Town to Launch New Community Trust
Thursday, 18th Apr 2019 16:06
The Blues have announced that they are close to launching a new Ipswich Town Community Trust.
The club severed links with the Ipswich Town Charitable Trust in November 2013 with that organisation continuing to exist under the name Inspire Suffolk with former Blues director of communications Terry Baxter its chief executive.
Town’s new venture, which won’t be linked to the previous trust, is close to being given the go-ahead. The Blues are currently the only club of the 92 in the Premier League and EFL not to have its own community trust.
“It is our intention to launch the Ipswich Town Community Trust and hopefully very soon,” general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill said.
“It’s a big part of the club going forward, to be in and around the community and doing more than we have done is huge.
“Me personally, having been in and around the education side of things [O'Neill worked as a teacher], I’ve seen how that has an impact on people’s lives.
“Looking at initiatives, whether that’s community engagement, education, health, all of those initiatives, the football club has a massive part to help deliver those for the local area.
“It’s our intention to work with the EFL, we’ve been in consultation with them about reigniting the Ipswich Town Community Trust and we hope to have some information very shortly on the official launch for that.
“But everything’s in place, we’ve been speaking to some key people, for example ex-captains of the club, Matt Holland, Carlos Edwards and Terry Butcher, as well as current captain Luke Chambers.
‘We’ve been speaking to a number of people who have all shown a real keen interest to help drive that community feel and, I won’t say bring the club back to the community, we were already there doing stuff, it’s just being more focused and having more emphasis around the local people in the local area.”
Norwich City have increased their involvement in schools in Suffolk over the last year or so, something which has been noted by Town supporters.
“It’s always something I’m trying to counteract!” O’Neill said when asked whether that's something Town will be looking to fight back against. “On a serious note, it is really important that we are a focal point in the local area and in schools.
“I’m not going to comment about Norwich or any other club, it’s about what we do and we haven’t done enough in that area, so that’s where need to be a focal point and make sure we get back into helping the schools to deliver these initiatives, whether that’s health, sport, education, and people see the badge in the school and want to be part of that and that will help both the supporters, the club and the environment of the local area.”
He added: “It will run along a dual pathway with the club. The club will have a major part in that process and steer it to get the football initiatives but not just football, sport in general and all the other things that we’re trying to do with it.”
He says existing programmes the club currently runs will come under the new Community Trust’s umbrella: “The elite, the PDP, we’ll look at the structure of how we do our recruitment process.
"They’ll all be looking to those areas to help emphasise what we’re trying to do going forward.”
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