Aldershot Town’s new Foundation will seek to work with every local charity and community group in the area to reinforce the club’s position at the heart of the community and make a difference through the power of football.
The Foundation, a registered charity, will be officially launched at the EBB Stadium on Friday, 28th July, as The Shots host AFC Wimbledon in a pre-season friendly.
Aiming to raise aspirations and inspire all members of the community, the Foundation will promote active and healthy lifestyles, and allow as many people as possible to play football regardless of age, ability or circumstances.
In its desire to be one of the most diverse and inclusive clubs in the country, Aldershot Town already has strong links with the town’s Nepalese and Garrison communities, as well as local schools, and has twice won the Inspire Award for Business in the Community.
The Foundation will augment those successes by working with Rushmoor residents who live in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the UK to improve standards in education, health and mental wellbeing.
A Board of Trustees has been appointed, led by Janice Samuels, Human Resources Manager at Enterprise Rent-a-Car, with a Foundation Manager currently being recruited to develop and co-ordinate a full engagement programme.
Applications are also being sought from charities, community groups, schools, youth organisations and businesses wishing to work with the Shots Foundation, who are invited to contact Samuels via firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Gibbs on 01252 320211 to discuss their requirements.
“We will raise aspirations, provide opportunities and embrace the diversity of our community through the medium of sport,” explained Samuels. “The club already has some very clear commitments to its corporate social responsibility obligations and the Foundation will represent the club in the community.
“I have a passion for seeing people strive to be the best that they can be. We want to reach out to as many people as possible, from all sectors of our community and through as diverse a range of initiatives as possible, to promote inclusion and get everybody working together for the greater good.”
Aldershot Town chairman Shahid Azeem continued: “The club is already at the heart of its community and we know that the Foundation will only strengthen that position. We can make a real and vital difference to people’s lives with our work, and help our communities to address the challenges that they face every day.
“Such work is always a partnership, and we are immensely grateful for the support that we have enjoyed from Rushmoor Borough Council and all of our partners, sponsors, staff and volunteers in the past. Now, though, is the time to redouble our efforts, to really push forward and change lives for the better.”
Aldershot Town has recently been part of the following projects:
Aldershot Garrison: The EBB Stadium hosted a Peace and Goodwill carol concert, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, and the Game of Truce, a match between the British Army and German Bundeswehr which celebrated the centenary of the legendary 1914 Christmas Truce.
Seats for Soldiers: The Club hold regular Seats For Soldiers events, which have seen thousands of match tickets donated to Aldershot Garrison personnel in conjunction with local and national sponsors.
Armed Forces Corporate Covenant: ATFC were one of the first Football Clubs to sign the Covenant – and led the 68 clubs of the National League in also signing it – to ensure that no member of the Armed Forces community should face disadvantage at work or in the community compared to other citizens, and in some circumstances may receive special consideration for those who have given most to their country, such as the injured or bereaved.
Big Sleep Out: Every summer the Club hosts the Big Sleep Out, organised by Aldershot homeless charity Step By Step, which sees 100 people sleeping rough on the terraces of the EBB Stadium. The event has so far raised over £75,000 for the charity and promoted awareness of an increasing problem within the Borough, as homeless numbers rise.
Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice: The Shots continue to hold a series of fundraising events for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice to help them provide supportive and end-of-life care to over 550,000 residents in Surrey and Hampshire. Events include Chappie’s Challenge, an annual 50-mile cycle ride from Wembley Stadium to the EBB Stadium, as well as a charity match starring former England goalkeeper David James.
British Heart Foundation: Aldershot Town helped St Joseph’s Primary School raise over £5400 for the British Heart Foundation and increase awareness of healthy lifestyle choices with an Activity Day and awards ceremony attended by first-team players. Fundraising included the donation of a percentage of ticket sales for parents and pupils attending a home game.
Nepalese Community: ATFC led local community initiatives to raise £30,000 to rebuild two schools in earthquake-hit areas of Nepal, helping over 500 children, many of whom are orphans, and providing a vital hub for devastated communities. The villages which have benefitted are directly linked to members of Rushmoor’s Nepalese community, through our partnerships with BCCUK and Sahara UK. The Club sent a team to Pokhara in February 2015 to compete in the annual Aaha RARA Gold Cup tournament, featuring the best players in Nepal, and visited schools and orphanages in remote areas of the country to donate over £1000 of sports equipment. Aldershot Town are also proud to have twice hosted His Holiness the Dalai Lama at two sold-out events inside the EBB Stadium.
Diabetes Awareness: Provision of free diabetes tests for all supporters in conjunction with Club sponsor GlucoRx, one of the leading suppliers of diabetes testing equipment to the NHS and a company who reinvest their profits back into the local community.
Community Stand: The Club’s Community Stand donates over 4500 free tickets every season to youth and community groups. Thanks to the generosity of like-minded companies, charities, community groups and individuals, the vision of creating ‘tomorrow’s supporters’ coincides with the introduction of free admission for Under 11s to every home league game.
GASP Motor Project: With the support of ATFC, four Step By Step clients enjoyed weekly car maintenance tuition to restore and adapt a Vauxhall Corsa to stock car race specifications in the initiative involving Surrey’s GASP Motor Project and the UK’s largest stock car racing promoters Spedeworth. Club Chairman Shahid Azeem then drove the car in a 20-car race at Aldershot Raceway!