CHARITY workers want to squeeze every drop of opportunity out of a new partnership with Swindon Town.
The NSPCC in Swindon has been selected as the club’s Charity of the Year for 2013/14 and now the players are urging fans to lend their support.
The partnership, which was selected after bids from charities in the town, will see fundraising events all season long, with maximising the Robins’ large fan base, high on the charity’s agenda.
Although the partnership is in its infancy, some early ideas to have been tabled include a player calendar, a golf day and perhaps a charity match involving players.
Community fundraising manager Anna Keir said: “We want to squeeze the life out of this opportunity. We do really well anyway, but the chance to work alongside such a big organisation could be huge for us.”
Ray Norman, 62, an NSPCC volunteer, said this was a partnership which would benefit both sides, especially with relatively new owners at the County Ground.
“I think this can be a positive thing for the club too,” he said. “They have a relatively new organisation coming in. I’m not sure, but I don’t think there too much focus on community work with the old owners, so the new owners have a great opportunity to broaden the club’s appeal.”
Fundraising began in earnest ahead of last week’s home tie with Stevenage, where volunteers collected £500 from fans on their way to the match.
The money raised through this partnership is likely to prove all the more important as the Swindon branch of the children’s charity begins a process of expansion that includes more services to the community and a new headquarters in Little London, Old Town.
Ms Keir said their charity possibly swung the club’s decision with volunteers wearing Town shirts in their interview after being shortlisted, although she said chairman Jed McCrory has always been a supporter of the charity and wanted a children’s charity for the partnership.
Robins captain Darren Ward, helping launch the partnership, is encouraging fans to back the charity however they can.
“The supporters need to help.
“They should back this charity because they are working for a very, very good cause,” he said.
“Football clubs can have a huge impact on any charity and it’s very important we realise that we are in a very fortunate position, as footballers, and give a bit back to the community and charity.”
Goalkeeper Wes Fodering-ham echoed his team mate’s sentiments. He said: “It’s important that people in a privileged position, such as footballers and football clubs, support charity.
“I have come across people that have needed the kind of support the NSPCC provides, in the past.
“I have had friends with problems growing up. We need to back this partnership in the town.”