Our Club, Our Community
Our Club, Our Community
Glentoran Football Club was formed in 1882 and has competed in senior football for its entire history.
Our Club is based in East Belfast but has a province wide reach. Our Academy draws young people from across Belfast and from every county in Northern Ireland. Our Club also has an active and highly successful Woman's squad and Academy. As an iconic feature of Our Community, The Bet McLean Oval is at the core of Our Club and with proposals for a new stadium under consideration will become the hub of Our Community initiatives.
Glentoran Football Club established the ‘Our Club - Our Community’ Programme with the aim to make a positive cultural, social and educational contribution through all facets of football.
IN 2017, the club embarked on the next phase of our journey with the creation of the Glentoran Social Partnership as a registered Charity. Working in partnership with our local community our ambitions are to deliver a wide range of initiatives to help address issues such as intercommunity prejudice, social inclusion, education and training as well as health and crime prevention.
It also works towards enhancing Glentoran’s relationships with its local community and help create an inclusive and family orientated atmosphere at Glentoran that promotes good relations in East Belfast and the community at large.
We have an integrated set of Club Policies which take account of the interdependencies of the various strands of Our Club Our Community
Glentoran Football Club Community Engagement Policy (extract)
The Overall Purpose of the Glentoran Community Engagement Strategy is to build or rebuild a vibrant community at different levels with the objectives of:
- Building a strong and vibrant community proactively engaged with and supporting the club personally and practically through active support, finance and volunteering.
- Engaging with the local community to pursue mutually beneficial activities in the areas of health & wellbeing, education & employability, sport and leisure as well as arts and social enterprise activities.
- Creating a ‘virtual Glentoran community’ through social media initially with Glentoran supporters and stakeholders but with a longer term view of building a wider fan base.
Glentoran Football Club Volunteer Policy (extract)
Glentoran like so many semi-professional clubs rely on the goodwill of supporters and their families to provide many of the essential services in the areas of administration, stewarding, merchandising and entertainment that enable the club to create a safe and welcoming environment for all fans.
A major force to keep the club going, has been the involvement of people from the community and further afield both on the playing side but perhaps more importantly from the many stalwarts who have held voluntary positions to help manage and attend to all of the tasks and duties required.
This is also reflected in our Community Engagement Strategy Policy which has been fully endorsed by the Chairman and Board as we seek to use our position of influence to engender harmonious community relations and to encourage the involvement of the community in activities beyond football such as health and social wellbeing, people in poverty, youth development and unemployment as well as associated historical aspects.
- GFC values the involvement of volunteers in our work as they help reflect the interests, needs and resources of the community we serve, and bring a unique perspective to all our work.
- GFC benefits from the skills, experience and enthusiasm of volunteers and we believe that volunteers should also gain personal benefit from the experience.
- GFC strives to create a diverse and inclusive organisation within a similar community. We are committed to ensuring equality of quality volunteer opportunities and equality of treatment for our volunteers in all our policies and practices
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
Club Secretary Ricky Rea and Superstore Manager Ruth McCreery receive the award
from Vice Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, Sir Nigel Hamilton.
In October 2018 Glentoran Football Club was formally presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The award was presented by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, Sir Nigel Hamilton at a ceremony kindly compered by Pete Snodden of Cool FM and attended by over 100 of our loyal volunteers in the Premier Lounge at the Oval. We ere supported on the day by many of our local representatives – East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson, Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long MLA, local Assembly members Chris Lyttle and Joanne Bunting and Belfast City Councillors George Dorrian, Michael Long, Peter McReynolds, Chris McGimpsey, Tom Haire, Sonia Copeland, Tommy Sandford and Jim Rodgers. Thanks also to Pete Snodden for compering the event so professionally.
Glentoran Football Club Communications Policy (extract)
The Overall purpose of the Communications Strategy is to provide effective communications to all of our stakeholders with the objectives to:
- Provide greater awareness and understanding of current activities and issues on an ongoing basis as well as build engagement in the Clubs future plans
- Ensure each of our stakeholder groups is provided with relevant information for them to increase their involvement and contribution to the future of Glentoran
- Receive feedback and ideas from relevant stakeholder groups to inform future plans and policies as well as the ongoing commercial viability of the Club
- Communicate and reach out through our community engagement strategy and building relationships with the community at large.
Our Club Our Community – Key stakeholders:
Glentoran Football Club - Glentoran Academy - Glentoran Women
Formally formed in 2008 in order to formalise the grass roots activities ongoing since 2002 when the previous Glentoran Community Initiative catered for the underage team. Our Academy was established to give something back to the community that has supported the club for over 140 years.
The Glentoran Academy is the premier such institution in Northern Ireland. This is clearly illustrated by the exceptional number of Glentoran Academy players selected each season for Northern Ireland at all age levels for both boys' and girls representative teams\Players from all six counties of Northern Ireland..
