Chesterfield FC Community Trust uses the inspiration and impact of football to provide a wide range of sporting, educational and community-based opportunities throughout the local area.
The charity has received several loans from Charity Bank to support its development. CEO John Croot explains how its centre The Hub, renovated with help from a Charity Bank loan, marked the beginning of their rapid expansion.
“Fast-paced, dynamic, driven by teamwork, fuelled by ambition... football is many things and when it's used for good, it's as glorious as the winning goal scored by your favourite team.
“Chesterfield FC Community Trust was established in 2009 as a development from ongoing community outreach work Chesterfield FC had been involved in since the late 1980s. Faced with problems like social exclusion, poor health and unemployment in Derbyshire, our dream was to create a football club not set on winning the Premiership but focused on scoring goals for people and communities.
“One year later, Chesterfield FC moved into a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium within which we were given a designated space. The Hub is the key to our sustainability and the home of many of our activities. With help from a Charity Bank loan, we were able to create a tailored space to respond to a variety of community needs. The facility includes a play centre, café, gym, pool, classrooms and office spaces. We run it as a social business and generate revenue from office leases, meeting rooms and facilitating numerous activities.
“The power of football and the brand of Chesterfield FC is the thread that runs through all that we do and helps to increase the scope of our social impact. We provide football coaching and other related activities, both here at the Hub and across over 50 schools in the community. We also offer a wide range of other activities and services that help to connect people from across the community, from over 50s ‘walking football’ (an idea we came up with that has become a global craze played in over 40 countries) to a very successful alcohol and substance recovery programme.
“We chose to work with Charity Bank because they really understand the social sector. From the very beginning, our account manager gave us plenty of helpful advice that went beyond the financial aspects. He even put us in touch with other social enterprises like us that had experienced a similar journey to the one we were just about to embark on. It’s also great to know that in addition to the work we do, the money that goes back into Charity Bank is also helping other organisations like us.
“I would encourage people to think about investing their money in an ethical bank like Charity Bank because I’ve seen first-hand the social outcomes it can bring. Your money won’t be going to a faceless organisation but making real changes to real people. Anyone is welcome to come and visit us anytime to see for themselves the good social investment can do - or, better yet, join in on one of our sessions!”