Bristol City Community Trust are launching 7 new player development centres at a number of locations across Bristol starting in the new year. These centres are fully inclusive and for those children that play in clubs and want extra training sessions or those that just want to play football in a fun environment. For more information please visit the Player Development section of the website or click on the link Player Development Centre Booking Form . Numbers will be limited so send in your booking forms as soon as possible to secure your place.
Bristol City FC and Mr B & Friends launch new community brand – The Drum
City give away shirt sponsorship to community trust – Football Trade Directory
Bristol City footballers sew quilt for Bristol City Community Trust – Guide2Bristol
David James backs Bristol City community programme – Bristol 247
It’s for that reason the club has taken this bold move to hand over shirt sponsorship for the 2011/12 away shirt to the Trust.
David Lloyd, Head of the Community Trust, says: “This is a brilliant chance to publicise our work, and everyone at Bristol City Community Trust is grateful to the football club for passing up the opportunity to earn some commercial revenue from a shirt sponsorship deal.
“I think it shows real commitment from the club, and demonstrates how important the Board feels our work is in terms of the club’s future development.
“It gives us the ideal platform for players, staff, local businesses and supporters to play their part in cementing Bristol City Football Club’s place at the very heart of the local community.”
Chief executive Guy Price said:
“Bristol City is also a football club that has its roots firmly in the local community.
“We are part-and-parcel of people’s, families’ and business’ everyday lives, so it is just as exciting that we can put the community, in the form of the new Bristol City Community Trust, on the front of next season’s away shirt and therefore right at the heart of what we do!”
The Bristol City Study Centre has really made a difference to the lives of thousands of young people over the last 10 years. Jodie Gardiner is just one of its success stories.
Jodie first came to the Study Centre when she was 15. She was considering a career as a teacher, but was low on confidence, and wasn’t sure she had what it took:-
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“I went to Hartcliffe school, which didn’t have a great reputation. People kept telling me it was a bad school, and the thought of doing what I needed to do to get into University was quite frightening. I wasn’t sure I could get the GCSE’s and A levels that I needed.
But everyone at the Study Centre was really positive. They took a real interest in me and got me involved in what they were doing right from the start. They never questioned my ability and kept telling me I was going to be an excellent teacher. That really rubbed off on me. My parents and teachers were very supportive too, but it was the staff at the Study Centre who really made the difference.
They had such enthusiasm, passion and respect for each other and the students. And they didn’t just get me making the tea which can happen on work experience. They got me fully involved in the classroom, and by the end of the week I thought, ‘I want to be teachers like them’”
For the next couple of years, Jodie carried on helping out at the Study Centre, helping deliver fun matchday packages for young people and their families. She went from strength to strength at school , and soon got the exam results she needed. By now she had decided she really wanted to be a teacher:
“Thanks to the staff at the Study Centre I had gained the confidence I needed, and I knew that I could do it”.
She applied to train as a teacher at Bath Spa University and is currently more than half way through her course. And she’s really clear who she has to thank.
“My time at the Study Centre was the best thing I have ever done. I can’t imagine not having been there – it was like it was made for me. All the staff there really made me believe in myself. They have made me the person that I am and the teacher I hope to become”.
When you see the look in the eyes of Billy and Sam Downes as they pass the ball to each other across the hallowed Ashton Gate pitch, it’s clear to see what the twin brothers are focusing all their attention on these days – football.
For former Scotland international Tommy Hutchison, who has headed up Bristol City’s Football In The Community project for a decade, the success of the siblings marks a personal achievement every bit
as important as his 17 caps for Scotland, and his matches in the 1974 World Cup.
The twins come from a disadvantaged Bristol estate, and throughout their childhood, they appeared as if they could go off the rails.
There was a time when they paid little attention to their teachers or parents when it came to matters of discipline, but under Tommy’s wing, the lads have taken their first steps to becoming qualified football coaches. The former Coventry City, Blackpool and Swansea City midfielder first met the Downes twins when they were nine.
“Billy and Sam had plenty to say for themselves. They were cheeky and streetwise,” he says. “They are from a very deprived area of Knowle West. When I first went out there, it was to work with the police on a footballing project, to get up to 40 kids off the streets and into sport. But on my first visit to the local playing field on the estate we had to pick up 650 druggies’ needles, just to
make the pitch safe to play on.
“Some of the youngsters continued making a nuisance of themselves, but the vast majority of them were transformed when they had football to focus on.
“Billy and Sam were particularly decent footballers. The twins stopped causing trouble because they became engrossed in their football. They knew that if they messed about, they wouldn’t play.”
Hutchison lost touch with the Downes brothers in their early teens after the scheme he was running at the time had its funding scrapped by the Government.
He said: “These were two kids who were back on course to become a problem in the area.
“They went to school when they felt like it and were causing a lot of bother when they turned up. It was a real shame that the project that was doing them some good, was removed from under them because of a lack of funding.
“After that I’d only occasionally see them around, and I often wondered how they were getting on. They left Hartcliffe School as early as they could, and had been unemployed ever since.”
But then the twins approached Hutchison to ask if they could work alongside him again. The impact was immediate.
“I said to them, ‘You can come back but if you cause problems you are finished’,” Tommy recalls.
“They were two of the worst boys in Bristol at the time, but they have been as good as gold with me – maybe because they know what I’m like.
“A couple of times they have slipped back into lazy mode but the one thing that has impressed me is that they are trying.
“I was waiting for them to crack, but they haven’t. They have been very good. They know better than to be nothing other than polite.” Now Billy and Sam have joined Hutchison in spreading the word about football at schools in Bristol and the role it can play in combating crime and social deprivation. Sam said: “We both wanted to work in football, so we knew that this was our big chance to make a real go of it.”
But Billy says coaching a pitch full of youngsters that can be as naughty and cheeky as they once were is a daunting task.
“I think we were both a bit nervous about coaching the lads at first,” he said. “But you do get into it. The youngsters listen, because they know we’ve got something that we can teach them now.”
Tommy takes great pride in how the Downes twins have turned their lives around.
“When the penny drops, like it did with Sam and Billy, that’s when I get my kicks,” he says.
“Football in the Community is all about trying to get these kids off the streets. We use football to educate these youngsters, which is different to teaching them football.
“Kids can blame the area they are from, their parents or their teachers. At the end of the day they have to look at themselves.
“You can either go the right way or the wrong way. Billy and Sam have shown it can be done.”