This is a joint initiative between The Football League and LGcommunications to improve working between Football League clubs and their local authorities.
The Football League is the governing body for all 72 professional football clubs outside the Premier League, and LGcommunications is the representative body for local authority communication teams.
Over the past decade football clubs have significantly improved their offer to the local community. From providing discount tickets to running exercise and education classes for young and old they are seeking to strengthen neighbourhood relations.
Football Clubs have been explicitly structured to enable this to happen. Each Football League club has a separate Community Trust which delivers its local programme. This includes employing and training coaches, education, health and community safety work.
Football clubs want tangible benefits to come from this in terms of healthier local people, children inspired to learn through involvement with their club and ultimately more people watching and supporting their local teams.
We believe that this work can and should be integrated into the campaign work that local authority communications teams undertake. Activities to promote health, improve education and increase participation in sport should benefit the council and the club.
Across the country these programmes are delivering real benefits. Currently there is capacity in many community programmes and we believe that at a time of austerity in public finances there is the potential to develop closer working with local services.
There are three things that we’d like you to consider:
First, if you already working with your local football league club, we’d like to hear about it. In May 2011 LGcomms and the Football League will publish a report on best practice in this area but over the next eight months we are hoping to identify the best relationships and support others to make better use of their local clubs.
Second, if you have experienced difficulties in working with a club, please tell us and we’ll investigate. We want to break down barriers where we can and improve working between club and council.
Third, can we help make an introduction? If you have never considered working with the football club, or feel that it is something your sports or leisure team might do, we’d be happy to make an introduction and arrange a visit to your local clubs.
We recognise that relationships can’t be built overnight but hope that we can start and improve the working relationship between our organisations for the benefit of local people. If you wish to discuss this further, please get in touch.