Greg Baker, who runs Saints Foundation, the club’s charitable organization, introduces us to its work, aims, history and the life-changing impact it has across the Southampton area…
As Head of Saints Foundation and Community Partnerships at Southampton FC, I’m delighted to kick off a series of pieces on the work of the charity, written exclusively for SaintsWorld. Over the coming months you’ll be hearing from a number of members of our team, who will give you an insight into the work that they and their teams do, which is helping to change the lives of hundreds of people across our local community every single day.
By way of background, we started out as Saints in the Community in 2001, before being established as a registered charity in 2010, at which point our name was changed to Saints Foundation. Since that point, we have gone from strength to strength, developing and growing year on year to the point where today we employ more than 60 full-time members of staff, as well as around 40 casual workers, and turnover about £3 million per year. Our funds are generated through grants, including from Southampton Football Club and the Premier League, sponsorship, coaching income, fundraising challenges and the never-ceasing support of a huge number of individuals and businesses from across Hampshire. If you are one of those that has already supported us, then huge thanks to you!
Over the season, our team will provide more detail of the life-changing work that they do, but in order to help set the scene and whet your appetite, it is worth me outlining the basics. As such, we support young people and adults across the local community in a number of ways, including:
Through Primary Stars, we work with children in 16 primary schools across the city to help improve their numeracy, literacy and emotional wellbeing.
Working in partnership with six city secondary schools, Community Champions provides support to young people who are struggling within mainstream education, as well as offering a diverse range of sporting activities each evening.
We currently have more than 120 students enrolled on our Education programme, across sites at St Mary’s Stadium, Salisbury, Fleet and the Isle of Wight.
Delivered in partnership with the Society of St James, Saints4Sport offers support to adults going through some of life’s biggest challenges to get their lives back on track.
SaintsAbility and the Hampshire Pan Disability Football League offer young people and adults living with both physical and cognitive disabilities the chance to play football on a regular basis.
Through Generation Gains, we engage with up to 400 isolated adults over the age of 65 each week, offering core stability exercise sessions that help reduce the risk of falls.
Through the work of our Football & Sports Development team, we offer young people the chance to develop their football skills in a fun and friendly environment, with a chance for those with the required talent to progress into our Advanced Coaching Centres.
There are a number of ways for fans and other members of the local community to get involved in our work, be that through volunteering or by taking part in one of our many exciting and diverse fundraising events. Whether you fancy testing your knowledge of the club at Matt Le Tissier’s Big Saints Quiz on Thursday 18th October, or – like the ever eager and supportive Rob from SaintsWorld – want to get those legs moving by taking part in the ABP Southampton Half Marathon in April, there is something for everyone. To find out more about these events and what else we are up to, please sign up for our monthly newsletter here: https://southamptonfc.com/saints-foundation/sign-up-for-saints-foundation-newsletter
I hope you enjoyed this brief insight into our work, and I look forward to members of our team sharing more with you across the year!