Director's Strategic Report
The Albion Foundation uses the power of football to make a measurable, positive difference, growing and fulfilling potential in local people of all ages, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds.
We pride ourselves on developing and nurturing our staff to live by our core values, be happy in their work and be proud to deliver the highest quality provision in four key areas of Education, Engagement, Sport Development & Disability Sport.
We are recognized locally and nationally for our valued partnerships which tackle key issues and truly inspire our participants to achieve.
The quality of our work and the impact we achieve enables us to create surplus funds which are reinvested to give back and provide more opportunities to change lives for the most deprived as we connect West Bromwich Albion Football Club to its community.
We employ 68 full-time and 90 part-time staff whose aim is to 'Inspire to Achieve' on a daily basis.
We have a clear vision for the future of the Foundation where we strive to be recognised as the best deliverer of education, engagement, sport development and disability sport activities in the country.
You can find our key focus areas of work below.
The Albion Foundation Education Site is the focal point of our educational offer. We are an alternative education provider commissioned by local schools to work with pupils that are on the verge of being, are already, excluded from mainstream provision.
September 2017 saw our Deputy Director, Allison Tripney, leave the Foundation after 13 years of outstanding service. Allison had been the pioneer and driving force behind our education offer. However, Anna Pincher has done a brilliant job to step up and build on Allison's legacy in her role as Head of Education & Safeguarding.
The creation of an Educational Board, skilfully and astutely led by our Strategic Education Consultant, Mike Wilkes, has also been a very positive addition.
This year we have been commissioned by 34 (2017:20) schools and 72 (2017:89) pupils have attended the school. The attendance of pupils has been 84% (2017:76%), 97% (2017:35%) have returned to mainstream and the remaining 3% (2017:65%) remain with us or have been moved on to a more suitable provider.
The strategy to work with less students but in a more concentrated and focused manner has seen significant improvement in attendance and more importantly re-integration in to mainstream.
Complementing this provision is our outreach partnership work in schools which improve attendance, provide mentoring, supporting behaviour and improving attainment through classroom delivery.
We target children in care or foster homes, deploying Inspire Coaches full time in to schools to add value to both the curriculum and out of hour's provision. We have worked with 887 pupils (Target: 440) on Inspire and 92 pupils (Target: 80) on our Looked after Children Programme.
Our Enterprise programme, engaged 413 pupils (Target 450) and worked with 11 schools (target 10).
Premier Works worked with a cohort of 44 (Target 20), of these 28 found a positive outcome, 42 gained a qualification in personal and social skills and we provided 30 hours of work experience to 41 participants.
Up Front Positive Well has engaged with 271 participants, 13 staff have been upskilled in Mental Health First Aid. Our Family Support and Intervention Worker has supported 13 participants and their families. Family income has been increased by an average of £29,920 per year overall while eight families have been rehoused. Impact star is used with each young person and family to measure the impact.
Due to securing a significant grant from the Big Lottery we split Education & Engagement to create a stand-alone Engagement department led by Hayley James who was promoted from within the organisation.
The team provide free out of hours youth provision across the six towns of Sandwell building on the embedded success of our Kicks programme which provides a range of positive activities, working in partnership with the local police to deliver these programmes in identified anti-social behaviour hot-spots.
We surpassed all targets and engaged with 2351 (2017: 1435). We were tasked with targeting the 14+ age group and reached 582 (2017: 690) and females 146 (2017: 202). We engaged with 29 volunteers (2017: 58), ran 18 competitions (2017: 28) and had participants gain 12 qualifications (2017: 22).
Other Engagement projects saw @Youth Sandwell engage with 5291 (Target : 5000) young people aged 10-17 within its first year of operation, through out of schools hours core programmes, holiday activities, events and schools Baggies Beat – British Heart Foundation CPR training. Similarly, Go Play engaged with children 1243 (Target: 1000) and young people aged 6-10 within its funding cycle in Smethwick alone.
