A new season saw the start of a new initiative for Barnet FC and their charitable arm The Hive Foundation. Headed up by Daniel Martin, a plethora of new community outreach ideas were envisaged pre-season with one key focus; kids.
So was born the Community Schools Programme.
Daniel Martin explains; “We wanted to tick multiple boxes, with kids in schools at the heart of the programme.
“In a nutshell, our players visit schools in the local area and take part in various activities from Q&A sessions to outdoor training with the children and in turn, we allocate tickets to the schools for the children and their parents to attend matches.
“We spent a lot of time working conceptually on the project and how it would work and even today, we are still tweaking the model. It’s logistically complex and admin heavy but incredibly worthwhile and enjoyable for everyone involved.”
With 12 schools in the Borough of Harrow already signed up to the programme, the results have been impressive.
Daniel continues: “Working so closely with the schools has given us the opportunity to have a clear and personal dialogue with key staff members, who help us manage and distribute an allocation of matchday tickets for the schools’ kids and their parents to attend games at The Hive London.
“For a lot of kids in the area, watching live football matches in a stadium environment is unattainable but it’s something that we can make happen.
“Since our visits started into the schools and ticket distribution has ensued, we have seen a 20% uplift in our home crowd attendance across our last five league games, with kids turning up and joining in with the various matchday chants and even getting their parents to buy them some Barnet FC merch!”
“We have been supported by the Barnet Walking Football Team who attend the schools with the players and offer another dimension to the visits.
“Furthermore, it is not just a case of coming to a game with a free ticket. It’s about the overall experience. The Hive Foundation’s key pillars are INCLUSION, EDUCATION & PARTICIPATION.
“The Community Schools Programme is delivering across the board on these, with a project extension covering Education & Exercise in the pipeline and a matchday experience which includes the schools being on the community page in our digital matchday programme, having their names read out by the stadium announcer and getting the chance to be flag bearers.
“We hope that our efforts will forever hold a place in the hearts of the kids involved.”
The good reputation of this essential community work that the programme is delivering, has garnered interest from the Borough of Barnet and conversations are already underway with a view to extending the Community schools Programme into Barnet schools after the Christmas period.