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NEW WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL

NEW WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL

FC United announce new and extended relationship with Manchester City Council.

• Club to work in partnership with the Council

• Agreement strengthens the Club’s long-term future

• New working relationship reinforces the Club’s commitment to its local community in Moston and North Manchester

• New long-term credit facility allows the Club to refinance borrowings

• Deal recognises the professional way in which the Club is now run and its finances managed

The Board of FC United of Manchester is pleased to announce that we have reached agreement with Manchester City Council to work in partnership to secure the Club’s long-term future and strengthen its work across North Manchester.

This move represents tremendous news for the Club and its local community in Moston and across North Manchester, and comes at a time when we are enjoying excellent results on the pitch for our men’s and women’s first teams, under the tutelage of two ambitious managers.

Discussions with the Council have been steered by the volunteer-run Stakeholder Relationships Committee which has drawn on specialist skills and experience amongst the Club’s membership, and the level of support from the Council that has ensued acknowledges the professional way in which the Club is now run. It recognises too the hard work by the Board, staff and volunteers over the last few years, particularly in stabilising the Club’s financial performance which has seen an operating deficit transformed into a healthy surplus in each of the last two financial years.

But central to the Council’s increased level of support is a recognition of the considerable community benefit that FC United offers to the residents of Moston and North Manchester, which was showcased in a 10-page Community Impact Statement presented to officials earlier this year. The Club takes great pride in the positive effect it is having in its local community, with such work woven into the fabric of the Club through our founding manifesto commitments. It continues to be recognised across the city for its impact.

This community support, which is focused on three key areas, includes:

Health and well-being

• Broadhurst Park is the home of Moston Juniors Football Club and a partnership agreement between FC United and the junior football club provides a structured pathway for local footballers to progress from junior football through to FC United’s first team.

• Broadhurst Park’s 3G pitch has a footfall of over 1,800 visits per week and is a matchday hub for the East Manchester Junior League and also a training venue for several local teams.

• The ground is also home to FC United’s highly respected Academy which delivers a BTEC in Sport to students and achieves an academic pass rate of more than 90%.
• A weekly pan-disability football session at Broadhurst Park is attended by around 20 players who also compete in the Greater Manchester Ability Counts League.

• FC United’s community coaches work in local schools during term-time offering multi-sports and football sessions together with lunch time and after school clubs.

• A weekly football session at Broadhurst Park in partnership with Freedom From Torture, a charity that provides support for victims of torture who arrive in the UK as asylum seekers, is attended by around 15 players.

• The Club runs two weekly walking football sessions for those in the 50 to 75 age group after identifying a gap in the range of activities on offer for this age group in the local area and it aims to provide a form of exercise and social interaction for a diverse group of people.

• The Club also runs a weekly football session for adults with mental health conditions attended by up to 20 players. Playing football helps people to manage symptoms and improves the quality of people’s lives by making friends, keeping fit and staying healthy.

Community cohesion

Big Coat Day, FC United’s collection of coats, warm clothing and footwear to distribute to homeless people, has been a regular, and hugely popular, feature of the Club’s community work since 2005 and this winter the Club is working with the Manchester-based charities Hope Direct and Barnabus to distribute items to those most in need.

Christmas Comforts has been an annual event since FC United moved to Moston in 2015 and sees the Club open its Broadhurst Park home on Christmas Day to homeless and vulnerable people, providing Christmas dinner, a hot shower, warm clothing, toiletries, presents for children, along with games and activities and access to dental, nursing, chiropody and hairdressing services. This Christmas the Club is partnering with Manchester City Council’s Homeless Families Unit to deliver its Christmas Comforts day.

• The highly regarded Sporting Memories Group meets weekly in the classroom at Broadhurst Park and assists older people to overcome social isolation and loneliness by reminiscing about past sporting events. The group featured in an article in the Daily Telegraph in December 2017 as participants reminisced about Manchester derbies in years gone by.

• The Club’s annual Youth United Day sees hundreds of children and young people invited free of charge to an FC United home match and encourages them to get involved in sport. The attendees come from across the city and include church and mosque groups, LGBT groups, junior football and cricket clubs together with a large number of children from the Moston area. For many this is the first time that they have been to a live sporting event.

Employability

• We have recently secured funding to deliver a Business through Football education programme for young unemployed people in the local area which will start in April

• FC United is a significant employer in the local area and was the first football club to pay the Living Wage to its employees.

• In addition there have been many examples down the years of FC United’s community work equipping people with the qualifications, skills and confidence to enable them to get back into work. Involvement in the pan-disability football sessions, for example, transformed the lives of two participants enabling them to gain confidence and skills and find employment locally.


As part of this new working relationship, the Council will refinance a portion of the Club’s borrowings that helped underwrite the development of our Broadhurst Park home, through the provision of a new credit facility of up to £250,000. The loan will be repaid over a fifteen year period, providing long-term finance for a long-term asset, and will be subject to interest in line with legislation referencing state aid rules. In addition, the Council will partner the Club in identifying areas of revenue generation that will help FC United to deliver on its commitments as a Community Benefit Society.

This will continue the development of our Broadhurst Park home as a community facility for local residents and also as a training, conference and exhibition venue for North Manchester and the wider region - a nod to the vision, all those years ago, of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company’s board, who recognising the power of football to change people’s lives, leased a plot of land in Newton Heath for workers to partake in regular outdoor sporting activities in their spare time.


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First Posted ~ 16:14 Wed 18 Dec 2019
News ID ~ 8591
Last Updated ~ 12:44 Wed 8 Jan 2020