Glentoran Academy currently has 32 teams with age range 3 to 17 for boys and girls, managed by 75 coaches, all of whom are volunteers. The Academy in recent years launched an Inclusivity section with over 50 registered players. The club also has 70 female players.
The Glentoran Academy includes players from all communities and backgrounds from all across Northern Ireland, Its stands as a definitive demonstration of the traditional nature of Glentoran as a truly inclusive, pan-community football club serving both the heartlands of East Belfast and County Down and much further afield. Glentoran strongly supports and adheres to the IFA "Football for All" initiative irrespective of religion, background or ability.
In June 2016 Glentoran FC and Glentoran Academy were delighted to welcome as special guests Irish President Michael D Higgins, Mrs Sabina Higgins, Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Northern Ireland Economy Minister Simon Hamilton to the Oval for the annual Glentoran Academy Awards Day.
President Higgins – a former President of Galway United in the League of Ireland – observed the full presentation of awards and met with the captains of the Glentoran Under 16, Under 15 and Under 12 teams. Each of these teams won the Irish Cup at their respective age level in the season just finished.
It’s fair to say that in the past few years a jewel in the Glentoran crown has been the Glentoran Women team, currently holders of the IFA Women's Challenge Cup and the NI League Cup.of
This all-conquering squad has won no fewer than twelve senior trophies in the last six seasons, including four-trophy clean sweeps in 2021 and 2022. Glens’ players Kerry Beattie and Joely Andrews were also recently announced as the Northern Ireland Player of the Year and the Ulster Player of the Year, respectively. Glentoran also had no fewer than six players in the Northern Ireland senior squad that comepted in the UEFA European Ccampionships in 2022.
“The Women’s and Girls Academy is the backbone of everything we do at Glentoran. From the very earliest days we’ve been able to recruit and develop young players to the highest possible level here in Northern Ireland and beyond. One of the finest examples is our current captain Jess Foy, who joined us at 13 and the backbone of our current highly successful team – including the personal award winners Kerry and Joely who have been with us since they were 11 – were players we recruited young and developed through the ranks. The Academy and its graduates are the heartbeat of the club.
“Our club is built on the virtues of hard work, loyalty to club and team mates, commitment and togetherness. We play for the badge, not for individual glory. We also provide a strong personal support network for everyone involved because we are here to help develop our girls and women into both better players and better people. The cornerstone of this club is that we represent it well wherever we go, both on and off the pitch.”
Glentoran Football Club Volunteers
The total number of volunteers across the whole club is approximately 200. The following roles are undertaken by volunteers:
- 10 Board Members
- A Club Secretary & Company Secretary
- Safety Officer supported by 20 volunteer stewards
- 8 staff work in “The Milk Bar”, selling coffee, tea, soft drinks, food on match days. Also take time during the week to carry out stock taking
- 4 staff work in Club Shop selling replica kits and other club merchandise. Matchdays and Thursday evening
- 8 staff produce the match day programme – winner of Programme of the Year in Irish League for over 18 consecutive years
- 3 member Finance committee
- 10 who volunteer on a weekly basis to work on facilities and maintenance
- 8 volunteers who work on website and social media
- A professionally qualified Child Protection Officer
- Total number of volunteers across whole club is c190 on average
GLENTORAN SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP
The ‘Objects’ of the Glentoran Social Partnership
The overarching aim for the establishment of the Glentoran Social Partnership is to create a structure and build resources that will enable the greater wellbeing and social inclusion for the people and groups of South & East Belfast through community engagement in recreational activities such as sport, recreation community interest and leisure time. In establishing the GLENTORAN SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP it is envisaged that each of the Objects and Purposes will integrate and support each other as a progression or as a pathway to achieve healthier lifestyles and social wellbeing in the South & East Belfast Area.
Further information is provided on an object by object basis
(A) To promote community participation in healthy recreation, particularly in South & East Belfast, without reference to sex, sexual orientation, race ethnicity, creed or social background, by providing and assisting in the provision of facilities for the playing of football and other sports capable of improving health
Under the object and purpose set out above, The Glentoran Social Partnership will set in place a Community Engagement Strategy which will be used to guide all activities such as
- The communication with and promotion of health improvement through participation in sports, especially football but not restricted to in the South & East Belfast Area through various channels e.g. face to face, print and noon print media, social media and advertising associated with the general and specific activity
- The provision of facilities both indoor and outdoor which are suitable for the participation in a range of sporting activities.
- The provision of awareness and education associated with and in the pursuit of healthy living and healthy lifestyles
- The provision of all levels of participation from entry level, playing for fun, playing for fitness through to participation in competitions.
Those who will benefit from these activities will primarily be associated with the involvement and playing of football across a range of age groups such as the Glentoran Youth Academy, The Glentoran Ladies Football Section and The Glentoran Legends for example. These groupings will be used to provide the platforms to expand sports activities which involve young people and adults alike in ‘playing for fun and health’.
