Preston North End’s community department – The Sir Tom Finney Foundation – had a very successful 2013/14 season. Here, PNE.Com takes a look back at the campaign from a community perspective.
Last season saw the continuation of some of the Club’s top programmes, as well as the introduction of some new opportunities.
The Junior Whites supporters’ club has continued successfully with young supporters showing up at every home match for a few hours of football-themed fun.
Members of the club received personalised signed birthday and Christmas cards from the first team and even got the chance to meet some of the players at various Junior Whites events.
As always the Club’s soccer schools, the next of which will run throughout summer, have been very well received.
This summer, in addition to the Club’s usual soccer schools, the community department will also introduce an Activities Club, which will include fun filled drama, art, and film sessions.
Another way the foundation is out and active in the Preston community is through during and after school programmes – so be on the look out for us coming to deliver classes in your school, including nurseries.
All of our courses, whether they fall during half-term breaks or school time, are run by our own FA qualified and CRB checked coaches.
As part of the Football League’s initiative to get more women and girls involved in playing football, the Sir Tom Finney Foundation works with the FA to increase the amount of women and girls participation.
Our female coaching is working in high schools looking to get more girls interested in the game and supporting them to play outside of school as well.
The Club’s branch of the National Citizen Service (NCS) project is also hosted in the Sir Tom Finney Community and Learning Centre.
The foundation takes on a new group of 16 to 17 year olds a few times each year. During the first week of the programme, the group goes away for a few days and completes team building activities and outdoor challenges.
When they return, they team up for volunteer projects around the community. This programme teaches and enhances useful skills that can be placed on a CV.
The community department’s Futsal scholarship academy also had an impressive debut campaign. The programme is for school-leavers aged 16 to 18 who are looking for an alternative to the traditional college experience.
It combines in-classroom, academic education and on-pitch futsal training practice.
On the academic front, the students work towards a BTEC Level Three Extended Diploma in Sport, which is an equivalent of up to three A-levels.
Once they gain these qualifications, graduates have many options - including continuing their sport education at a university level or gaining employment in coaching or a similar sport and leisure related field.
Taking part in this scheme could get you an appearance on Sky Sports’ hit show Soccer AM, with North End’s games regularly appearing on the Saturday morning TV programme.
The foundation and its staff also look after fans on a match day. The brand new Family Room, located at the south end of the Sir Tom Finney Stand, is a fantastic facility available for children.
The room is full of fantastic activities and houses three games consoles, all of which have EA Sports’ massively successful FIFA title. There is also a table football set, colouring tasks, face painting and even a players’ fan mail box to keep everyone entertained.
Sometimes the matchday facility receives a visit from a few of North End’s first team players, so be sure you are on the look out for some famous faces next time you’re in the Family Room, which also won the Family Excellence Award 2014.
Finally, this season, the foundation and its staff re-located to a new office in the middle of the Alan Kelly Town End stand.
Refurbished with three classrooms, including a computer suite and fully furnished and interactive resources, the new Learning Centre is an unrivalled facility.
The community department hosts some of its holiday camps, futsal programme and NCS programmes from here.
The Sir Tom Finney Foundation is happy to answer any questions or provide more information about any of our programmes. To get in touch, please call on 01772 693309 or email at email@example.com.