AGE UK Worcester and District and Worcester City Football Club have agreed a partnership for the 2018/2019 season, to help older people reconnect with Worcester City Football Club.
The Fans for Diversity campaign; run by The Football Supporters’ Federation and Kick It Out is helping the football club and the charity to provide transport to the club’s home fixtures in Bromsgrove. There will also be a consultation with older people to find out what else the club can do to make supporting City more accessible. A number of events are also planned with partner organisations including Worcester City FC Supporters Trust, who are also working with the club on the partnership .
Steve Goode, Worcester City Football Club Chairman, said “We’re looking at helping to reduce loneliness and isolation as well as tackling mental health issues for older people, whether that’s previous City supporters who haven’t been able to get to a game or new fans, attending for the first time.”
“It is something we have not done before, and we would like to know how many people would like to take it up and come along. One of the things I keep bringing up is how we have lost touch with a lot of our older fans who can no longer get to games. This will be an opportunity for them to come along and see their club again.”
“Personally, I have seen this as an issue for a long time. The older generation has always been a big part of our fan base and when we left St George’s Lane a lot of those people stopped coming. "
Over the coming weeks, AGE UK Worcester and District will be consulting with their groups to gain feedback and hope to have the scheme up and running by the 10th Novem ber, in time for the club’s home fixture against Loughborough University, which also falls on Remembrance Weekend and will be supported by Worcester Wheels Community Transport.
Age UK Worcester & District is an independent local charity which has been working in the local community to help older people for many years. They have dedicated office & shop staff supported by over 150 volunteers to help deliver local services and activities for older people in Worcester & District.
Clare Thomas, CEO of Age UK Worcester says “this partnership with Worcester City Football Club will bring huge benefit to our clients. Going to matches is a hugely positive part of people’s lives and a way in which they can be with friends, fellow fans and feel a belonging. When this is taken away because of transport and access issues it can leave people feeling really isolated. Much of Age UK’s work in Worcester is about bringing people together to enjoy joint activities and to relieve this social isolation. We are therefore really excited about this partnership and would ask any fans, former or future fans who can no longer get to games to contact us."
Since its launch in 2014 Fans for Diversity, run by the Football Supporters’ Federation and Kick It Out, has delivered on that aim with a huge array of activities which have inspired participation from communities who might not otherwise have got involved with the beautiful game.
Maria Horner, Fans for Diversity Campaigns Officer, said “the Fans For Diversity campaign is about trying to remove barriers which prevent people enjoying a good match day experience – and if it’s getting them to the match in the first place that’s a great start. It’s about promoting inclusion, encouraging acceptance of difference, but primarily it’s about sharing the joy and passion football can make you feel, whoever you are. I’m lucky to be focussing on Non - League football where clubs really are a heartbeat in their
community. While the game on the pitch can be thrills and spills; no matter the result, I’ve seen how football can really play a positive role in bringing people together.”
The project has also been supported by Inclusion in Sport, an organisation working across all sports, with a specialism in football, to make clubs more inclusive. Inclusion in Sport are keen to engage with other groups in Worcester, who are interested in supporting Worcester City FC and contact details can be found on www.inclusioninsport.co.uk.
For more information or to register interest for you or a friend/relative to access transport, please contact Age UK Worcester & District on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01905 724294.
Updated 16:06 - 13 Nov 2018 by Kev Preece