These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

CARE IN THE COMMUNITY

Printed in the programme for the FA Trophy Preliminary Round game v Hillingdon Borough Saturday 6th October 2007. Good cup tie that ended 1-1 in front of 203 people.

With the exciting news of a ground in Slough, everyone at our club knows that too succeed in attracting new supporters and funders we have to be a community club. But what does that mean? Well a good example (or ‘best practice’ in the jargon filled world of today) is Exeter City, the supporters run club with a Trust membership of 2,271 who have just won an award thanks to their community work.

It’s worth remembering that when Exeter fell out of the league into the Conference, they had millions of debt and plonkers like spoon-bender Uri Geller backing them. This man claims all sorts of magical powers but somehow hasn’t the power to make himself a likeable human being. Their chairman and treasurer were eventually sent to gaol for fraud and supporters worked together to sort out the mess. A famous FA Cup draw with Manchester United helped wipe away their debts and the club go from strength to strength.

Away from the pitch they are through to the final of the National Business Corporate Social Responsibility Awards. They won the regional play-offs thanks to the club being owned by its supporters; run for the benefit of its community and the environment, and the way they deal with their customers, suppliers and employees.

So just what do they do? They continue to run their football centre of excellence despite the loss of funding after being relegated from the football league. They are committed to the trainees’ education and welfare through a partnership with Exeter College. They also received national recognition for their work in the ‘Kick it Out’ campaign. They are also committed to the football in the community scheme, with first team players having a contractual obligation to participate in community activities. They also run a ladies team and a centre of excellence for girls.

They have a partnership with Devon County Council, Stagecoach and Wessex Trains to develop a travel plan to encourage fans to attend fixtures using sustainable transport. It includes concessions and information for public transport services, a car share scheme and walk to the game promotions. The club are also working with the city council, the Environment Agency, EDF Energy and South West Water to reduce its carbon footprint and to investigate how it can be more environmentally friendly in all its actions, which also means reduced energy bills, trade waste and water usage. It also has an agreement with it suppliers M&A Environmental to have eco-friendly and bio-degradable materials wherever possible. All the above have since become club sponsors or increased advertising. Meanwhile much of the small scale maintenance and repair work is undertaken by a volunteer workforce of fans organised by the Trust, using resources donated by local businesses.

To offset the potential increased traffic that is caused by their increased gates (which have risen since relegation and the trust takeover), the club has adopted its local train station under the community rail scheme. The train station is right next to the ground and club volunteers help keep it tidy, new train services fit in with kick off times and the station railings have been painted in the red and white of Exeter's strip!

The club is also working with their local Primary Care Trust to help them target male
fans and educate them about testicular cancer and high blood pressure.

The club has also been recognized as being a good employer with low staff turnover, good job satisfaction levels and low absenteeism. The Trust is also keen to hear new ideas from members with a trust proposal form available. Members also get 10% off the clubshop and the bar!

Of course, not all of these practices are relevant to us. But it’s worth taking a look at other clubs to see how they have done it, to steal some of their best ideas, and to help make Slough Town a well supported, well run, successful community football club again!

* The latest issue of the Supporters Direct magazine is always worth taking a look for clubs working in their communities. You can read it on-line at www.supporters-direct.org or ask in the Trust shop if they have any spare copies.

2 Comments:

Blogger Sniffer 72 said...

Hi there,

Thanks for your comment left on my blog about Eastbourne Borough, particularly the tip off about the chip shop!

I like your blog, will put a link to it from my site if that is OK?

You may want to plug my FA Cup blog in the Slough programme? It has already appeared in a few programmes in the FA Cup this season, the more coverage it gets the better. Thanks, Andy

www.roadtowembley.blogspot.com

7:53 pm

 
Anonymous Andy Gillard, Exeter City FC said...

Like the bit about Uri. It firmly puts him in the past. It's annoying how often his name comes up as still linked to the club.

9:56 am

 

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