Charity status is helping Enfield Town FC’s community arm do more for local people, writes Andrew Warshaw
Enfield Town FC has broken significant new ground by separating out its community work from the running of the football club.
An independent company – Enfield Town FC Community Sports Development – was established in 2017. It has now been granted charity status, enabling it to apply for various types of grants and funding.
In recent years, thanks to the efforts of the football club’s board of directors and a string of volunteers, the club has slowly but surely built up its community role, in line with its vision of being an inclusive club for all and a football and social centre for the community.
A series of events are now planned, including a fundraising dinner. Enfield Town vice-chairman Paul Millington believes the charity will have a big impact on the lives of young people living in Enfield. Until now, the club pretty much had to funded coaching sessions by themselves, with the help of a couple of generous local benefactors. But they have wanted to do far more – and now they can.
“Here at Enfield Town we have always wanted to do more than just pay lip service to saying that we are a community club,” Paul told the Dispatch. “We found that the key to doing that was becoming a charity.
“There have been many hoops to go through. We had, for instance, to satisfy the Charity Commission that the money raised goes to various charitable causes – in our case sporting activities for the residents of Enfield.
“We have to abide by a strict set of rules in terms of how we use or money. The process took almost a year but the perseverance has paid off.
“It’s a significant move for us. We’ve always prided ourselves on being owned by our supporters but this takes us to the next level, helping those who are disadvantaged, either mentally or physically.”
It will also, crucially, have the effect of attracting funds from organisations who would be more likely to donate to a registered charity. Already the club is considering asking top-flight clubs across the country to donate signed shirts.
“The first question we get asked is what is our charitable registration number,” explained Paul. “As soon as you give that, it makes a difference. The benefits are huge. ”
Having a charity arm is reasonably common at professional clubs, but not necessarily at non-league level. One immediate knock-on effect could be to assist funding the club’s disability squad to take part in a tournament in May. It is being held in Gladbach – which happens to be twinned with Enfield.
Paul adds: “We are looking to raise £3,000 and are just now kicking off that appeal.”