Portsmouth FC pick up second Checkatrade trophy in two weeks – after scooping award for work in keeping kids on the straight and narrow
FOR THE second time in two weeks, Pompey have won a Checkatrade trophy – this time in recognition for their sterling work in the community.
It is the second time in three years Pompey have been crowned the English Football League Checkatrade Community Club of the Year.
Pompey in the Community chief executive, Clare Martin, received the award at a star-studded event at Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
‘We are over the moon and very proud to receive this award,’ she said. ‘Having previously won the title only two years ago we were also a little surprised. It was a brilliant night for the whole club. After we left the stage, the team followed us up with the Checkatrade trophy from last week’s final.’.
Having already taken the regional title, the Blues fought off competition from Bristol City, Coventry, QPR, Rotherham and Wigan to take the award.The accolade is in recognition of both overall community involvement and a specific nominated initiative.
Pompey put forward their ongoing Restorative Justice Programme – a reparation scheme which targets youngsters who had previously been involved in football violence.
Clare said: ‘In 2017 there was trouble at the Oldham match which resulted in 50 people being arrested with 32 of those, youngsters between the ages of 13 and 17. Our football liaison officer, PC Stuart Dickinson, told us that none of the boys involved had any previous convictions and had been “caught up in the moment”.
‘If these boys were banned for life and were tarnished with a criminal record it could seriously affect their life chances. We decided to go down a different route of education and giving them the opportunity to put something back into the community and hopefully win back their season tickets.’
The club was praised for their ‘innovative approach’ with the teenagers having taken part in workshops about respect and extremism and community reparation including coaching in schools and helping supporters with disabilities. The panel also highlighted other ongoing projects including education and coaching programmes and the Life and Chimes initiative – a weekly support group for people suffering from dementia and their families.
Clare added: ‘I think the role of football clubs in the community is massive. We can use the Pompey badge to engage people in projects they otherwise wouldn’t take part in.’
Elsewhere, Pompey in the Community player, Harvey Hughes, 18, scooped the Community Education Football Alliance Male Player of the Season award. The award is in recognition of a player’s performance both on and off the pitch.
A second year student on Pompey’s BTEC Diploma in Sport course, Harvey said: ‘I feel totally overwhelmed – it hasn’t sunk in yet. As well as my football the club has allowed me to give something back to the community. I have qualified as level one coach and really enjoy going into schools and running sessions with the children.’
Harvey also feels the club are deserved winners of the national title.
‘All the staff do a fantastic job and they have done so much for my development both as a player and an individual,’ he said.