BEST CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY SCHEME OR INITIATIVE
o Aston Villa Foundation
Villa Vision is a partnership between the Aston Villa Foundation, Aston University and Essilor, funded by the Premier League, PFA and University.
80% of learning is done with our eyes and Villa Vision is a UK first that sees staff from the Aston Villa Foundation deliver a programme of innovative and exciting football-themed educational lessons using technology, virtual reality and creativity to highlight the importance of eye care and health in inner-city schools in Birmingham.
Alongside driving education and awareness, a qualified optometrist from the Aston Villa Foundation undertakes screening and full eye tests, supported by Aston University optometry students. This volunteering opportunity sees students given a real-life experience supporting education, screening and testing to inner-city children alongside their academic studies.
Screening and testing are done in a mobile testing van fully equipped with the latest equipment and technology courtesy of optics company Essilor. Those children that require them are given two free pairs of glasses to remove any barriers such as cost, with other pupils and parents coming away with a greater understanding about the importance of eye care and links with their local opticians to ensure their most valuable learning tools are cared for in the future.
o Dons Local Action Group (part of the AFC Wimbledon Foundation)
Dons Local Action Group, part of the AFC Wimbledon Foundation, was started in March 2020 by a small group of long-time AFC Wimbledon fans who strongly felt that, as a community club, there was a responsibility to help local people affected by Covid-19.
Since then, an army of over 2,000 registered volunteers has worked tirelessly in the London boroughs of Merton, Wandsworth and Kingston to help people most in need – those falling through the gaps and without access to basics such as food and education.
While the more obvious impacts of Covid e.g. quarantining and lockdowns have lessened; the effects of the pandemic are still creating poverty in our community. Our work is needed as much now as it was at the height of the pandemic.
In 2021, we collected and distributed over £1 62 million worth of goods. This included 555 metric tons of food delivered to individuals, families, food banks, community kitchens and shelters. Our “Keep Kids Connected” campaign through which we collect, refurbish and distribute donated laptops, tablets and PCs, delivered 1,300 devices to under-privileged children when schools were closed due to Covid.
o Hampshire FA
In October 2020, Hampshire FA commenced a commercial partnership with the Havant & East Hants Mind charity (HEH Mind) due to the rising effects of Covid19 and its detrimental impacts on mental health HEH Mind became the ‘Official Charity Partner’ of the association. Hampshire FA already has trained in-house mental health first aiders, however, saw an opportunity to expand on the work to support the wider grassroots football community in Hampshire As part of the partnership, the charity has provided the county FA with a communications plan so that guidance around mental health is extensively promoted alongside football-related content utilising Hampshire FA’s social media channels and website.
The partnership is ongoing but has already produced a number of successful initiatives, including Twitter Q&As to support online discussion about mental health in football, Time to Talk Day 2021 activities to get children thinking and talking about mental health, a World Mental Health Day 2021 Tournament that featured as the focus of two new promotional videos to promote the important role that sport can play in supporting mental health, and a variety of campaigns supporting HEH Mind’s Active Families Project (supporting families in leading a more active lifestyle).
o Scottish Professional Football League Trust
The SPFL Trust uses the unique power of professional football, attachments to local clubs and their inspiring, committed staff to deliver activities which improve the lives of people across Scotland; often those who are hardest to reach.
Christmas can be a magical time for many, for others it can be quite the opposite and so we created Festive Friends.
Delivered in the hearts of communities across Scotland via 41 SPFL clubs, Festive Friends engages socially isolated elderly people at Christmas. Through collaboration with local partners, clubs worked to identify socially isolated, and vulnerable elderly people in their communities.
They are then provided with a Christmas food hamper, treats and games, a wrapped Christmas present or voucher and most importantly – company and conversation.
Engaging local support organisations means clubs signpost beneficiaries for additional and often, much needed support that can benefit them throughout the year.
Over 4500 people benefited from the scheme throughout December 2021 with one man brought to tears having received a gift voucher alongside his Hamper, as it meant he could now buy his wife a Christmas present.
Festive Friends has benefited over 11,000 elderly people across Scotland since 2016.
o Swansea City Football Club
The Boot Room is the idea of Swans fan Carl Bradley, who wanted to help provide football boots for children whose families were unable to afford to kit out their young footballers.
This affects alot of parents when their children are growing out of their shoes so frequently and the price of boots is increasing so regularly. Looking to ensure the community’s young players were not prevented from participating in the game they love due to a lack of equipment, Swansea City and a number of local businesses backed the scheme by acting as drop off points for donated boots.
The initiative to help children and young adults in Swansea and the surrounding community has now been extended to include The Kit Room until 2024.
The Bootroom now has another 7 locations throughout the UK including London, Plymouth and Liverpool and this is all the work of a huge Swans Supporter who just wanted to make football more accessible and make sure there weren’t any barriers for children to have the tools they need to play the game.
o Southampton Football Club
More than one in five people have experienced homophobia or transphobia – with reports revealing incidents of sexual-orientation-based abuse surged by 95% in the 12 months preceding the 20/21 season.
As part of our commitment to ensuring we treat all fans fairly and equally, we needed to do something. We believe that your sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity shouldn’t mean you’re marginalised or excluded from experiencing the joy of supporting our club.
We worked with our kit partner hummel to challenge LGBTQ+ preconceptions and prove there is no place for homophobia in football. We created a manifesto, pledging our support to the LGBTQ+ community. Our men’s and women’s players took to social media to encourage fans to sign their names in support. Fans could purchase limited-edition rainbow shirts and we partnered with graffiti artist Jay Kaes, who created a mural in Southampton to bring the petition to life.
The shirts raised £12,500 for charity. The money went to projects on LGBTQ+ awareness in the community. Off the back of our campaign, the first official LGBTQ+ supporters’ group for Southampton Football Club was formed. Naming themselves the Rainbow Saints, we are proud to see our campaign bringing our fans together.