06 FOCUS ON THE DELIVERY The scale, breadth and sophistication of community schemes delivered by professional football clubs has developed dramatically over the last ten years. Clubs in this country are perhaps the most advanced in the field of development through sport anywhere in the world. They use the power of their clubs’ brands to engage people in their local communities and improve their physical health, their mental health, their educational attainment and their employability. They also provide opportunities for many of the most vulnerable and the most under- privileged in society. A key part of the Foundation’s strategy therefore is to harness the power of football for social good by creating links with local professional football clubs at facilities in which we invest. It is not appropriate for every facility that we fund. But where there is capacity available we see if a professional club’s community foundation is able to add value by delivering some of their life-changing work from that site. Many facilities we invest in are venues for Premier League Kicks sessions. This is a highly effective social inclusion programme that was originally developed into a national scheme by the Football Foundation, in partnership with the Premier League and the Metropolitan Police, back in 2006. It engages young people in the most deprived areas of the country using the appeal of the club’s brand, and offers them a variety of activities as positive alternatives to anti-social pressures they may be facing, such as gang culture. On page 20 you can read more about how the Liverpool FC Foundation is changing lives for the better delivering Premier League Kicks from a site we funded. On page 16 we describe how the Middlesbrough FC Foundation is improving the mental health of some of its community’s most vulnerable people at another facility that we developed with our Funders’ investment. Some of our facilities have seen professional clubs’ foundations helping local schools by actually delivering their PE lessons during curriculum time. Further underpinning the Foundation’s strategy of investing a large proportion of our funding into the areas of highest deprivation, professional clubs’ catchment areas also happen to be located in the most deprived parts of the country. An additional benefit of strengthening the link between the professional game and grassroots game is this also creates talent pathways, through which the most talented young sports people can progress to their highest level. Professional footballers Raheem Sterling, Wilfried Zaha and Marcus Rashford to name but a few were all talent-spotted at Premier League Kicks sessions by their community coaches. Equally, clubs’ multi-sport sessions enable talent outside of football to be nurtured and scouted – football clubs deliver anything from netball and basketball, to cricket and high-board diving. Clubs’ outreach schemes even enable local people to reach their highest level of skill and ability in areas like musical technology, street dance or other artistic performance disciplines. We have even seen examples of a person’s talent as a school teacher or social worker identified at a facility we have built and those individuals move directly into employment as a result. By engaging professional clubs’ foundations – from the Premier League, right down to the upper divisions of the National League – the Football Foundation is developing far more than just sports facilities. We are creating community hubs which deliver wide-ranging benefit to individuals and society. FOCUS ON THE DELIVERY: STRENGTHENING THE LINK BETWEEN PROFESSIONAL CLUBS AND THE GRASSROOTS