Fans praise community work as Pompey named family club of the year

WINNERS From left, Alison Lee, John Relish, Clare Martin and Craig Pearce receive the Coca-Cola Community Club of the Year Award for the south west area
WINNERS From left, Alison Lee, John Relish, Clare Martin and Craig Pearce receive the Coca-Cola Community Club of the Year Award for the south west area
Pompey's Gareth Evans. Picture: Joe Pepler

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POMPEY fans have praised the club’s staff after it was named Family Club of the Year.

Portsmouth FC was recognised at the Football League Awards 2012 for work with young people and families led by the Pompey Sports and Education Foundation.

Despite the club being in administration and struggling to stay afloat, the foundation – which is financially separate from Pompey – ran 38 projects and provided 249,000 coaching and educational opportunities to over 33,000 young people last year.

It was praised for family-specific ticket offers and initiatives like the Victory Suite’s Kidzone area and Junior Blues Sleep Overs on the pitch.

Clare Martin, director of community projects at the club, received the award at a gala ceremony at The Brewery in London attended by over 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry.

She said: ‘We had a real drive this year to make sure that match days are family-friendly and there is lots going on.

‘Every request that comes in we try and make happen. We might not be able to give away as many signed shirts these days but we can get loads of signed photos.

‘We have to look after the youngsters. If you can get them along to matches and they love it then you build the fans of the future.’

Pompey was also named the South West’s Community Club of the Year and the foundation received praise for the Get On Board education programme, which focuses on a unique partnership between the club and the Mary Rose Trust.

Pompey Supporters Trust spokesman Scott Mclachlan said: ‘It’s a fantastic achievement.

‘One thing Pompey does really well is it gets involved in the community as much as possible.

‘We all should say a big thank you to the staff at Fratton Park and the foundation who work really hard. Hopefully this will give them all a big boost.’