Grecians one of forty-four successful clubsEXETER CITY have been awarded the Football League Family Excellence Award for the 2015/16 season.
Created in 2007, the Award recognises the outstanding experience provided by clubs for young fans and families as part of a scheme that won the Gold Award at the European Professional Football Leagues’ Best Practice Awards.
A total of forty-four clubs from across all three divisions of The Football League have been given the Award for 2016, with a significant increase in the benchmark standard being applied by the judging panel. More than ever this year, Football League clubs are providing families with engaging family areas and offering innovative matchday entertainment that delivers a money-can’t-buy experience for young fans.
With an increase in the number of juniors and families now attending matches around the country this is both testament to clubs’ work to attract them, and an indication of the challenge and importance of retaining them for generations to come.
In achieving the award, Exeter City have been recognised as offering superb entertainment for families at St James Park throughout the 2015/16 season, engaging with young fans and families through such initiatives as the ‘Kids in Charge’ event which featured forty-four children shadowing match-day responsibilities from junior chairman to junior car park attendant. This season also saw the launch of the club’s ‘Here to Help’ Ambassador service outside the stadium, making the match-day experience easy for first-time family visitors.
Exeter City are proud to have achieved the Family Excellence Award this season, and chairman Julian Tagg is keen to stress the importance of ensuring the club engages with the next generation of supporters.
Julian said: “The whole club is delighted to be recognised for its hard work in making sure young fans and families have the best possible experience at Exeter City, and ultimately become the future fans of the club. Unfortunately, we lost the accreditation last year, but we have won it in back in style this year; being awarded automatically. Key individuals at the club have worked tirelessly to win the award back, and my thanks goes out to them.”
As well as winning back the Family Excellence title, Exeter City also received nominations in two further awards. Firstly, the Read About it Award, in recognition of the free children's Roar programme, produced by Football in the Community’s Junior Grecians group with the support of Active Devon. The second nomination was for the "Friendliest Club", recognised for the hard work of the stewards in the Stagecoach Family Stand in making families feel welcome at the Newport County AFC fixture in February.
In announcing the successful clubs, Football League Chief Executive Shaun Harvey, said: “The Football League Family Excellence Award continues to provide clubs with a standard to aspire to. The objective of the Award is to recognise those clubs who have successfully attracted more families and young fans to matches.
“Innovation is at the heart of clubs’ success, and our partnership with both Channel 5 & Nickelodeon (Nick Kicks) is part of our central contribution in supporting clubs’ work in this important area by increasing the profile of our games among the next generation of fans.”
Six clubs have secured the Award in every year they have been eligible to receive it - Doncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Ipswich Town and Milton Keynes Dons, Cardiff City and Reading. Wigan Athletic has been awarded the accolade for the first time.
The Award recipients are decided by an independent assessment using real families that has been commissioned by The Football League, at all seventy-two League clubs, during the 2015/16 season.
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