SUFFOLK FA added a new twist to engaging with their referees during lockdown.
Coffee Morning sessions have been a regular activity offered by the Suffolk FA Referees’ Department throughout the lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Suffolk FA also recently launched Lockdown Lingo, where referees are paired with a new partner each week who they haven’t spoken to for a while or, indeed, someone new.
Both activities have helped to bring the referees together and have benefited their wellbeing.
Tuesday’s ‘Coffee Morning’ session was moved to the evening so that referees could meet online before, at half time and after Ipswich Town’s Sky Bet League One match at home to Sunderland, discussing the key incidents and sharing best practice techniques they had witnessed.
The weekly Coffee Morning sessions have proved popular with referees across the county, with Tuesday evening’s especially so for Isabel Chaplin.
The 20-year-old has been self-isolating in her bedroom since last Friday and had not seen anyone.
She said: “It has been really good and has provided an escape for me to talk about football.
“It has been enjoyable getting to speak to new people through both the Coffee Morning sessions and the Lockdown Lingo.
“The sessions have helped me to think about when we can get back to playing football and how enjoyable it will be.”
Seventeen-year-old Ollie Langer, who has taken part in all the Coffee Morning sessions, said: “I am studying for three ‘A’ Levels and it is quite stressful.
“I am starting at 9am and finishing around 5.30pm-6pm in the evenings, so to come on a Zoom call and talk to other referees and have some fun playing games and taking part in quizzes has been really good for me.”
Geoff Grimwood added: “The meetings are always enjoyable and friendly and I would recommend that other officials join in.”
Suffolk FA Referee Development Officer Ian Atkins said: “The wellbeing of Suffolk match officials is of paramount importance to us.
“We are pleased that we are able to facilitate sessions which are providing a platform for referees to stay connected to the wider workforce while grassroots football is not currently permitted.”
The weekly Coffee Morning sessions remain open to all Suffolk officials, with the registration form for Lockdown Lingo available by clicking here
Pictured above are Suffolk referees Stephen Baldock, Bradley Mingay, Mark Ames and Kevin Harrington.
Suffolk referees have got the lingo