September 23, 2009
The past year has seen a good amount of unity and hard work resulting in progress on and off the field of play.
The football club has moved forward in a number of ways, most notably continued progress on the playing side. Final placing in The Football League table has moved upwards to the point where we are a top half League 1 club. The first team has been strengthened and we have made a good start to the new season. Younger players have gained valuable experience out on loan. The youth team is full time and benefiting from day to day coaching and training. The Under 18 side has also made a good start to the new season.
I have continued to report to the Board on the work of the Bristol Rovers Study Centre. The level of attendance of children from local schools to the Centre has been maintained throughout the school year and through the holiday periods. The attendance of children and parents at the celebration evenings is especially strong and many families convert this interest to regular supporting Bristol Rovers on matchdays. Secondary school age children have increasingly been brought into the fold.
Work to link a first team player to Bristol and District secondary schools is well advanced. I have eight schools on board with the project and eight players have come forward to link with a respective school. Children like the opportunity to be close to players. It endears them to the Football Club and helps to bring about the opportunity for life-long support.
I have continued to work as a trustee and to report to the Board on the work of the Bristol Rovers Community Trust. As a team we worked well to ensure The Football League Trust Community Bronze Award. The Award was presented to the football club by the Chairman of The Football League in April. Work towards the Silver Award is progressing well. A key feature in the audit which is a distinct addition to the Bronze Award is the emphasis on equal opportunities for football club employees and football club supporters. An equal opportunities policy is now ready in draft form and a good amount of data is being researched and collected to form part of the audit process. A target of January 2010 has been set for submission to The League.
Bidding for Community funding is an ongoing process. We have been especially mindful to serve a cross section in our community. Over the year upwards of £86.000 has been brought in to fund projects that will benefit young people, people over 60, young offenders, disabled footballers, homeless people and the unemployed. Dissuading anti social behaviour in the young is a key objective. Generating support for the Football Club from all areas of our community is a distinct by-product of our work.
Over the year there has been no let up to my face to face communication and dialogue with members. I am around the ground on match days from 10am to 7pm. I meet up with members on our travels. I listen to problems that are raised and work hard to solve them. I take up suggestions and follow them up.
I have continued to support the work of the Branches. Norton Radstock is flourishing in the mould of Weston super Mare. I have been pleased to attend many social events and meetings. The summer barbeque at Locking was a special highlight and a good amount of money was raised to support the Bristol Rovers Centre of Excellence and to help set up a feeder junior football club in the Midlands.