Watford Football Club’s Community Sports and Education Trust has been awarded £55,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project to celebrate twenty five years of community outreach. The project, to be known as “Improving lives, Enhancing Communities: A History of Watford FC’s Community Work”, will be commemorated over the course of a year from July 2017 to July 2018, mirroring the football season.
The project will see the Trust organise a series of events and activities to celebrate its achievements and contribution to the people of Watford and surrounding areas. With a number of activities already in the planning stages such as, a dedicated book, a museum exhibition and an interactive website of the Trust history. Local partnerships and a team of trained volunteers will aid the anniversary programme and aim to create a greater awareness and understanding of the Trust’s heritage.
It was during the 1980s that Watford Football Club’s community focus really began driven by manager at the time, Graham Taylor OBE, with the full support of owner Sir Elton John. It started with the Hornets being the first football club to include a designated family area at Vicarage Road and introduce player appearances amongst the local community. A revolutionary concept that soon saw many other Clubs following suit.
In the early 90s one member of staff was tasked with increasing football participation in the community using Watford FC’s brand. It is this fixed point that brings about the celebration of the 25th year of Watford FC community outreach later this year. The Trust is now a registered charity and has a history of working across the areas of skills development, employability, sports development, inclusion and health, to make a positive difference for all.
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Sophie Button, said;
“This is an excellent project for the people of Watford and its surrounding areas. Watford Football Club has always been a huge part of this community and its community outreach has been a significant part of that. We look forward to seeing the number of activities develop as they play out.”
Commenting on the award Rob Smith, Community Director at Watford FC’s CSE Trust said;
“We are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to run a project celebrating twenty five years of the club’s community work. As this is a volunteer led project, we would love to hear from fans and members of the public, who may be able to share their memories with us.”
For those looking to get involved in this project either through volunteering or to contribute any good news stories, images or articles, the Trust can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org