With our new Community Engagement Manager, Tom Elliott, already in post he took time out answer some questions and to explain to mortoncommunity.net what his role will be, and how he intends to re=establish Morton as a hub of the local community:
Why choose Morton?
I understood how serious Morton Football Community Trust were about appointing their new Community Engagement Manager after my interview with Warren, Crawford and Chris. It was clear that not only did they want to be involved in the local community at the 1st team level but they also wanted to engage with the community at different levels. It is extremely important for me to have the support of both Morton Football Club and Morton Football Community Trust especially in this new venture.
What is your role?
I took up post with Greenock Morton Community Trust on Monday 8th April 2013.
Firstly, in my role I aim to increase the number of opportunities for all children in Inverclyde and surrounding areas not only to become engaged in football but also to encourage active lifestyles and lifelong participation. Retaining their interest in the game as a player, coach, supporter or volunteer will be a big part of the job along with creating a club pathway for boys and girls to follow from two years right through to adulthood.
Secondly, providing work experience and any necessary practical skills to local unemployed young people that will enhance their future job prospects. This involves working closely with SCVO (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation).
Lastly to create a sustainable programme that everyone can enjoy and continue to support.
What is your vision?
To inspire, educate and create a lasting programme that is maintainable for many years to come through a series of new initiatives in the Inverclyde area including:
• Holiday football courses
• Disability programme
• Social inclusion programmes
• Season long coaching programmes for boys and girls
• Match day experience for local youth groups
• Healthy lifestyle initiatives
• Football classes for adults
Will you be hands on or directly managing the programme?
I love getting out and about delivering coaching programmes. I enjoy inspiring the next generation of kids to take up the game, however, a large part of the job will be co-ordinating and managing to ensure that everything is running well and as professionally as it can be. I will when time allows be out delivering coaching sessions but will definitely be visiting many of the football programmes that are running currently.
What do you bring to Greenock Morton Community Trust?
I have a great passion for grassroots football. What l believe is that every boy or girl, no matter what level of ability they have are allowed the opportunity to play every week in an enjoyable environment
I have worked with the best two community football clubs in Scotland. I was instrumental in establishing both of the community activities at Stenhousemuir FC and Falkirk FC and feel that the experience i have gained will help me in my new position.
It is important in my new to be able to communicate effectively with a wide range of clients, colleagues and volunteers and after my work at Falkirk FC where we had fulltime staff along with volunteers, l created a good working environment by showing interest and carefully listening to the needs of all.
I also think it is essential to work well with young players irrespective of their ability and create an enjoyable environment ensuring that the community programmes that are developed in the Inverclyde go from strength to strength.
Is your job to find the next star for Morton FC?
Technically no as it is my job to give boys and girls of all abilities the opportunity to play and enjoy themselves. We will be sitting down soon with the Academy team to speak about recruiting young players. In my experience we will be working with many young players with potential over the next few months/years and we will be putting in place a player recruitment programme, so that if we do identify a talented player they can be recommended to the Academy Dept. We will in the future have many young players with potential and we want them to have the best experience and opportunity with Morton FC.
What Role can the club play in the local community?
I have seen the impact that football clubs can play from my own experience and looking at other Scottish football clubs along with clubs south of the border including Crewe Alexandria, Watford FC, Liverpool FC and Bolton FC. They can play a huge role in the community and can often be the hub of the community. The role of the manager and players cannot be overlooked and many community clubs get great support from them.
I met with Allan Moore, Mark McNally and the players on my first day and Allan – with whom I played as a youngster at Possil YM – mentioned that he is keen to support the community work that the club is getting involved in. I know I have been fortunate that many of the managers I have worked with including, Owen Coyle, John Hughes, Ian McCall, Alex Smith and Steven Presley, have been fantastic with me and supported the work that was being done in the local community, and it is great to know that I will have that same level of support here at Morton.
So there it is. Look out for Tom when he is out and about in the community and keep an eye out here, and on our twitter and facebook pages, for more information about our community courses.
Mon eh Ton.