Gloucestershire recently played host to a Football Black List celebration event at Ashton Gate – a fantastic evening spent celebrating the Black heroes in the South West.
The Football Black List (FBL) regional celebrations – held across the Country – have been supported exclusively by the Football Association. Each event has seen the FBL team come together with the County FAs in the area, as well as Black community and grassroots leaders, to create something very special.
The events have also featured panels with Black leaders from a range of positions in football. The aim is to shine a spotlight on inspirational figures and highlight the various pathways into working in the game.
The GFA now wants to bring our awards winners to the attention of the wider public as we celebrate Black History Month. First up, we heard from Patrick Williams
, founder of Bristol Inner City Football Academy.
Can you tell us about your experience in Football and the award you have won?
I am truly honoured to have received an award for my long-standing commitment to providing decades-long football service to the community in central Bristol. My journey in football began more than 20 years ago when I recognised the power of this sport to bring people together and make a positive impact in our community and further afield.
Over the years, I have been involved in various aspects of football, from coaching and mentoring young players. This experience has not only allowed me to share my passion for the game but also to witness the transformative power of sports in the lives of individuals and the community as a whole.
The award I received is a testament to the collective effort of all the individuals that I've had the privilege to work with throughout the years with my club Bristol Inner City Football Academy. It recognises the dedication and commitment of everyone involved in promoting football and its values in central Bristol. This award is not just a personal achievement but a recognition of the entire community's dedication to the beautiful game.
I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the players, coaches, volunteers, and community members who have been a part of this incredible journey. Without their support, this award would not have been possible. I look forward to continuing our work in the community, using football as a means to foster unity, sportsmanship, and positive change for many more years to come.
How has football impacted your life?
Football ignited a deep passion within me. It provided me with a sense of purpose and direction, giving me something to be genuinely enthusiastic about. It's not just a game; it's a calling.
Perhaps most importantly, football has given me the opportunity to give back to the community. It's been a platform for me to make a positive impact by providing services, mentorship, and opportunities to others, especially in the context of community service in central Bristol. In summary, football has enriched my life in numerous ways, shaping my character, fostering relationships, and providing a sense of purpose. It's not just a game; it's an integral part of who I am and how I relate to the world around me.
“Celebrating Black History Month encourages inclusivity and diversity. It sends a powerful message that all individuals, regardless of their racial or ethnic background, are valued and their contributions are acknowledged.” – Patrick Williams
Are there any inspirational people that you look up to?
My grandparents, coming from Jamaica and part of the Windrush Generation, hold a special place in my heart as the most inspirational figures in my life. They played an integral role in shaping me as a person during the first 16 years of my life. Their love, guidance, and unwavering support have left an indelible mark on who I am today.
Throughout my formative years, my grandparents were not just caregivers but pillars of strength and wisdom. They shared their life experiences, teaching me valuable lessons about resilience, kindness, and the importance of family. Their stories of hardship and triumph instilled in me a deep appreciation for the values of perseverance and gratitude.
More than anyone else, it was their unconditional love that provided me with a sense of security and self-worth. Their belief in me and their encouragement to pursue my dreams gave me the confidence to strive for my goals.
October is Black History Month. How important is it that we celebrate this campaign?
Celebrating Black History Month in October, or at any other time of the year, is of significant importance for several reasons:
Black History Month is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the immense contributions that Black individuals have made to society in various fields, including science, arts, sports, politics, and civil rights. It acknowledges their achievements and highlights the vital role they've played in shaping history.
It also provides an opportunity for schools, institutions, and communities to teach and learn about the history and culture of the Black community, which is often underrepresented in standard curricula. Celebrating Black History Month encourages inclusivity and diversity. It sends a powerful message that all individuals, regardless of their racial or ethnic background, are valued and their contributions are acknowledged. In doing so, it helps promote unity and understanding among different groups.
In conclusion, celebrating Black History Month is vital in recognising and valuing the contributions, history, and culture of the Black community. It's not just a month of reflection; it's an opportunity for education, dialogue, and progress toward a more equitable and inclusive society.
“The award I received is a testament to the collective effort of all the individuals that I've had the privilege to work with at Bristol Inner City Football Academy. It is not just a personal achievement but a recognition of the entire community's dedication to the beautiful game.” – Patrick Williams
Gloucestershire FA would like to thank Patrick for his passionate, thoughtful responses and for his continued contributions to football in the county.