A new section has been added to the Community menu of this site in which a regular update of Karl in the Community articles will appear, blog stylee. Keep an eye on karl.php for the latest news. To get you started here is the first installment...
The Co-Op Treble featuring Chatman & Robin
Those of you familiar with the rules of FC United of Manchester will know that the word ’community’ crops up quite a lot, fifteen times in total including seven times within the phrase ’benefit of the community’. In order for FCUM to do what it says in the tin (yes, the rule book is kept in a tin), the club is committed to a policy of inclusion which makes it and the matches it takes part in accessible to the whole of the community and in particular sections of the society which are currently under represented in football.
The role of the community development officer is vital to our progress as a football club so not only does Karl Marginson have his work cut out trying to win us promotions, league titles and trophies he also has to work hard in his day job to ensure we achieve our off-field goals too. Karl is backed up by popular chatterbox Vinny Thompson and Robin Pye. Vinny’s superb communications skills include an impressive telephone voice that is so polished one can often be fooled into thinking that one is speaking to the queen herself. Robin, who’s name strikes fear into local bakers, is an unsung hero amongst our army of volunteers and his excellent links to local schools have proved crucial in the success of our community work.
It’s all at the Co-op now!
The Co-Operative Group is a great British Institution which started from a shop in Rochdale over 160 years ago. Like FC United it is member owned and now provides a variety of services including food, healthcare, travel, funeral care and financial services. The Co-Op places importance on ethical issues and supporting local communities is at the heart of its values, so it was one of FC’s best results so far when the invaluable work of Vinny helped by Karl and Robin secured almost £10000 to fund some of our community work. This covered the three initiatives Healthy Eating Teaching Materials, the Community Cohesion Project and Youth United Day.
Karl’s Cootie Catcher
Anyone who has spoken to Karl Marginson will know that he is an excellent people person and is good company amongst young or old alike, such is his ability to get on the same wavelength of anyone he his communicating with. For the Healthy Eating project it was the kids that Karl got tuned in with. The objective was to produce a paper fortune teller that would engage primary school children with a kinaesthetic learning style and deliver the message of the importance of healthy eating. As a child you may remember making a fortune teller yourself from a square piece of paper which was folded a certain way and marked with numbers and colours which would ultimately reveal your destiny. Karl’s design carries the FCUM logo and several healthy eating messages; there is also blank space for the children to fill in their own healthy eating ideas in order to give them some ownership of the concept. Four thousand of the fortune tellers were produced to be distributed amongst primary schools and junior football clubs in Tameside, Salford, North Manchester, Bury and North Trafford and also to children attending FC matches. If you’re too cool or grown up to admit to remembering these mystic devices it was the thing that Butters was made to steal from the girl’s sleepover in a episode of South Park.
FCCCP (Don’t panic! it’s not lefty political propaganda).
The aim of FC’s Community Cohesion Project is to build on the work our club has already done in our efforts to attract socially excluded groups to games. We don’t want to change the world (just yet) but initiatives such as this one can change the way a football club can impact on the local community. Some of the diverse organisations the club have worked with include:
Northerncare - an organisation running homes for young people in the North West.
Children & Families Refugee & Asylum Seeker Service (CAFRASS) - a Greater Manchester organisation working with asylum seekers.
St. Peter’s Youth - organisers of Asian male and female youth football teams.
The club is to extend this work by reaching out to more organisations that work with minority or socially excluded groups that currently do not get involved in football our goal being the improvement of community cohesion in the areas we serve.
Margy has set up coaching sessions with these partner organisations and arrangements will be made to bring each group to one of our games later this season and in the early part of next season.
Youth United Day
A fantastic success and easily the biggest buzz around Gigg Lane this season. More on Youth United Day in the next Karl in the Community piece. During the meantime, if you got a spare 5 hours, ask Vinny about next time you see him at the game.