Brentford FC Community Sports Trust Wins Silver at the Football Business Awards
At the recent Football Business Awards Brentford FC Community Sports Trust was awarded silver in the Best Covid-19 Community Response – Non-Premier League category.
Launched in 2012 the Football Business Awards celebrate the very best in the football business and attracts over 500 attendees to awards ceremonies each year. The judging panel is made up of Chief Executives of Football Clubs, Professional Football Associations & Grassroots Football Organisations – all individuals whose knowledge, expertise and experience give them special insight into the challenges and demands of football business success.
Brentford FC partnered with Brentford FC CST were shortlisted alongside Rangers Charity Foundation, Port Vale Foundation Trust, Notts County FC, Dons Local Action Group with AFC Wimbledon Foundation, Derby County FC Community Trust, Bristol Rovers FC & Ashton Gate Stadium – Bristol City FC.
The Trust and club both reached out to the Football Business Awards with our #BeeAtHome and #BeeWell campaigns which encouraged both children and adults to stay active at home and look after their mental wellbeing and delivered pizzas to local families in need of a Christmas treat. They also supported the NHS and South Western Railway with their campaigns on how to stay safe and worked with Directors, players, staff and fans to raise money and increase donations for Hounslow Community FoodBox. The Bees supported their fans by calling to check in on them and found innovative ways to allow them to say their goodbyes to Griffin Park and ‘be there’ for those special last moments even when games were behind closed doors. At their new stadium, new fan engagement ideas continue with Virtual Mascots, Buzz at Your Door and more.
#BeeAtHome and #BeeWell
Our award-winning Brentford FC Community Sports Trust launched a #BeeAtHome campaign that encouraged children and adults to stay active within their homes and to stay engaged with the Club. The campaign included Soccercise, yoga and pilates sessions as well as weekly Maths and English challenges, regular Q&A sessions with players and #BeeAtHome activity packs distributed to over 600 local families. Brentford FC Community Sports Trust staff also continued to provide PE lessons in local schools for the children of key workers. In all, over 1,000 children and young people took part in the #BeeatHome online activities. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan commended the campaign saying “the service that Brentford Football Club has provided to the local community through the #BeeatHome campaign has been incredibly valuable”.
The next phase of support now called #BeeWell continues the great work of #BeeAtHome but with a greater focus on providing support for children and adults physical and mental well-being, including a weekly Talk Club for men to provide a supportive environment to encourage discussion about mental wellbeing and projects to encourage young people to write to older Brentford fans who are self-isolating during the pandemic. This campaign has also provided weekly call-ins and online support sessions for young carers and delivered Christmas hampers to recognise the efforts of young carers in Hounslow during this very difficult time for them and their families. BBC London featured this work in a special report.
Support for Hounslow Community FoodBox
Brentford FC has a long-running relationship with Hounslow Community FoodBox and our players regularly visit and provide support, particularly in the run-up to Christmas. When we heard that the number of people being referred this year had increased four-fold, we knew we needed to up our game to really make a difference to their donations. Our players did their bit by helping to pack hampers at our training ground and Brentford FC Lifeline kindly donated £3,000 towards the appeal (money usually spent on a Senior Citizens Christmas Lunch at the Club that couldn’t go ahead this year). In order to make donating as easy as possible, we set up a stall outside Morrisons in Brentford for six days to encourage shoppers to donate what they could. Our Chairman, Directors and even our furry mascots Buzz and Buzzette joined in, together with staff and fans and the response was amazing with over 2,100 items donated as well as £850 to buy critical food and household items for those in need.
Partnering with PizzaSi to deliver festive pizza cheer
In December, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust worked with its partner PizzaSi to deliver more than three hundred pizzas to local families who take part in the Trust’s free weekly sports sessions in some of the most deprived areas in the Hounslow borough.
Supporting the NHS
Brentford FC Club Ambassador Marcus Gayle supported efforts to encourage as many people as possible to have a flu vaccination in order to reduce the impact on already-stretched NHS hospitals.
Supporting South Western Railway
The Club supported South Western Railway with a video from striker Marcus Forss to encourage passengers to wear their face coverings when travelling.
Calls to fans
Directors and staff at Brentford FC have been calling fans on a regular basis during the pandemic as a way of helping to reduce feelings of isolation, particularly among our older fans. Recently, we also extended our calls to those fans who’ve indicated in a recent survey that they wouldn’t feel comfortable coming to any games this season even when restrictions are lifted. Many of these fans are extremely vulnerable themselves or have family members who are and we’ve received a tremendously warm response from many fans who are so grateful to know that the Club appreciates their ongoing support and cares enough to give them a call.
Farewell to Griffin Park…
We knew how important it was for fans to have a chance to say goodbye to our Griffin Park stadium and support the team even when games were being played behind closed doors. We invited Season Ticket Holders to send in a photo of themselves to be displayed at the stadium and gathered over 150 flags from fans to show their support – when the team qualified for the Play-off Final at Wembley, we even took these flags with us to display there!
The Club also organised socially distanced tours of Griffin Park during August to allow fans the opportunity to walk around the stadium for one last time to savour their memories and take photos. More than 3,500 fans visited the ground in what was an emotional time for many – there were lots of tears and fabulous stories from fans who had been coming to the ground for much of their lifetime and we even had one proposal of marriage for one lady keen to take advantage of a final visit to their “happy place” to propose to her boyfriend!
…and hello to Brentford Community Stadium
Our plans for a grand stadium opening at Brentford Community Stadium may be on the backburner for now but we took advantage where we could to welcome fans to our new stadium. We held away match beambacks, ‘visits’ to see seats and two reduced capacity attendance games while restrictions allowed. For our younger fans, we introduced a free Virtual Mascot scheme that allowed them to have their name on the LED screens, photo on our giant scoreboard, a signed team sheet and exclusive video footage of their route to the pitch as if they were there. And our Buzz at your Door scheme saw our furry mascot going out to make home visits to some of our younger fans and those that might be in need of something to cheer them up during lockdown.