Now we are halfway through the season it sometimes helps to reflect on where we have come from to where we are now. The RLHA Community Stand has gone from strength to strength in the last five months with the number of new visitors ever increasing. The Trust along with Paul Marcus of Eagle Radio have worked extremely hard in identifying and broadening the type of Community groups to invite to the games at the ESS Stadium.
The success over the last months has in some way contributed to the success on the pitch with the Community Stand giving the East Bank competition for the noise, this has added more atmosphere to the ground with the lads on the pitch now getting a noisy reception no matter what way they are kicking throughout the game. The Trust have taken feedback from all the groups that have been fortunate to be invited and as most of them have been new visitors to the ESS Stadium it was quite surprising the number of local people who had not attended the ground for a football match.
This was a prime motivator in spreading the word of the football club to a wider audience so that the club can build on future new supporters. Primarily the idea was to offer the tickets to disadvantaged groups as a Community initiative with the help of the local Police and Rushmoor Borough Council but with the word spreading very quickly the enquiries were increasing weekly. It was noticed from the enquiries that there was enormous potential to invite a wider base of people from further a field and in fact now groups from a far as Haslemere, Godalming, Alton and Woking are requesting the opportunity to become part of this Community project.
The club is providing very positive support in this programme as it has several benefits, we introduce new people to the world of local football, the information secured from the applicants goes to building a database for both club and the Trust and it gives an opportunity to some young and disadvantaged groups an opportunity for social interaction they would not normally receive.
This has all come about by local companies and the Trust investing in the original fund raising of debentures to support the club in purchasing the stand as was required by the Football League. There are still opportunities for more local companies to be involved in this project which is a very good way of them promoting their involvement in local community projects and enhancing their image.
The Trust are aiming to run a minibus to Barnet on 21st January. You can book online at www.theshotstrust.co.uk or contact Ian Goodwright on 07531 558141. Please note that bookings close 6.00 pm Sunday 19th January.
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Trust Director & Club Secretary