Can there be a better ‘community enterprise’ than a football club?

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I’ve spent an interesting morning being introduced to a new fund called ‘Power to Change’, which will see £150 million of Big Lottery money funding community enterprises. The fund is due to open in autumn this year, and the aim is to support local communities working together to make a difference where they live.

A couple of things really struck me. Firstly can there be a better ‘community enterprise’ than a football club? Secondly are football clubs ready to take advantage of a fund seemingly designed for them? My answers for what it’s worth were ‘no’ and ‘not many’. That might sound a bit negative. I don’t think it’s necessarily a reflection of how our clubs are run; at present looking for funding feels a bit like making a cocktail and picking up each ingredient from a different bar. But we need to get real; funders like the Big Lottery are under pressure to deliver something for their money.

Funders will want to see their money is firstly going to something sustainable, and secondly will want to see a clear benefit to the community. With local authority budgets being reduced, and sport often one of the easiest to cut, there is a real opportunity for clubs to get organised and take over the ownership, management and delivery of sporting facilities and services. The F.A. agrees and only recently we’ve seen them suggesting this as a way forward. Yes it’s going to require some planning and proper thought, but get it right and you could end up doing a better job than any local authority ever would. The community will appreciate it and the benefits will follow.

We want to make sure a large chunk of that Big Lottery money finds its way to the most unique community enterprise in your town or village; the Football Club.

If you’d like to explore how your Club can prepare for this fund or need help considering opportunities please drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you james@clubdevelopment.coop

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