As you probably know, we’re always looking to promote Swindon Town Football Club within the local community, and our main focus is to help bring young families back into the County Ground.
Last week, we had a special afternoon in the company of Harry Toffolo and Sam Parkin, who joined us to visit three schools within the Town.
This supports our TrustSTFC vision of “Past, Present & Future” in that Sam represents ‘The Past’, Harry represents ‘The Present’, and the Children in the Schools represent ‘The Future’ of Swindon Town Football Club.
The first visit was to Nyland Campus, a primary school for children with social, emotional and mental health needs, and it was hugely rewarding for everyone involved.
We sent information about the players careers to all of the schools in advance, and they ensured that the children prepared really well for the visits, with some great questions coming from the kids during the Q&A sessions.
Our next stop was Lawn Primary School, where the main school hall was packed with students, and the players got a fantastic reception.
It was here that Trust Chair Steve Mytton gave Sam his TrustSTFC “Honorary Life Membership”. This award is reserved for the select few that we feel have given particularly special service to Swindon Town over the years. Sam has always been a great ambassador for the club, as well as a great player, and he is a deserving recipient.
Whilst we do see lots of Premier League shirts within the school communities, there was also a good spread of Swindon Town shirts at Lawn, and when we asked everyone in the room to stand up if they’ve ever been to a match at the County Ground, almost every student stood up, which was great to see.
One thing we like to encourage is our “1+1=2” concept, where we basically say to the kids that it’s fine to support a Premier League team, but you must also support your local team, and that always goes really well.
The kids at Lawn gave a massively enthusiastic cheer for Swindon Town, and once again we had some great football related questioning, as well as one or two unusual ones like “Do you like eggs?” that had the whole room laughing.
Our final visit of the day was to Orchid Vale Primary School, where Swindon Town Football in the Community were holding an after-school football training session.
Harry and Sam were brilliant throughout the whole afternoon, but it was particularly great to see them helping with the training, and playing alongside the young children in their five-a-side session. They were really positive and encouraging, and the kids responded to them brilliantly.
We finished off each visit with some photographs, and Mike Welsh, vice-Chair of the Trust, presented each school with “TrustSTFC School Membership” certificates, as well as two Swindon Town footballs, which they can use during lunch breaks and sports sessions.
The footballs were possible thanks to an anonymous local Swindon Town fan who gave us a personal donation of £500 just recently. These donations really help us spread the word in the most effective way, and are massively appreciated.
All in all, it was a tremendous afternoon, and we must thank both Harry and Sam for giving up their free time to help us spread the word, and encourage the youngsters interest in Swindon Town Football Club.
Super Sam also recorded some of the afternoon for BBC Wiltshire, including an interview with Harry which featured on their breakfast show.
Finally, we made a 20 minute video showing some scenes throughout the afternoon. It’s called “When Harry Met Sammy” and you can watch here: