Community Day a huge success for Notts County Football Club
Notts County Football club is, on the surface at least, about football and ultimately success on the pitch. However, something many Notts fans are unaware of – myself included until recently, is the huge amount of work that goes on off the pitch within the local community to benefit people from all different walks of life and backgrounds.
An initiative which has now been in existence for 26 years is Notts County’s Football in the Community, a scheme which runs a wide variety of programmes with football at the heart of them in order to make a positive difference to the lives of many. Football in the community looks at four key areas – health, social inclusion, education and sports participation. Using the name and prestige of Notts County alongside the power with which football can bring people together, this registered charity has come up with some innovative and hugely successful schemes over its lifetime to change the lives of so many people within these four areas. The scheme is so successful, it scooped the Football League’s Community Club of the Year award in 2012 – a magnificent achievement!
Every season, Notts County hosts its own community day, where Football in the Community takes centre stage on a selected match day to help raise awareness of the fantastic work carried out by the team at the heart of it. I attended this seasons event, which took place during the fixture with Northampton Town on Saturday 21st November. A lunch was laid on for the guests, ranging from people who’ve benefited from Football in the Community’s work, to people representing local businesses such as myself – hoping to find ways to support and promote this inspirational scheme in any way they can.
As a Notts fan myself, it’s something that lies close to my heart. It was touching to hear from people who take part in the schemes ran by Football in the Community and see the difference it’s made to them as well as many more like them. Our host for most of the lunch was Mr Notts County himself – Colin Slater – who else! Guest speakers included former Notts player Ian Richardson who has won awards for his hard work and dedication for FITC, Nottingham born actress Vicky Mclure and writer Billy Ivory, who not only support the club, but completely back and support the hard work that’s being carried out. I was sat on a table of guests all over the age of 55 and all of whom take part in special sessions for over 55’s organised by the club to keep them active – proving that age is certainly no barrier! Players wore special shirts during their warm up prior to kick off to increase awareness and a good time was had by all in attendance – apart from when it came to the final score but we won’t dwell on that!
In all seriousness though, ultimately the day was all about highlighting the fantastic work carried out all year round by Football in the Community and if nothing else, spread the word to people who previously knew nothing about it in order to potentially increase participation and funding. The hard work carried out by the team is commendable to say the least. Their dedication and expertise is not to be underestimated and if you know someone who wants to get into football, whether that be for health or social reasons, there will be something for them to take part in. To find out more about the various courses and how to get involved in a variety of ways, visit the Notts County Football in the Community website.