We provide high quality adapted sports coaching and develop personal relationships by motivating, inspiring and raising the aspirations of the children with disabilities and learning difficulties.
We have been able to expand our programmes in to Dudley, Birmingham and Worcestershire in the last 12 months working with 1825 (2017: 1727) people with disabilities and or learning difficulties.
We worked with on average 850 (2017:800) people with disabilities and or learning difficulties on a weekly basis. We had 240 (2017: 228) members of WBA FC Disability, worked in 7 (2017:7) special schools, and with 22 (2017: 19) special education units in mainstream schools.
We work closely with Sandwell Adult Services and local Day Care Centres to provide similar opportunities for adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. As part of this partnership we have been able to use the superb bespoke facilities at The Portway Centre which is a leisure centre adapted for all forms of disability.
We ran six Primary School SEN festivals engaging with 24 primary schools and 200 children at each festival, three secondary festivals and 60 children at each.
We had 700 attendances for our TAF SEN Multi-sports camps throughout the year, we ran three focus days per year for following: Pan Adult, Pan Jr, deaf/CP/VI under 16, Amputee, Blind, and Girls 14+. and we ran 30 days of camps with 60 people attending each day.
Further progression for our participants is to then play and represent West Bromwich Albion at regional, national and international level through our WBA FC Disability team's model. We have 19 disability teams, a blind team, an amputee team, six powerchair teams, 8 pan senior teams, pan ladies team and two pan junior teams.
We are able to provide opportunities for all ranges of abilities providing recreational and social opportunities and elite coaching and competition with currently nine international athletes representing their country.
We also ran The West Midlands Centre for talented and gifted footballers aged between 8 and 16 who have Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Impairments or Visual Impairments. We have continued with Albion Cares, a project to encourage adults with learning disabilities and learning difficulties in to employment. We now have six contracted members of staff within our team with a disability. WBA FC provide twp placements within Club departments to add to the existing support, we have a further five participants working alongside us in schools.
We have developed strong partnerships with a number of schools to deliver a comprehensive and concentrated programme of delivery that compliments the national curriculum. The key focus is on developing lasting relationships within the school that will enable real progress over a period of time.
Last year we worked in partnership with 153 (2017:163) schools, with 15,445 (2017:14,756) pupils, delivering 131 collapsed curriculum days, (2017:76).
We delivered a Post 16 Football Development programme with schools and colleges which had 212 (2017:143) students participate.
Our aim is to inspire a love of sport for all the children we work with and provide as many opportunities out of school for them to develop their skills.
Our focus is on football development and we have a structured pathway of opportunity where every child can find their level and we work closely with local clubs and other sports to signpost children. From age 3 upwards there are programmes that culminate in our Player Development Centre's which then lead to the West Bromwich Albion Academy.
Last year we worked with 255 (2017:223) players in our football centres, 902 (2017: 957) in our Player Development Centre's and of these 82 (2017:80) received a trial with WBA FC's elite squad, 22 (2017:15) progressed to the Club's Development Centre, 5 (2017:3) of which have signed for the WBA Academy. In addition, the transition of players from Academy to the Foundation and back to the Academy is 24 (2017:31).
This pathway is replicated for girl's football development as we provide through our WBA FC Women & Girls model a girl's regional talent club at ages 10 to 16 and a Women's first team playing in the Women's Northern Premier League. We also provided a Senior Development Squad this season.
We worked with 512 (2017:394, 2016:520) girls in our community sessions, and had 108 (2017:103, 2016:93) girls and women representing WBA FC Women & Girls.
We continue to develop our pathway of opportunity for basketball with our WBA FC Basketball development. We currently have a Men's first team who were promoted to the English Basketball Division 3, Women's first team, national age groups at Under 16 and Under 18 and Regional age groups from 14 to 19.
We worked with 701 (2017:491) participants in our grassroots PL4S basketball programme, had 17 (2017:15) students on our elite basketball performance programme in partnership with Dudley College and 82 (2017:70) players representing WBA FC Basketball.
