Shortlist candidate Northampton Town FC Community Trust
Northampton Town Football Club Community Trust was formed in 1994 and became a Charitable Trust in 2001. Their mission is to use the power of sport to create opportunities and improve people’s lives. The club and community trust are passionate about making a positive difference to the health and life chances of people within Northamptonshire so that everyone regardless of age, gender or ethnicity has a better chance of achieving their potential.
The European Football for Development Network (EFDN) is proud to present Northampton Town FC Community Trust and its project, which has been selected for the shortlist of the More than Football Award 2022. Northampton Town FC Community Trust made it to the ‘final four’. The winner receives not only recognition for having implemented the most innovative and impactful Community and Social Responsibility programme in European football, but also wins a complete branded Mini-Pitch System modular sports solution which will be developed in partnership between the winning organisation, EFDN, and sponsor Musco Lighting.
Within just two days of the first lockdown Northampton Town FC Community Trust developed a brand-new project set out to support older fans who may be at risk of loneliness or isolation brought about by COVID and the government lockdowns. They were passionate about making sure their community stayed connected.
The project has now been running for over a year and a half, becoming a key support mechanism for community members throughout three lockdowns and beyond. Initially their small staff team conducted phone call check-ins contacting NTFC fans and season ticket holders, this quickly expanded to also receiving referrals from local community members, other organisations, and social prescribers.
Over 1200 people were contacted. After initial calls, participants were triaged into the level of support they required. The project has included staff and volunteers providing a range of support including befriending phone calls, online quizzes & social groups, pen-pal schemes and socially distanced ‘garden gate’ conversations for those who need this vital support the most. In addition, the community trust were able to use the unique assets of the football club to support older NTFC fans to provide hope, positivity, and cheer via special phone calls from NTFC first team players, chairman and the manager, as well as taking the playoff final trophy out to fans across the community
The project has been a lifeline for many providing regular meaningful contact and check in’s to make sure those most in need are supported. The project has kept people connected and positively improved older adults’ wellbeing and mental health.
“We are all delighted that the club’s work in the community has once again been recognised for the huge difference it makes to the lives of the people of Northamptonshire.”
“I would like to thank all involved for their work and we are very proud of not just the staff involved, but the work they do and those we support. I personally made phone calls during this project, so I know first-hand what people were going through and how this work impacted.”
“As a club we are embedded in the community of Northamptonshire, and it is fantastic to see the work recognised in this way. We are very proud.”Chairman Kelvin Thomas
“We run a wide and varied programme of projects to support the local community and we are very proud of each and every programme, but Tackling Loneliness was something we were particularly passionate about during the lockdowns and the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“I know what a difference the power of the club can make to those who we help but to see that work recognised by an esteemed judging panel is both humbling and rewarding.”
“We don’t carry out this work for the awards, we do what we do to help as many people as possible, but I am delighted for the staff when they are recognised for their work.”Phill Smith, CEO of the Northampton Town FC Community Trust
The project continues to this day with regular phone calls being made. Now that restrictions have eased the key focus is now on supporting older adults to re-integrate within the community helping them to connect with others by providing activities and opportunities for people to get together in person. This includes welcoming many of the regular callers to the football stadium to meet each other face to face too via the Extra Time Hubs project.