Going forward GSP will create opportunities for our community to engage and participate in a range of sports related activities that will lead to greater fitness, healthier lifestyles and community wellbeing.
The GSP (Charity) will be structured in a way which supports the above purpose as a ‘hub’ which will coordinate all of these activities.
Evidence will be demonstrated through the range of activities provided and the level of participation by age, gender and interest
(B) To advance the physical education of young people by coaching in and providing facilities for the game of football and other sports and recreational activities so as to develop their physical, mental and spiritual capabilities to enable them to grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society
The Glentoran Social Partnership will actively pursue football and sports related activities that will initially utilise existing resources of Glentoran Football Club (GFC) both in the infrastructure (physical) and in our staff (qualified coaching team) to develop sports related programmes which will enhance
- Physical Fitness through participation in and progress through active involvement supported by well trained and knowledgeable coaching staff
- Mental Wellbeing through improved lifestyles and associated development activities in terms of personal awareness, personal effectiveness, personal health, team working, problem solving, communication skills, leadership and citizenship. Such programmes will run alongside the physical activities
- Spiritual awareness through both of the above along with the development of values such as commitment, integrity, accountability and community spirit. In addition to the Physical Fitness & Mental Wellbeing aspects there will be an extension of the GFC programme of community involvement, reaching out and helping others
GSP will seek to provide public benefit for the people from South & East Belfast in activities, education and training which contribute to
- Intercommunity Prejudice and Social Inclusion
- Community Coaching and Sports Development
- Education and Training
- Health and Well-Being
- Disability and Mental Health
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Crime Prevention
The benefits will be provided by the numbers of people participating in such programmes and from qualitative and quantitative feedback.
(C) To provide and assist in providing facilities for sport, recreation or other leisure time occupation of such persons who have need for such facilities by reason of their youth or social or economic circumstances or for the public at large in the interests of social welfare and with the object of improving their conditions of life.
The GSP will seek to provide through the current infrastructure or acquire the use of appropriate facilities for the pursuit of sporting, recreation and leisure time occupation such as
- Sports and fitness activities that are outdoor in nature
- Sports and fitness activities that are indoor or are a blend of outdoor and indoor activities
- Facilities for use in the pursuit of recreational activities
- Facilities for use is the pursuit of leisure time activities and interests
In terms of Public Benefit, all of the above will be provided to all age groups and interest groups associated with their social welfare and improving their conditions of life, especially those who are in need of such facilities. Benefit will be demonstrated through levels of participation and range of activities provided
(D) To advance community development by promoting co-operation and joint activities between community, voluntary and statutory organisations
The GSP in association with GFC have a commitment to the development of the community in South & East Belfast and will seek to pursue this through collaboration and partnership work with community groups, youth groups, schools, voluntary organisations, charities and relevant statutory agencies.(see *1).
Collaboration will be based on the ability of all parties to generate mutual benefit both for the organisations involved but primarily the ‘participants’ involved in pursuit of the aims of physical fitness, mental wellbeing and spiritual awareness. Through these partnership GSP will be able to provide greater range of relevant activities (Object b. above) and increase access to people and groups in the South & East Belfast Community to become involved.
Evidence will be demonstrated through individual activity reports and a Yearly Report of Activities.
(E) To promote equality, diversity and religious and racial harmony
Glentoran FC and The Glentoran Social Partnership have a commitment to promote equality and diversity across all of their activities in sport, recreation, arts and leisure time pursuits.
- The GSP will build on the existing platforms that exist across the Glentoran Academy which include boys, girls and disabled football teams, Glentoran Ladies Football Section and the senior teams.
- In addition GSP will build on existing relationships as well as expanding their activities in cross community activities and programmes at a number of different levels e.g. The Princes Trust Youth Employment Scheme (Cross community cross gender) Cross Community Football interest Groups i.e. Belfast Celtic Historical Society and cross community activities such as quiz evenings and joint interests.
- Through the establishment of GSP there is a greater opportunity to reach out to a growing ethnic population in South & East Belfast both for specific community interest activities leading to greater cross community (ethnic) relationships. Through the Fighting Food Poverty Activity (The Larder) GFC already have reached out to a diverse group of communities and will seek to build on this.
- The GSP will provide the structure that will enable greater reaching out to the increasing diverse nature of the South & East Belfast Communities and inclusion in cross community activity. All of the coaching, education and training programmes offered through GSP will include a ‘good relations’ element
(F) To promote other charitable purposes as may from time to time be determined.
The Glentoran Social Partnership will seek to promote charitable activities both as a single venture and in partnership with others;
In all of the above there is no aspect of the GSP that will provide any private benefit other than incidental through the provision of professional or accredited services in pursuit of the aims of each activity and each area of interest. In addition there will be a requirement for appropriate and identified individuals to achieve relevant accredited qualifications in order to carry out their duties.