This week, we spoke to Jon Holloway – the Head of the hugely successful Swindon Town Football in the Community Trust. We talk trust tactics, participation, inclusion and all things junior sport.
The idea behind all of our articles is to give you a chance to hear from your peers & share best practise and new ideas – something that Jon has in plenty.
We started off by asking Jon, where did it all begin!?
‘The Trust was originally formed in 1991. Following this, a raft of former Swindon players helped to push the trust forward with their roles as community managers.
In 2007, we became an independent Charitable Trust which delivers under the umbrella of the Football League Trust, along with 72 other professional clubs across the country.’
So, we all know Swindon is famous for roundabouts and perhaps some of us know the club from Paulo Di Canio’s managerial reign there, but what is the trust most well known for!?
‘The Trust is most famous for over 25 years of continued delivery of community programmes and projects that we offer around Swindon and the surrounding areas. These programmes are all about delivering engagement, participation and achievement. We currently have over 3000 people taking part in these activities and projects on a weekly basis!
The Community Trust, and what we offer, is very special because of the impact that we have on so many of our participants. From our youngest toddlers taking their first steps in football, to retired elderly men and women keeping active by taking part in weekly sports. Our sessions cater for all ages and abilities, with a diverse variety of programmes. There is something for everyone at Football in the Community, and this is what makes what we do so unique and special.’
This unique quality and aspiration to drive participation is something that Jon and the team work very hard to deliver.
‘On behalf of Swindon Town FC, the Community Trust engages with thousands of participants from the local community, whilst looking to increase the allegiance between them and their local professional football club.
We currently have over 25 different projects that deliver activities on a weekly basis, including After School Clubs, Soccer Centres, Early Years Football, In Schools Coaching, Boys and Girls Centres for Excellence, an extensive Disability Programme, Extra Time Sessions, Walking Football, Football Education Programme, and Football Fans in Training.’
Here at CAP2, we know just how much an online presence is important in today’s sports course world, with hundreds of our customers taking social media by the scruff of the neck. Jon believes the continued success of the trust is only aided by their large amount of online content. ‘Currently we have a website for the Trust www.stfitc.co.uk which we are in the realms of refreshing, and we also promote through Facebook and a Twitter Page. These are updated daily with items of interest, things to look forward to or advertisements for future courses, sessions or events.
We promote our activities through the local press, and use flyers and posters which are distributed around the local area and schools, as well as posting on our social media outlets. Free initiatives, such as In Schools Coaching or Taster Sessions are also a good practical way of attracting new participants.’
With so many thousands of participants, the trust is now looking for new horizons, with some exciting developments in store. Our final question to Jon; what does the future hold for Swindon’s Football in the Community Trust?
‘We’re going through planning permission to build a state of the art Community Club Hub Facility with 3G pitch on the County Ground Extension, adjacent to the Football Club. This has been a long term aspiration for the Trust and this would allow us to have a fantastic new facility in the heart of Swindon, where we can further enhance and develop opportunities.’
It’s clearly a hugely exciting time for the trust. We hope that hearing from Jon has given you some food for thought on your own sports courses. We’d like to thank Jon for his time and wish STFC FITC all the best for the future.
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