How data inputting and conforming to changing NHS guidelines meant I could help keep grassroots football going

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Grace Etheredge talks about volunteering in data science to support her law degree

Leckhampton Rovers Football Club is a grassroots football club for children aged 5 – 18 and adults. The Club has over 30 teams, each with over 11 members. During the pandemic I took on the responsibility of ensuring data collection adhered to new Covid-19 rules.

I set up a system to manage the submission of each team’s attendance and sanitation data, in line with Government and NHS Guidance. This information was gathered so that, in the event of a Covid case being reported, teams would be able to identify possible contacts and seek medical advice.

I kept up to date with the changes in Government guidance on Covid and managed the designated email address for such submissions, logging the information on a spreadsheet, in accordance with GDPR.

In the event of a Covid case being reported, I would correspond with coaches and parents to inform them of the Government guidance, explore possible responses, and point them in the direction of medical help or equipment.

My volunteering directly assisted the organisation as it meant that the Club’s trustees and coaches could resume their roles, safe in the knowledge that I was monitoring their compliance with FA and Government guidelines.

This had a crucial impact on the Club as it meant that the coaches had a clear and centralised contact for any Covid-related issue, they could concentrate on playing football, and the hundreds of children could return to their training sessions and matches. This was especially important when restrictions meant that organised sport was the only sport some children could engage in.

The skills I have developed assist me in my work as a law student. This is because of the continued importance of self-discipline and attention to detail.I improved my time management skills as I balanced these responsibilities alongside my university work and other extra-curricular commitments. I developed the confidence to email coaches and inform them that they needed to get better at complying with the Club’s procedures. The experience has been particularly useful in my developing career as a barrister when communication, time management and self-motivation are key.

When I received a call from a coach regarding a Covid-contact, I learnt to remain calm under pressure, ask questions to ascertain the key information, and draw upon the most relevant Government guidance. I became adept at typing this up in a succinct way and highlighting the crucial sources.

Grassroots football is very important to my family and community, and it was very rewarding to be able to support its revival throughout the pandemic.

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