Monday, 11 October 2010

Football in the Community

Written For:-
Chester vs Garforth Town 11th September 2010
Football is often said to be a part of the local community. This is not only because of the proximity of a club to a locality, but also because going to a game is a social event. It provides entertainment to those who have travelled there and is also an opportunity to see old friends or make new ones. Outside of the stadium ‘the football’ is often a topic of conversation at work or on the bus. And, of course, no night would be complete without boring somebody to death about Chester FC at the pub!

With football being such a social sport, it is therefore surprising that the social impact of a football club on a local community is rarely highlighted. A report for Supporters Direct found that for many clubs the charitable arm of the club is seen as secondary to the club’s performance on the pitch, when in reality the social impact a club has on the local community is greater and longer lasting than any cup run can be.

So what is Chester FC doing for the local community? Mark Howell the community officer at Chester FC had this to say: “[The] Seals Foundation is the name that Chester FC operate our community programmes under. At present, this is delivering PHSE courses to year 8's at Blacon High in partnership with Cheshire Fire Service, and we attended the Lache festival in the summer.  
We have an agreement with Danny Jones to work with the local primary schools for us; every Saturday game will see scores of children attend the Deva for free. Danny is very highly thought of within the schools in the area, having carefully built his reputation with the Chester City Centre of Excellence previously.
The Deva Stadium now acts as the hub for local football once again. The Senior and Junior leagues both hold their monthly meetings at the ground, and the Chester and District FA are also holding refereeing courses and first aid courses in our Club. All local cup finals including mini soccer will be held here this year too.
The community partnerships at the Club with Chester & District Housing Trust, BiG Storage, West Cheshire PCT and the continued support of Cheshire West and Chester council and their Sports Team Development team will ensure that we continue to develop and strengthen our community links, continuing to raise the profile of our Club.

[Finally] we are to hold a Poppy Appeal Fundraising Day for the Royal British Legion on November 6th against Mossley. There will be a couple of events to commemorate all those who gave their lives, the Royal British Legion will be collecting and poppies will be available to buy at the Club right through the collecting season. There is also a raffle at the Upton Royal British Legion to win a signed Chester shirt and an adult/child season ticket for the rest of the campaign.”
So what is the ultimate aim of the Seals Foundation?
Our eventual goal would be for Seals Foundation to gain charitable status, with its own staff and base within the ground, working hard to provide our community with social programmes to educate and inform our children and those vulnerable within our community. This really would give our City a football club to be proud of.”

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