On Wednesday 25th October, Burnley FC in the Community and Burnley FC Academy launched phase one of a brand new initiative called “Academy in the Community.”
The idea of the programme is to expose the Academy scholars, and over time, the younger players within the academy, to projects delivered by Burnley FC in the Community to participants of all ages and backgrounds. We want the scholars to have a greater understanding of Burnley as a Town and to be able positively engage with members of the local community by having a regular presence on our community projects. The scholars will begin to experience what it is like to engage in public speaking, improve their communication and relationship building skills and to generally feel more confident in new environments. We hope these will be valuable skills that all players can use later in life no matter where their football journey takes them.
After a brief talk from Chris Andrews, Community Director of Football, Sport and Education, the scholars had the opportunity to meet the project managers and coordinators and learn about the work being delivered in Burnley and the surrounding areas. The 1st year scholars then had the pleasure of visiting our No Nay Never Forget dementia café and our activity camps. For some, it was their first experience of being in an environment where they were the centre attention and having to engage in conversation with new people from different generations. It is fair to say that one or two were definitely out of their comfort zone!
Moving forwards, the Academy scholars will now choose one of the many community projects where they will become a regular attendee. They’ll get to know the staff and participants better and have a positive impact on the delivery of our sessions. We want the player’s experience to be a positive one, and one which they look forward to sharing with other players, staff members, friends and family. We know that our participants will thoroughly enjoy having the interaction with the Academy players and this will help to enhance the value and impact of our work.
After weeks of planning and discussions, it was exciting to see the project come to fruition and it’s something that we intend to roll out year on year.
Chris Andrews – Director of Football, Sport & Education
It was a great start to what we believe will be an amazing project for both Burnley FC in the Community and the Clarets Academy. We want to give the players an experience where they genuinely feel part of the wider club, the town and the community whilst exposing them to situations and environments that will support their off-pitch development. A football players journey is never guaranteed and whilst we have a pool of talented young men in the building, it is important that we provide them with the tools to be successful later in life and ensure they enjoy every minute of their time spent with us. The club and community mean so much to our participants and to see their smile and enjoyment when engaging with the players is something money can’t buy.
Chris Heap -Academy Player Care Lead
Today has been an invaluable experience for our boys, as an Academy it is our role to improve our players on the pitch but also to add value to them as people . We aim to do this through our Academy Life Skills program and this partnership with BFCITC has given our players a real insight into the club, community and people they represent as Burnley FC players. The vast majority of our players are not from the local area, so we feel this is vital and it has been great to see the boys interacting with the BFCITC staff and a wide range of participants. We want our players to utilize the time they have away from the pitch in a constructive way and we feel them adopting a community project for the season is a great way to do this.
Ben Jordison – U18s Player
I think the community program is so beneficial for everyone involved. It’s such a great character builder and just by a simple conversation this can make people smile which is the main thing. It aims to help people in need and is an important part of their enjoyment, I’ve been so glad to be a part of this and can’t wait to get involved .