Hampshire FA is celebrating being nominated for TWO Football Business Awards 2022 ('Best Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme or Initiative' & 'Best Brand Activation Involving Football').
There’s so much more to football than purely what happens on the pitch, so we’re thrilled to have reached the finals of the Football Business Awards, recognising off-the-pitch successes and celebrating the incredible roles and change that the businesses behind the world of football play.
“We are honoured that we have once again managed to secure two spaces at this year’s Football Business Awards. We are finalists in the category for the Best Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme or Initiative and Best Brand Activation Involving Football for the Hampshire FA Academy. Sharing this space alone alongside some significant names is incredibly exciting for us and we’re looking forward to the day itself” - Neil Cassar, Hampshire FA CEO
Having seen the detrimental effects of the pandemic, specifically during lockdown, on the mental health and wellbeing of those within our community, we reached out to our local mind charity, Havant & East Hants Mind (HEH), to form a commercial partnership. According to the ONS stats taken during that time, a staggering one in five adults experienced ‘some form of depression’ during the pandemic. So many of the tools that people utilise to support their wellbeing were inaccessible during lockdown. Sport is one of the key ways that we can best support our emotional, physical, and psychological wellbeing, and when that was at a standstill and stripped away, it was vital we looked at other ways we could support our local community.
We are one of the largest county FA’s in the country and, as a result, we have an extensive local community that includes 100,000 diverse players of all ages,
thousands of coaches, volunteers, referees and spectators. It also means we have a significant reach within our wider community and working with such an incredible charity has meant we can collaborate and have a more substantial impact.
“We recognise our duty far extends beyond the likes of the field and the clubhouse. Many people use sport as an outlet. We also understand that sport plays a crucial role in relieving stress and anxiety and that it increases health benefits, physically, socially and psychologically. Linking with Havant and East Hants Mind is part of our overall commitment to mental health, starting first with our staff and then cascading down benefits to our football community through the consistent promotion of key messages and joint-organisation activities.” - Neil Cassar, Hampshire FA CEO
We’ve already trained in-house mental health first aiders through our partnership and saw this as an opportunity to support the broader grassroots football community in Hampshire. During this time, we’ve worked closely with HEH Mind to create several initiatives, including:
We have already started working on a number of new initiatives with the charity including: recorded Teams sessions on key topics relating to mental health, tournament planning for World Suicide Prevention Day and wellbeing training sessions to support our Academy staff.
Alongside our social and wellbeing initiatives, we are also nominated for Best Brand Activation, which is rooted in our Academy Programme. Created for school leavers aged 16-18, the programme offers the pupils a chance to study and remain in full-time education whilst also furthering their passion and developing their skills within the world of football. Our partnership with SCL Education runs in parallel with training at our first-class facilities at Stoneham Lane Football Complex, and our unique programme covers a broad range of areas from marketing and finance to football development, discipline and safeguarding.
The challenge for Hampshire FA and specifically for the in-house Marketing & PR Manager, Emma Allen, was to adapt the existing Hampshire FA brand to match the appearance of a professional club and consequently attract new students to the programme based on the truly professional experience that it aims to deliver. As the programme was in its pilot year, there was no pre-existing library of media assets available, which made matters significantly more challenging, especially in the face of its competitors.
Additionally, there was no professional/First Team in place to support any form of content creation. The Brand Lead, therefore, devised a comprehensive strategy that sought to obtain and utilise HD photography, videography, drone footage and other marketing collateral to create an attractive, eye-catching brand consistent with the existing Hampshire FA brand. This can be seen on the Academy's social media channels. Follow them on Twitter (@AcademyHFA) & Instagram (@Hampshire_FA).
Our academy now benefits from the credibility associated to Hampshire FA’s existing brand, while portraying a more youthful and exciting brand identity that is compatible with and appeals to our target demographic (16–18-year-old students).
The Hampshire FA Academy will this season also welcome a new group of female students to the programme showing its continued growth and development, paving pathways for the future generation of footballers to excel.
We firmly believe in the power of football as a force of good, both on and off the pitch and the Football Business Awards is a fantastic way of recognising this. As they have stated, “Football isn’t all about glitz and glamour. It’s about hard work, preparation, and dedication. It’s about the organisation, planning, and resourcefulness of the off-pitch teams, which allows extraordinary things to take place on the pitch. It’s about connection and commitment to communities.” and we remain committed to that very ethos.
The 2022 Football Business Awards will be held on 27th May 2022 at The Brewery London.
If you are interested in partnership with Hampshire FA, please don’t hesitate to contact our team today for a no-obligation, informal discussion on all available opportunities.
If you are struggling or know someone who is struggling with their mental health, be it an adult or a child, please reach out to organisations such as the Havant & East Hants Mind charity who can help.
Article produced by The Typeface Group and edited by Hampshire FA