Brentford FC Community Sports Trust - Established 1987
Brentford Football in the Community (BFitC) was established in 1987 as part of a joint initiative between Brentford Football Club and two Local Authorities, Ealing (LBE) and Hounslow (LBH). The aim was to create a partnership that fulfilled a number of sport and community activity participation aims for all partners including making the Brentford Football Club stadium more accessible and taking the club out into schools and sports centres to promote junior football sessions.
BFitC became part of the national Football in the Community Programme, developed in 1986 by the Footballers Further Education and Vocational Training Society. Football was in turmoil throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Hooliganism and decaying stadia took the headlines as football crowds declined.
Piloted at five clubs in the North West of England in 1986, by 1992 there were 80 FitC programmes running at professional football clubs. The operation of Saturday morning and holiday camps, match day and birthday parties focused on the provision of organised football activities for children aged 5-14 years. BFitC was innovative from the outset combining the strategic networking power of two London Borough authorities with the brand of a professional football club. The first Brentford Community Officer, Martyn Spong, recruited a group of coaches including many students from nearby Borough Road College. Assistant Community Officer, Lee Doyle, joined Martyn in 1988. The innovative programme received national recognition through The Football Trust National Community Award in season 1990-1991 and the Jewson Family Club of the Year in season 1992-1993.
Positive Futures, Street Soccer & Kickz
From the outset, the BFitC scheme had operated estates based programmes but new approaches to working with young people through a range of sport, art and cultural themes increased the potential to expand. BFitC was successful with an application for a Positive Futures project in partnership with Ealing Council and Ealing Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) in 2003.
With the successful implementation of the Positive Futures project, BFitC was able attract partners interested in contributing to innovative and dynamic ways to tackle problems such as anti-social behaviour and obesity. As a result, within 2 years the Ealing Positive Futures grew from one project targeting 3 wards in Ealing to 4 major youth inclusion programmes, all with their own aims and objectives.
The number of youth inclusion projects managed by Brentford continued to expand. This was emphasised by the introduction of Kickz, a youth inclusion project similar in essence to Positive Futures, but backed financially by the football industry and Metropolitan Police.
Influencing Local Strategy
As understanding of our work increases, so has our influence at the local policy level. We have fed into the local Ealing Play Strategy and the Children and Young Peoples Strategies. We also sit on the Community Sport and Physical Activity Network (CSPAN) board for Ealing, Hounslow, Richmond and are a member of Ealing's Culture and Sport Board.
The Griffin Park Learning Zone
Initiatives such as Playing for Success created educational hubs at sporting venues. BFitC worked in partnership with Jo Emmerson at Hounslow Study Support Service, the Football Foundation and Department for Education and Skills to transform a lounge at the stadium into a fully equipped classroom through the Playing for Success initiative. Core objectives of this initiative are to raise achievement in literacy, numeracy and information communication technology using football and the branding of a professional football club to do so.
Creating a 'Fit for Purpose' Organisation
In October 2005, Brentford Football in the Community became Brentford FC Community Sports Trust (BFCCST). This was a natural progression for the organisation as it sought to provide a stronger legal and business framework opening more opportunities to receive funding including donations. This evolution allowed us to re-brand as we moved away from the old Football in the Community model to a more inclusive organisation that encompasses the delivery of a wide range of sports within different settings but is also immersed in projects away from direct delivery including community development, improving skills, capacity building and regeneration. The strategy within the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust is based on partnerships with the public, private and voluntary sector in the realisation that a programme must be balanced to be sustainable.
'To create exciting, progressive and socially inclusive multi-sports participation, coach education and facility development programmes, enabling participants, coaches and volunteers to realise their potential.'
An indication of the expansion of BFCCST is the increase in full-time staff from 3 in 2003 to over 25 in 2011. The introduction of Planning, Preparation and Assessment time (PPA) for primary school teachers has also aided the development of coaching practices in schools.
A Club & Community Partnership
Brentford Football Club's values can be summarised as 'our club in the heart of our community.' The vision is one of a community owned club who are in touch with and can positively affect the needs of the many surrounding communities.
Over Twenty years of investment in community activities in partnership with key agencies demonstrates that there is a genuine commitment to creating a 'community facing' football club. The club is recognised as a model of good practice through its engagement with surrounding communities and partnership with local business. Awards include the inaugural Football League Community Club of the Year in 2006 & 2009, and 2014 and theFootball League Best Sponsorship Award in 2007 for an innovative alliance with St. George West London Ltd. and recently a GlaxoSmithKline Health Award.
Most recently we were awarded Business in Community 'Community Mark' 2010 which was renewed in 2014.
Click here for a copy of the BFC/TRUST Equality plan.
Click here for a full list of awards.
The Brentford FC Community Sports Trust Team.