February 21, 2010
Raising the Profile
On a cold, snowy and frosty day during the recent enforced Mid-Winter break, I had the opportunity to meet up with Dave Palmer of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA). Dave is the Community Liaison Officer for the PFA Southern Region and is well known at Bristol Rovers particularly to Peter Aitken, our Community Officer and to Stuart Campbell who is the PFA representative for the players at the club.
The meet up was interesting for two reasons, firstly because Dave was keen to learn about the way our players at Bristol Rovers work in the community and then in turn I was keen to learn of the work of the PFA generally. Since my get together with Dave, and a return to a more normal pattern of activity around Rovers, I have been talking with Stuart about his work with the PFA.
Dave told me that the PFA is committed to raising the profile and awareness of the extensive work and participation of players in support of community and charitable activities. I promised Dave that I would pass the messages about the work of the PFA in this regard to all associated with Bristol Rovers, staff and supporters alike. I also invited Dave to visit our club and he has promised to drop in soon and in the not too distant future. Dave’s patch covers the area of sort of Notts County down to Torquay United.
PFA Community involvement extends across many areas such as Health, Education, Social Inclusion and Equalities. The work underlines the commitment of the Association to make a positive difference in society. The Community Department at the PFA work continually ton raise standards of support to players and encourage greater support from football clubs to adapt their philosophy towards corporate social responsibility.
Dave was interested to know about how Bristol Rovers players are linking up with schools in our area. I told Dave about the eight secondary schools in Bristol who had come forward to be officially linked with one of our first team squad and the players who had volunteered to be involved in the “Linking Up” Scheme. The scheme has been in operation since October and just to remind us, here is a list of players and schools:
Hanham High School – Stuart Campbell
The Grange Warmley – Steve Elliott
Brunel Academy Speedwell – Ben Swallow
Monks Park School, Horfield – Chris Lines
Brislington College – Byron Anthony
Fairfield High School – Aaron Lescott
Bristol Metropolitan College,
Fishponds – Charlie Reece
Kingswood – Danny Coles
Dave was intrigued by the fact that Stuart had joined me at Hanham High to run a GCSE Mathematics revision session for a group of boys at the school just prior to their GCSE examinations last summer.
Dave asked me if I would write an article about the linking up in a future copy of “PROFILE” ,the official PFA Community Magazine, and I have told him that I would be very pleased to do so. He left me with the current copy of the mag and I must say that I enjoyed the read very much and was really interested to hear of similar work going on at other clubs.
For example, scores of local schoolchildren have been given the chance to meet the players at Leyton Orient where the East London club initiated an “Adopt a Player” scheme last year. Around twenty schools from Waltham Forest, Redbridge and Essex are involved, with each one given two players to adopt for the season. Each pair of players visited their adopted schools and took part in activities ranging from reading and coaching to presentations and question and answer sessions.
Well done to the “O’s” and to the host of Football League clubs who are involved with their school communities. Dave has given me much food for thought and invited me to share the good work and experiences going on around football. I look forward to meeting him here at the Mem very soon.