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FOUNDATION OF LIGHT
SOCIAL MEDIA

A cause close to many of their hearts. Join our scholars and help make a difference. With every pound donated bein… https://t.co/Tb5nFObViP

Rule the Midfield is our second Position Specific Coaching programme we have for you to try for FREE. Taster sessi… https://t.co/PdceKqZlTM

We all know Christmas is a busy time and after the big day we are often a little tired, apart from the youngsters.… https://t.co/jID4f3w28s

Studies show that 42% of those over the age of 55 are inactive and would like opportunities to meet peers to feel l… https://t.co/HfNsOLFgWQ

To everyone who is taking part in the Reindeer Dash this morning @BridgesSund, we hope you have an amazing morning.… https://t.co/m3YgaTEwZV

Don't forget we have fun activities running in the lead up to Christmas, allowing you to get a few last minute pres… https://t.co/bvBIfpJHhd

"By coming to the @BeaconofLight I have met new friends, done things I thought I would not be able to do & more imp… https://t.co/eb5gzlqlIP

If you are looking for a special gift this Christmas, check out our items we have up for auction. All money raised… https://t.co/QRTK7oXwKV

Earlier this week, it was another victory for girls from St Josephs Catholic Academy in Hebburn. The teenagers won… https://t.co/X3uODjUAxl

We’ve just won the @CIPR_NorthEast #PRideAwards for Low Budget Campaign, for our Give a Quid to Tackle Mental Heal… https://t.co/GihjOo5zgm

Ahead of Foundation matchday next week @SunderlandAFC players and manager are backing our #GiveaQuid campaign to he… https://t.co/kw8r0iXL9H

Take your game to the next level with our NEW Position Specific Coaching. Come along and try two FREE taster sessi… https://t.co/SxHybqtK0r

Studies show that 42% of those over the age of 55 are inactive and would like opportunities to meet peers to feel l… https://t.co/DmiLSs2ae9

Earlier this week pupils from @StJosephsJarrow and participants from @PLCommunities Kicks project all wore… https://t.co/pWquIMezvE

Support your community and join our #FamilyLearners in donating to help combat social isolation, in our #GiveaQuidhttps://t.co/yM75KD2MvM

We can't wait for this! It's a great bit of fun in the run up to Christmas. By taking part you are helping two grea… https://t.co/Zkq1nkbkGy

Yesterday we attended @VenBedeAcademy to deliver a @PLCommunities Kicks session to the girls club. Major Kate Hanna… https://t.co/sp8gSorya2

Help change a life this Christmas by supporting our #GiveaQuid campaign. Social isolation can affect people of all… https://t.co/RhJNZo4tax

Helen appointed FIFA Assistant Referee

Foundation of Light’s Helen Byrne is celebrating after joining a select group of officials on the FIFA Women’s Assistant Referee List for 2018.

Helen, the Foundation’s Premier League Primary Stars Events Coordinator, was nominated by The FA for her hard work and dedication in developing as a match official and high-level displays both at home and abroad.

The former Everton Ladies youngster, who started refereeing as a teenager to earn some extra pocket money, has officiated over 1,000 matches from the English Football League to tournaments in the United States.

“I was 14 and never really thought about refereeing,” she says. “I was playing football for Everton at the time and one of my team-mates was doing her referee course and asked if I would go with her.

“I thought it would be good to do something different in football other than playing.

“My first game was an under 10 girls’ county match in Liverpool. I was so nervous about doing the game and giving decisions. I made quite a few mistakes but it was all a learning curve and by continuing to learn from them has made be a better referee.”

After studying towards her coaching badges and gaining a (BA Hons) Degree in Sports Development, Helen became the youngest female referee to reach Level 3 and has officiated in some of the most important matches in English football.

She adds: “The biggest I’ve been involved in would have to be as assistant referee in the 2017 FA Women’s Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in front of 35,000 people.

“In the men’s it would be the League 2 play-off semi-final second leg between Luton Town and Blackpool which was broadcast live on Sky Sports because of what was riding on the game for both teams.”

Female referees and assistants officiating men’s football is becoming more frequent, with the number of international referees increasing from 26 in 1995 to 350, with 440 assistant referees up from 31 in the same period according to www.youaretheref.com.

Helen says: “We are a minority but there are so many more females becoming referees and progressing through the system which is great. I have had so much support and encouragement from everyone who I have come across within football.

“It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, you just want to be seen as a referee and go and do the best job you can.”

In October last year, Helen received her first nomination to the FIFA Women’s Assistant Referee List, joining Natalie Aspinall, Sian Massey and Lisa Rashid as England’s representatives on the international stage.

Being nominated to the FIFA List was unbelievable and what I’ve worked really hard for. I will be officiating around the world on international games from under 17 to senior level.

I have been lucky enough to be part of a number of games in countries such as America, Denmark, Sweden and Bosnia, which has given me a lot of experience already.

Looking forward my ambition is to officiate at a major FIFA Tournament such as the Women’s World Cup and would love to be promoted to the EFL Select 2 Group List for Championship games.

Helen Byrne, Foundation of Light Premier League Primary Stars Events Coordinator

On and off the field, Helen is a role model and inspiration for the women’s game, both as a referee and at Foundation of Light where she encourages more girls to get involved in football through school programmes, tournaments, workshops and festivals.

Helen says: “Working for the Foundation of Light I can have a real influence on how women and girls get involved with the game which is very rewarding.

“We have an incredibly comprehensive programme which incorporates everything from football-based exercise classes and sessions for those trying football for the first time, through to coaching, officiating and our Girls’ Scholarship programme, which gives talented female players the opportunity to study for A levels whilst representing Sunderland AFC in a national league.

“There has never been a better time for women and girls to get involved in football, there are so many routes and careers available now, and I would encourage anyone thinking of giving the sport a try to do so.”

For more information on the Foundation’s Premier League Girls programme, contact helen.byrne@foundationoflight.co.uk or call 0191 5515309.

8 January 2018

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