Welcome to Vale in the Community
Fewer people attending live matches and a rise in hooliganism in the mid 1980's highlighted the need professional football club's to forge closer links to their communities. This led to a pilot scheme in 1986 introduced by the FFE&VTS (Footballers Further Education and Vocational Training Society), this took place in the North West of England and comprised of six participating club's. Funding for this pilot venture was made available from Central Government via the Manpower Services commission this community initiative.
The Aims and Objectives of the scheme were:
To promote closer links between Professional Football Club's and the community.
To involve minority ethnic groups in social and recreational activities.
To attempt to prevent aspects of hooliganism and vandalism.
To maximise the use of facilities at the football club.
The pilot proved to be a major success and by the end of 1990 a total of 50 club projects had become operational, the vast majority of the funds available at this time to run the projects was still from Central Goverment.
However generous and important additional funding from the Football Trust was made available in 1991 which enabled the scheme to support a three year Business Plan for the period 1991 to December 1993, this had an immediate impact by increasing the number of projects from 50 to 100 nationwide.
A further Business Plan for the period 1994 to 1996 was later agreed which incorporated new funding from the FFE&VTS and Pizza Hut UK, it wasnt long before community officers across the country were championing the Pizza Hut slogans "Hit the Hut" and "Just Join in".
Football in the Community at Vale Park began in 1988 with former Vale goalkeeper Alex Williams in the role as Community Officer, he left the scheme after twelve months to join Manchester City, six officers managed the Vale scheme in the period 1988 to 1993.
On April 3rd 1993 Jim Cooper was appointed as Community Officer, his first task was to stabilise the finances of the scheme as it was perilously close to liquidation, then to further develop it to meet the needs of the club and the community.
1988 Port Vale FC Football in the Community Scheme was founded and operated from a portakabin located alongside the Lorne Street Stand.
1993 Jim Cooper was appointed as the 6th Community Officer, the scheme now operated from a small brick building Entrance D which has since been converted into the ticket office.
1996 Due to the success of the community scheme Port Vale Football Club provide a new purpose built community building located Entrance C Hamil Road car park, resources included a classroom, sportshall, office and male/female changing facilities.
1996 Jim Cooper created the first Port Vale FC club mascot, he was a six foot two staffordshire bull terrier named Boomer and was unleashed upon an unsuspecting Vale Park crowd on Boxing Day he is still a fans favourite!
2003 Port Vale FC Football in the Community Scheme achieve Charitable status, one of the first Football in the Community Schemes in the country to do so.
2003 Boomers Childcare Club was formed to provide out of school childcare for 8 to 14 year old boys and girls during holiday periods, one of only three facilities based at a football club in the country, a successful funding bid was made to the Big Lottery to provide funding to establish a multi sports setting.
2003 Brendon Daniels from Smallthorne represented Port Vale FC Football in the Community Scheme in the Smoby National Table Football Championship Final staged at Elland Road home of Leeds United, from an initial entry of 10,000 children nationwide he won the competition, he was also two years younger than the other competitors!
2005 Boomers Club achieves the Aiming Higher Award for quality delivery in childcare, the club is assessed on 14 exacting standards.
2005 Port Vale FC Football in the Community are invited to London to be presented with a Global Ethics Award for their "its not as simple as Black and White" anti racism project. This was developed following discussions between Community Manager Jim Cooper and New Vic Borderlines Director Sue Moffatt. Workshops, scripts and actors were provided by the New Vic, the play was viewed locally by 7,000 people and went on to be performed in the Houses of Parliament thanks to supporting interest from Stoke North MP Joan Walley, this was a first for any football club.
2005 Port Vale FC Football in the Community Scheme was awarded Charter Standard status by the Football Association for quality delivery and safeguarding children in attendance on Community scheme holiday courses.
2007 FFE&VTS close their office in Manchester and the Football League Trust become the new parent group for community schemes based at Football League Clubs, their aim was to promote best practice,raise standards and help to fund new innovative projects to meet the changing needs of the community.
2009 Port Vale FC Football in the Community implement a name change to become Port Vale FC Community Trust in recognition of its Charitable status and their new relationship with the Football League Trust.
2009 Port Vale FC Community Trust is awarded the Football League Trust Bronze accreditation for reaching 14 exacting standards designed to promote best practice and raise standards.
2012 Port Vale FC Community Trust achieves the new Fit for Purpose standard set for all Football League Clubs community schemes which is monitored and approved by the FA Premier League and Football League Trust.
2013 Port Vale FC Community Trust leaves its home in Hamil Road after 16 years to relocate in the Lorne Street VPEC Centre.
The importance of Sport in Education
Apart from the obvious health benefits gained from participating in sport at an early age, positive habits are formed which remain with you for life, other benefits include an undoubted improvement in social/communicative skills leading to greater opportunities for career progression in adult life.