Have you ever thought that supporting a club is a gift – often handed down from one generation to the next? Once hooked there’s not much you can do about it!
It was the late Brian Lomax, founder of the Supporters Direct organisation that said, “I believe there are certain very important values in life and that football support embodies them. There is a sense of pilgrimage, of going to a sacred place; there is loyalty, sticking with something through the good and bad times. It’s about emotion, about sharing and comradeship, about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. These are very deeply rooted human needs and I believe that that is at the root of people’s love for football and loyalty for their clubs.”
Football clubs are the beating heart of the communities they sit within, and Aldershot Town FC is no different in that respect. The Shots Foundation is the outward face of the Football Club, and we are proud to undertake this role. This Football Club has a history in the town that stretches back nearly one hundred years. As Brain Lomax acknowledged, in good seasons and bad, fans stay loyal to the club they support for their entire lifetime, and they deserve an excellent Foundation to be proud of.
This means, of course, that all Football Community Foundations are a fantastic way for football clubs to continue to positively impact their communities seven days a week, 365 days of the year and embody the best values a club portrays and has to offer. They can foster connections and drive positive changes. We think that the Shots Foundation does this – and continues to make a significant difference to many people’s lives here in North East Hampshire. We are incredibly proud of the links, the partnerships, and the impact the Shots Foundation already has. But, no organisation can stand still, and it is time to consider what we do.
About four years ago the Trustees of the Shots Foundation produced a strategic development plan, the aim of which was to direct our efforts and resources as we moved forward over the next few years.
At that time, in 2019, the following seven objectives were set:
- To increase the use of the Community Stand at the EBB Stadium.
- To increase the number of football and other health and well-being related courses, events and activities in NE Hants and Surrey area.
- To build on the positive profile of the Aldershot Town Football Club by reaching out to the diverse local community of the NE Hants and Surrey area.
- To pursue funding opportunities for the Foundation at every opportunity.
- To build the social media profile of the Foundation, using Website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- To actively engage with local organisations eg schools, junior football clubs, community groups and hard to reach groups.
- To ensure that the Shots Foundation has strong Governance with an effective Board of Trustees.
The ‘Core Principles’ underpinning all of the above were to cover:
- Sport – Engage people of all ages and abilities in sport and physical activity.
- Education and Inclusion– Engaging and including the diverse community of Rushmoor and the surrounding area, of all ages and stages of life, to raise aspirations, attainment and achievement and understand that learning is a lifelong process.
- Health and well being – Promoting health and wellbeing and healthy lifestyles.
- Community – Provide opportunities for people and communities in Rushmoor to contribute to their local community.
As examples of the impact of the Foundation, the first objective of increasing the usage of the Community Stand, has been extremely successful; the stand is typically 3/4’s full at home fixture. We have built upon this to enhance the matchday experience for Shots supporters, with the Fanzone marquee, and its activities, the Qualcomm sponsored Shots Mini Pitch, the flag waving and the crossbar challenge.
It is time for the Trustees to revisit these objectives and principles and agree on new one’s to take us forward over the next three to four year.
Why do we need change?
Post covid, the landscape has changed, and it is certainly harder for all charities. Priorities can change and new initiatives come along that are worthy of our support, such as HerGameToo. We do feel that the Shots Foundation has undertaken valuable and important work in our area that reflects well on Aldershot Town Football Club and must continue.
We have a mixture of experienced trustees and new trustees, volunteers and a new Lead Coordinator in Jamie MacAllister who will need to bring a fresh perspective to what we need to do. We will also need to consult with other interested parties around the Football Club.
We hope to have this new plan in place for next year, and then it will be published for all to see.
Up the Shots!
Sir John Casey
Chair of Trustees at Shots Foundation