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FC United scoops Co-operatives UK media award

FC United of Manchester has won its second Co-operatives UK award in three years.

The club won the #coops2012 Award – for best use of the media to promote how it is building a better world through co-operation during 2012.

The award was announced last night, Wednesday 31 October, during The Co-operative Awards 2012 in front of a 900-strong audience of co-operative and mutual leaders from around the world, during the Co-ops United expo, which is taking place this week in Manchester.

The awards recognise the excellence, innovation and impact of co-operatives and mutuals across the country. In submitting its entry for the award, FC United was able to showcase the full breadth of its media expertise – and demonstrated how it was all done by its co-owners on a voluntary basis. As well as helping spread the word about the club, this work is helping provide opportunities for a range of volunteers to learn or hone their skills and confidence.

Some examples of the club’s media successes include:

Press – a high profile club anyway, FC United proactively maintains its presence in the media on a regular basis – spreading the word about supporter-ownership issues and its community work. From running a regular column in the North & East Manchester Advertiser (covering Moston, its proposed future base) to profiles in the national and international press about supporter-ownership issues – not to mention numerous football blogs and interviews on TV and radio – the club is recognised by journalists as a good example of supporters owning and running the club for community benefit, and writes about it as such.

Social media – the social media channels are not controlled by the full-time staff in the office; they are run by enthusiastic volunteer co-owners who are keen to be involved, and spend much of their own time updating and refining these channels. The club has used the internet to develop a deeper engagement with its followers and help satisfy the desire for information and updates on activities, including: two popular Facebook fan pages, a Youtube channel, an official Twitter feed with more than 28,000 followers (more than most league clubs), an unofficial supporters’ forum, and a private forum for co-owners to discuss club issues and suggest ideas. The club website is built and maintained by volunteers.

Events – FC United of Manchester holds events throughout each season aimed at involving people in sport, celebrating sporting or community achievement, and encouraging people to attend football matches. Many of these have become a permanent fixture in the calendar and some are major fundraisers for charities in the north west. These include Big Coat Day, Youth United Day, People United Day and the Minithon.

TV and radio – thanks to its committed and dedicated co-owners, FC United of Manchester can boast the use of two broadcast media channels operated to a professional standard. These are run entirely on a voluntary basis and not only allow our co-owners the chance to spread the news about FC United but also offer them the chance to get involved and learn new skills. These are opportunities that many might otherwise not have, and include: journalism, presenting, live broadcasts, live commentary, production, editing and making radio programmes.

Programme and photography – the match day programme encourages the development of talent among the club’s co-owners. Match reports from previous games are submitted by new young writers, giving them confidence and practice, and all the photography is submitted by a number of regular voluntary photographers. They give up their time not only on match days to capture all the action but also to attend community events and other activity so the club can post up the pictures on the website and keep all supporters updated.

Andy Walsh, FC United’s general manger, said: “When we looked at pulling together the award entry and saw all the information in one place, we were really struck by just how much goes on. The club’s media work not only helps spread the word about FC United and supporter-ownership, but also gives many of our co-owners the chance to be involved, develop their own skills and take responsibility for running an important element of the club.

“The award is for everyone who has played their part in this. I never stop being amazed by, and proud of, our supporters and would like to thank each person involved for making this happen.???

This is the second major award for FC United in 2012. The club has already been named Football Foundation Community Club of the Year 2012 in the National Game Awards, run by the Non League Paper.

First Posted ~ 13:35 Thu 1 Nov 2012
News ID ~ 4531
Last Updated ~ 01:52 Tue 16 Feb 2021