As the Chesterfield Community Trust reflects on a highly successful 12 months, we look back at some of the noteworthy achievements that have helped the improve lives of many people in the local community.
After the COVID-19 pandemic children were always going to face a tough academic year in 2021/22.
Working in new schools as well as continuing relationships with existing ones enabled us to impact over 3,000 children at sessions.
Our Premier League Primary Stars delivery increased with new projects working with Chesterfield College, writing letters to Cambodia, and including Chesterfield FC historical figures to enhance writing, along with our existing offer of reading, nutrition, and teacher CPD sessions. Owning Chesterfield FC has also enabled the Trust to benefit schools with stadium visits and community match tickets.
Camp Inspire is the Community Trust’s programme that provides holiday activities and meals for local children in need, including those receiving free school meals and those with additional needs.
Since its successful launch in 2020, the project has expanded to positively impact more lives in the community. Camp Inspire took place at Whittington Green School and Parkside Community School, accommodating over 300 children and young people who enjoyed daily hot meals and engaged in various sports activities, nutrition workshops, and enrichment sessions.
Collaborating with the Mercian Regiment, Dancedaze, and Chesterfield Boccia Club, we offered the children new and exciting experiences. Furthermore, in partnership with Derbyshire County Council and Street Games, we provided breakfast at Chester’s Den and delivered food, games, and recipe books to local households with the “Sliding in to 2022” sledges initiative.
As a Locally Trusted Organisation working with StreetGames, we aim to expand our reach and support more families in the community.
Partnerships – with Local Councils
The Community Trust’s acquisition of Chesterfield FC was partially attributed to their strong relationship with local and county councils. For nearly ten years, we have successfully collaborated with the Chesterfield Community Mental Health Team to operate the Active for Life Mental Health Project.
The A Spire Right addiction recovery program has received support from Derbyshire County Council, Growing Recovery Derbyshire, and Derbyshire Recovery Partnership for seven years.
This project was recognized as the Best Intervention Programme at the National League Awards.
This year, Derbyshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Chesterfield Borough Council Community Safety Team, and Chesterfield Police joined forces to address the growing issue of anti-social behaviour in Chesterfield.
The Boots on Ground youth engagement project, launched in April 2022, continues to be lauded as an innovative initiative with significant positive impact. Thanks to additional funding, fun Friday sessions were held throughout the summer in Queen’s Park.
Chester’s Den & Café
Chester’s Den is a unique soft play centre located within Chesterfield FC’s football stadium, providing a special experience for young fans.
It reopened fully in January 2022 after the Covid-19 pandemic, introducing a new menu that includes popular breakfast choices and an improved lunchtime offer.
The café, now serving fresh produce from Jacksons the Bakers, has become busier than ever. Birthday parties at Chester’s Den offer flexible options for parents.
Additionally, weekly neuro-diverse sessions and regular deaf-friendly activities for pre-school aged children are available. On matchdays, the HUB is a vibrant gathering place for both home and away supporters.
School Prescribing (Thr1ve)
In June 2021, social prescribing for children and young people was launched, aiming to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
A team consisting of four link workers, an occupational therapist, and a project manager collaborate to provide support for individuals aged 11 to 25. Derbyshire Community Health Service, Derbyshire Voluntary Action, Chesterfield Borough Council, and the Trust have established strong relationships to make social prescribing available to young people in Chesterfield.
This service offers social solutions for mild mental health concerns, providing an alternative to solely relying on medical prescriptions like antidepressants.
The Thr1ve program has been praised for its exceptional approach, and the team has been selected as finalists for the HSJ Awards in March 2023, recognizing their significant contribution to integrated healthcare.
Jayne Bacon, the chief operating officer, expressed gratitude to the young people who have entrusted the Thr1ve link workers and enabled them to embark on their journey.
The project’s innovation and national recognition are celebrated, with plans to expand social prescribing across a broader network in partnership with the Premier League Charitable Fund.
Premier League Kicks
Our Premier League Kicks project had a highly successful year during 2021-2022. We engaged with nearly 300 young people aged 8-18 in the Chesterfield area through our football, dance, and roller-skating sessions.
These weekly sessions are vital for building strong relationships with participants and parents/guardians.
Our goal is to create safe environments where young people can participate in sports, improve their mental and physical wellbeing, and build relationships with peers.
We have entered five teams from our PL Kicks delivery into tournaments and competitions, and our Girls Kickabout session attendees had the opportunity to voice their opinions at the Premier League Youth Summit.
PL Kicks also contributes to creating a safer, stronger community by building relationships, particularly with teenagers, and collaborating with local council, police, and social services to reduce anti-social behaviour.
