Npower launches major community support programme
The English Football League's title sponsor, Npower, has launched a new national community initiative titled 'Home Team Heroes'.
The three-year sponsorship deal sees Npower's Home Team Heroes campaign inject US$3.3 million into 72 communities across England and Wales aiming to connect with half a million children.
The programme will be delivered on a local level by the Football League Trust and will allow fans to decide how the money is spent in their area with three options to choose from; a Respect training workshop for 10-year-olds, football skills training for 4 to 6-year-olds or the clean up of a local park or playground. The selected projects will then be overseen by the Trust - the charity arm of the Football League - and spearheaded by each club's community team.
The Football League chairman, Greg Clarke, said: "Football League clubs are an integral part of their local communities, demonstrating that football has the power to make a difference to peoples' lives. Whichever project each community votes for - be it Respect workshops, football training or the improvement of local playgrounds - our clubs will be actively engaging with local children to encourage them to get involved in football. "
"This scheme is all about giving power to the fans. As a new sponsor, we didn't want to come in with a 'one size fits all' approach. Instead, we're asking the communities around each club to vote and tell us which option suits them best," added Volker Beckers, RWE Npower's chief executive officer.
In addition, 72 Npower volunteers last week set to work on Beggar's Hill in Leeds, clearing the park of litter and graffiti and adding a football pitch with goals, making the area into a new usable space for the local community.
Leeds United soccer player Alex Bruce said: “Most estates in the country would love a facility like this where the kids can come out on the grass and have a run around. This is where it all happens, the grassroots and where children learn their trade. I remember as a kid I used to go a park like this and kick the ball around and that's where the tools of the trade are learnt. The pitch overlooks the stadium so that will give the kids something to work towards. If you work hard and play hard then there is no reason why they can't play there one day.”
Bruce added: "I'm sure there will be a few kids from this estate who will enter the Leeds Academy and you never know, one or two might be the stars of the future."
Under terms of the sponsorship, supporters have until Friday 31st December to vote for the scheme they would most like to see implemented in their local community.
- Length of contract: 3 years
- Annualised value: US$1.1 million
- Overall value: US$3.3 million
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