We continuing to deliver coaching camps and coach education workshops in India, Nigeria, Sweden, Iceland, Ireland, China and Canada. New programmes are now operational in South Africa and Uganda as we begin to make strides in the African continent.
The programme has enabled us to expand the reach of the Foundation and the Football Club, provided excellent staff professional development and rewards whilst specifically in India and Kenya impacting on Corporate Social Responsibility agendas.
Events and Fundraising
This year saw the following highlights:
487 runners took part in the Blind Dave Colour Run.
27 cyclists completed the Baggies Bike Challenge from Swansea to The Hawthorns cycling a total of 175 miles.
Bob Taylor Fans Forum with over 60 people in attendance launching our very own "Pale Ale" in partnership with Blind Monkey.
Musician and Foundation member of staff ran a music evening in aid of The Albion Foundation.
Foundation Ambassador 'Blind Dave' Heeley embarked on a challenge to complete all The Great Runs, ending with a run in Ethiopia.
6th annual Foundation Golf Day at Edgbaston Golf Club.
Secured headline sponsor Bache Pallets and partner sponsors BHP Design & West Midland Railways.
Albion Cares Day v Swansea City featuring our Pan junior footballers playing Swansea City disability teams at half-time as part of a VIP Day.
All of the above raised significant unrestricted funds and raised the awareness of the Foundation's work.
Progress in 2017 -2018
We have now completed Year 2 of our 3 Year Business Plan period and we have set the following Key Overarching Strategic Objectives:
Financial Viability & Sustainability Achieved
Our financial performance remains strong, surpassing our budget targets for the financial year and with a very positive and growing budget for 18-19 which we are confident we will achieve. This is despite the financial loss due to WBA FC losing Premier League status.
Long Term Facility Secured
The Football Club had shown a desire to allocate land within the Hawthorns Complex for a "Foundation Hub". Due to the difficult season for WBA FC which culminated in a change of leadership at both Club & Chair of Foundation and the relegation to the Championship these plans have been put on hold.
We are now scoping several smaller scale opportunities as close to the WBA FC ground as possible.
Club Relationships and Joint Initiatives Prosper and Grow
We have a very positive relationship with the Club. The change of leadership at the Club mid-season and subsequent changes to board structure and meetings mean the Foundation no longer sits at this strategic level.
The Club supported and financed a BAME initiative to improve diversity of staffing and the fan base. This initiative involved work domestically and in the Punjab, India and the foundations have been laid but this will be a long term strategy, unfortunately the ongoing funding for this is unsecured.
The Club has provided financial support as we have created a new legal entity for West Bromwich Albion FC Women which now sits outside of the remit of the Foundation.
Our joint work within Media has been a great success, our media team have produced some wonderful content and with the support of the Football Club the profile of the Foundation has increased significantly to a number of different stakeholders.
Further Development of a First Class Culture & Ethos
We continue to strive "to be the best" and acknowledge our staff are key to this. We have developed a number of health and well-being support mechanisms, a team and individual celebration and reward programme, invested further in CPD and the amount of inset time.
Clear Strategic Direction and Vision and Contribution from Trustees
Despite losing the Chair of the Trust in February 2018 the trustee board has been strengthened significantly and we are delighted to now have Peter Band as the new Chair. The introduction of a "Success Criteria" which runs through all strategic and operation plans has enabled the Board to hold the Director to account in a much more focused and quantifiable manner.
Chair of Trust's Closing Comment
I am delighted to have taken on the position of Chair of the Board of Trustees recently. I have been very impressed with all facets of the Foundation's work. The statistics in this report speak for themselves but even more impressive is the individual stories of real positive difference that we are making on a daily basis.
2017-2018 overall has been another excellent year of growth and development despite a difficult year for the Football Club and I am excited with our plans and confident we will deliver on them in the coming 12 months.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners, sponsors, trustees, donors, volunteers and an extra special thanks to the team of staff for their outstanding contribution once again.
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