Community Focus: Dagenham and Redbridge FC
Dagenham and Redbridge FC (The Daggers) are committed to being at the heart of the Local Community and the club is more than just football.The clubs Club House in Victoria road is the base for a number of community organisations and groups including The Royal Naval Association, The Diabetes support group, Roding Karate Club, the Dunkirk Veterans, Petite Dance School and The Deaf society to name just a few. The club is also used by the Blood Donation service who hold regular Blood Donor sessions at the club; the next session being on the 16th April and again on the 13th June. The club also support local good causes by donating use of its function halls at a reduced rate and by donating tickets and merchandise to groups to use in Raffles etc. The club allows a limited number of bucket collections at its home games and over the past two seasons over £5,000 has been raised for local causes in this way. The Dagenham and Redbridge Community Trust was established in October 2010 to support the clubs community activities and is a registered charity. The Trust provides a number of Community activities for the community and these include:-
The Senior Daggers session is an activity session for people aged 50+. Held at the club on a Tuesday afternoon between 1pm and 3pm the session provides a keep fit and chair aerobics session led by a qualified instructor , followed by a game of bingo and other activities including board games, wii fit , New age Kurling and general socialising. Sponsored by Essex and Suffolk Water, it costs members just £2 a session. As well as the activities on occasions the group share a meal together and individuals have benefitted from the support mechanism within the group.
The Mini Daggers helps the younger members of the community, run for those young people aged 4-7 the session teaches them about team participation, healthy eating and exercise. Healthy eating is especially important in the current climate with many children being considered ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’. The course includes 45 minutes activity, which improves balance, hand eye co-ordination, general fitness and ball skills. This is then followed by the youngsters preparing and enjoying a healthy snack. The six week course costs £12 and all the children have fun and learn with perks such as player attending the session and talking to the youngsters.
During school holidays the Trust runs soccer schools for young people aged 7 to 16. The schools take place at various venues and are aimed at the young people having fun as well as improving their overall football skills. The youngsters get the chance to meet the first team as well as being coached by qualified coaches. Costs for each soccer school vary dependant on the number of days and hours the soccer school run for but costs are kept to a minimum to ensure that the schools are as accessible to as many people as possible.
The club have been part of the nationwide Kickz programme for the past 8 years. Kickz provides free football coaching and other activities for young people aged 12 – 18 3 nights a week. The participants also have the opportunity to take part in workshops covering topics as wide as sexual Health and Knife Crime through to Healthy Eating. The Sessions take place at Eastbrook School on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 5pm and 7pm.
As part of the work with the Football League Trust the Community Trust delivers a number of educational programmes in local schools. Over 2500 10 and 11 year olds have been through a one hour lesson on Respect. The session included some homework about Respect in the community and the club provided complementary tickets to all those that completed the home work.The Trust successfully bid to be part of the ‘What’s Your Goal’ Programme and provided a lesson on applying for jobs and offered 5 work placements during the Easter holidays for local youngsters to apply for. This is in addition to the work experience schedule that the trust already has with local schools which has seen 29 work experience placements offered over the last two seasons to pupils across Barking and Dagenham and Havering. Work Experience
The Daggers try to support as many locals as they can. The aim of all the programmes the club offers is to not only create a future generation of Daggers fans, but also to give back and help some of the most vulnerable of the local community. This is done not only with the clubs own initiatives but assisting the Football League with their efforts to engage and make football accessible to everyone. Special events
The club recognises its role as a community leader and uses the power of football to promote community cohesion and to support community campaigns. For the fourth year running the club run its award winning Daggers against Racism Family Funday.
The fun day sees the club drastically reduce ticket prices for the game with tickets starting at just 50p making the day available to a wide sector of the community.
The day won a Football League Award for Social Inclusion and attracted extensive media coverage in both the national press and on Television.
In addition to this the club support Campaigns such as Kick It Out, Show Racism the Red Card, Football Versus Homophobia, and charity events such as Movember.
Members of the 1st team and the academy will go out and support community events and local activities.
The players will also visit the locals Children’s wards at both King Georges and Queens in the run up to Christmas to spread some Christmas cheer and talk to youngsters and their parents.