Improving relationships with secondary schools is an area we aim to focus on in the next delivery year, incorporating them more into our PL Kicks program while continuing to enhance our current sessions.
Chesterfield FC – Junior & Youth Coaching
The Chesterfield FC Junior & Youth Academy has experienced significant growth in full-time players, with over 100 students now enrolled, representing a 100% increase from the previous year.
Additionally, the academy has over 20 players in the non-league player development system, complementing their weekend physical development activities with the full-time program. The academy also operates a European football player development system, with two players currently gaining experience in the Gibraltar Football League.
A newly formed women’s program has been launched, including a women’s team, women’s football & education team, U17/U18s women’s team, and U15/U16s women’s team.
The academy encompasses various age groups, from U7s to U23s, offering professionally structured training and games. The junior academy teams consist of over 250 players participating in a part-time training and games program.
Additionally, there are over 100 players in the ETC (Emerging Talent Centre) hubs, ranging from U7s to U14s. The youth team had a successful run in the FA Youth Cup, reaching the third round before narrowly losing to Port Vale.
The academy has educational partnerships with SCL, Outwood Academy, and Loughborough College. Full-time students actively participate in various Community Trust projects, including coaching and supporting events.
Walking Football has experienced significant growth locally and nationally, attracting more male and female players to join in the beautiful game.
Chesterfield FC Community Trust is the birthplace of walking football, invented by CEO John Croot. The BBC’s Mike Bushell even joined one of our sessions, featuring our Walking Footballers on BBC One on the day of the FA Cup draw against Chelsea.
Our Walking Footballers organized an Over 70s charity tournament, raising funds for Ashgate Hospice and the Disasters Emergency Committee for Ukraine.
They also participated in an exciting international tournament in Holland, the De Almelo City Cup. In 2022, the Trust launched Women’s Walking Football, with over 50 new participants trying the sport for the first time.
With a focus on Fun, Friendship, and Football, our Trust’s sessions attract over 100 people each week.
From overseas trips to charity tournaments and social events, Walking Football offers an inclusive and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Alternative Provision – With Education Team
Chesterfield FC Community Trust and TEAM Education Trust have been in partnership since December 2021, establishing TEAM Spireites Alternative Provision for children and young people aged 11-16. Currently, Team Spireites operates as a non-regulated program, providing part-time hours at the HUB for enrolled students from local secondary schools.
The partnership brings experienced teaching roles to develop the curriculum and aims to become OFSTED regulated.
TEAM Spireites takes a holistic approach to education, focusing on preparing students for a return to mainstream education if they are currently not attending.
The curriculum centres around sport, physical activity, team building, and resilience, with a focus on improving social, emotional, and mental health while incorporating the national curriculum.
The setting at the HUB provides an inspiring alternative to traditional school environments, offering access to the Sports Hall, Gym, and Chesterfield FC home fixtures, creating an inclusive and aspirational atmosphere.
Post-sixteen options within the HUB include BTEC Level 2 and 3 within the academy structure, catering to enthusiastic and aspiring footballers.
The curriculum also provides volunteering opportunities to enhance education, broaden horizons, and foster new experiences.
CFC First Team – Working Together
Since Chesterfield FC Community Trust took over the management of Chesterfield Football Club, there has been a closer collaboration with the first team players and coaches, who actively engage in the Trust’s work.
While Covid-19 limited in-person interactions, the players adapted and participated in virtual visits to various community groups.
They engaged in online Q&A sessions with Ashgate Croft School, joined calls with the Football for Life mental health team, and supported the Inspire Media Academy through interviews.
Additionally, players recorded video messages for supporters and actively participated in the Trust’s Be an Ally equality project and National Literacy Week, sharing their favourite childhood books.
Despite the circumstances, players and staff found time to deliver Christmas presents to Chesterfield Royal Hospital and Ashgate Hospice in December.
Moving forward, the aim is to continue this positive relationship and increase visits to local groups in the upcoming year.
The HUB at the Technique Stadium is fully accessible, equipped with a Changing Places facility, making it an ideal location for our PAN-Disability program.
PAN-Dance, in collaboration with Dancedaze, encourages children of all ages to explore dance, while PAN-Craft provides a space for creative and messy art activities.
PAN-Multisports offers a variety of sports each week, and PAN-Football provides inclusive training sessions with opportunities to join our Disability Under 12 or Under 16 squads.
Chester’s Den play centre hosts monthly sessions for neuro-diverse play, accessible crafts, and a deaf early year’s group.
Debbie Dance, a parent of two regular participants, expressed her gratitude for the programme, stating, “Finding opportunities for my children with complex additional needs has been challenging, but PAN-Dis has provided access to clubs and physical activities just like their peers.”