Darlington have launched an exciting Football in the Community scheme to head teachers of primary schools in the town.
The club sees a Football in the Community scheme as an ideal way of strengthening its links with the community, by encouraging local primary school pupils to enjoy a matchday experience at a Darlington FC game in the Vanarama National League North, and also introducing them to football as a great way of keeping fit and improving their social and football skills.
And in turn, the club hopes that the youngsters will become regular supporters of the club – and bring their friends and parents to games as well!
The club’s matchday experience has been a popular innovation over the last five years. Youngsters meet at the ground two hours before a Darlington FC home game, and are given a tour of the ground, a chat and photos with the players in the Darlington FC dressing room and compete in a penalty shootout on the field, as well as watching the game for nothing!
The club can also deliver a series of football coaching sessions, which include the matchday experience, or one-off specialist football coaching sessions to schools.
The lead coach of the initiative is Deano Browne, who has plenty of experience of Football in the Community schemes, and is a qualified UEFA B Coach. He will be liaising with all the local schools in the town.
“Our aim is to persuade more youngsters who live in Darlington to become interested in the club. There are lots of them wearing the shirts of Premiership clubs, we would like to see more wearing Darlington shirts instead,” he said.
“Through our football coaching sessions, we can offer enrichment in various ways for all the youngsters.”
David Johnston, the chief executive officer of Darlington FC, points out that there are advantages for everybody involved. “We pride ourselves as being an integral part of the Darlington community, and with that we have a social responsibility by providing a matchday experience for children and visiting their schools to demonstrate the benefits of playing football and staying healthy.
“Engaging with the community is one of our main aims, and hopefully some of these children will become regular fans of our family-friendly club.”