), Charlie Duggins-Jones (Barking and Dagenham RA), Joe Wrigley (Halstead RA), David Roberts (Harrow RA), Phil Reade (Wolverhampton RA). 
Winner:  David Roberts (Harrow RA)
During his 12 years as Secretary of Harrow RA, David has developed the role well beyond the provision of basic secretarial services. This Local RA has neither a separate Membership Secretary nor a Recruitment and Retention Officer, hence both of these roles also fall to David to carry out, which he does in a most effective manner. In addition, he manages the day-to-day LRA finances in conjunction with the Treasurer who works away from the area. This is a significant undertaking for any Local RA, but all the more impressive when you consider that throughout David’s tenure Harrow RA has been one of the biggest Local Societies in the country, with a commensurately large administration overhead. David was instrumental in securing Harrow RA’s QUEST Bronze Award, which was gained in June 2017.  He communicates frequently with his membership through email, text and updates to Twitter. He also runs a publicity network for the County RA and its three local branches, using the e-mail addresses supplied by his County FA. In liaison with local lead tutors, he uses this network to solicit support from local colleagues to watch and advise trainee referees who are officiating in their first matches. He also uses it extensively to support his County-wide work on recruitment and retention.
2. Local RA of the Year 
Nominations: Sheffield RA, North Oxfordshire RA, Wolverhampton RA, Sunderland RA, Colchester RA, Harrow RA, Barking and Dagenham RA, Scunthorpe RA, Peterborough RA.
Winner:  Barking and Dagenham RA 
This Local RA holds Branch Meetings on two evenings per month, involving guest speakers and quiz nights, plus development evenings hosted by experienced referees. These evenings prove invaluable to their members as they progress through their refereeing career, giving them the opportunity to pick up advice and tips which they can then utilise within the games on which they officiate. With a fantastic range of experience to call on from current referees who are at the top of their game, plus Members of the Society who have been active referees for countless years but who still attend even though their own refereeing careers have sometimes finished, the Society is thriving.  Their Committee make these evenings extremely engaging occasions, even on non-guest nights. Here is a fantastic example of a Local RA which goes the extra mile to support their members.
3. County RA of the Year
Nominations:  Durham CRA, Essex CRA, Hampshire CRA, Worcester CRA.
Winner:  Essex County RA 
This CRA runs one of the biggest County set-ups in the country, and have recently organised their first county-wide Development Day. They work hard to ensure that all of their constituent Local RAs remain up-to-date and operating in the best interests of referee development within their county. Essex CRA is a perfect example of just how successfully RA colleagues can be supported when Local RAs team up together with the single goal of developing their Members.
 4. Social and Digital Media Excellence
Nominations:  Bedfordshire RA, Peterborough RA, Barking and Dagenham RA.
Winner:  Peterborough RA 
This LRA have totally embraced Social Media, and especially Facebook. In just over three years, they have posted 14,000 referee-related photos and close to 600 clips, some of which have also included mini-documentaries. The success of these films has brought close to 1700 likes from 45 countries to their site, which continues to grow each day. These films always show refereeing in a positive light and thereby engage their viewership. As part of their top events, they have broadcast live on Facebook, which allows those further afield to be part of the occasion. This evidences the power that can be harnessed through the use of social media in order to show best practice and relevant content to not only their own members, but also to a wide range of people with a general interest in refereeing.
5. Outstanding Contribution (Over 25)
Nominations:  Robert Windle (Peterborough RA), Phil Reade (Wolverhampton RA), Albert Asbury (Eastleigh RA), John Key (Barkston Ash RA), Craig Pullen (Barking and Dagenham RA), Dave Holmes (Northallerton RA), Roy Cheshire (Eastbourne RA), Dave Field (Sheffield RA).
Winner:  Craig Pullen (Barking and Dagenham RA)
Despite being an extremely active Level 3 referee, this RA member devotes an extraordinary amount of time to both his Local RA and also his County RA. He is the Treasurer of his Society, where his stewardship of the funds has been exemplary for ten years now. This has brought them from a balance of less than £200 to the figure of £1200 which they currently possess. His enthusiasm for refereeing in general and his LRA in particular is second to none. He rarely, if ever, misses a meeting, and he regularly leads on discussions where match clips and debates are involved. He represents his LRA as their delegate to the County RA, and he also represents that County RA on the Council of his County Football Association. He regularly gives of his time both mid-week and on Sundays to go out and watch/mentor new referees, and he is always available to the membership for advice and/or assistance. He set up the LRA’s closed “Whats App” group, which he monitors and administrates. In addition to winning his LRA’s “Member of the Year” award, he has supported and guided members in RA Insurance claims, and even wrote a claim to the County RA Benevolent Fund for a colleague whose first language is not English. Craig is a shining example of an outstanding RA member whose energy, enthusiasm and dedication is second to none.
6. Outstanding Contribution to the Community 
Nominations:  Dave Duffet (Colchester RA), John Key (Barkston Ash RA), Steve Lawrence (Falmouth & Helston RA), Neil Meadows (Bath RA), Robert Windle (Peterborough RA), Craig Pullen (Barking and Dagenham RA).
Winner:  Robert Windle (Peterborough RA)
For 10 years under Robert’s leadership, Peterborough RA has engaged with local schools, providing match officials for their cup finals as well as organising top FIFA/Premier League referees for school visits. These have included Howard Webb, Mark Halsey, Michael Oliver, Jon Moss, Anthony Taylor, Andre Mariner, Kevin Friend, Mike Jones and Chris Kavanagh. They have arranged the opportunity for these top officials to referee local school matches or to visit local primary and secondary schools in the surrounding areas. Due to several successful applications for funding, they have continued to go into local schools to conduct lessons on Sportsmanship, Fair Play, Respect, and the Role of the Match Official. Each primary school child has received a certificate presented by the local Town Mayor. One of Robert’s initiatives was to create a Football Festival where new referees who have recently completed their training course can have a go at refereeing their first matches in a safe and supervised environment, which also helps them to engage with local football teams. Peterborough RA has also aided local clubs by providing a “club assistants evening” to support parents in running the line. To display open recognition of good teams, they present framed certificates at League AGMs to clubs who have shown that they support their local referees. And finally, Peterborough RA under Robert’s stewardship have recently raised a small amount of money for a good cause, which they will shortly be donating to a children's charity. 
 In congratulating this year’s worthy winners, our sincere thanks must also go to the huge army of willing volunteers who are the backbone of the Referees’ Association  -  the efforts of you all are greatly appreciated, so please keep up the good work!

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