On Friday 23rd March, local residents, businesses, and community groups in Conwy flocked to Conwy Borough Football Club to celebrate the finale of the local launches of the joint Interreg cooperation initiative ‘More Than a Club’.
The “More than a Club” project, led by the Football Association of Ireland and Vi-Ability, aims to develop new social enterprises aligned with four football clubs in Ireland and Wales, which will design, develop and deliver innovative social programmes centered around health, education and social inclusion.
The pilot project is supported by the Ireland Wales European Territorial Co-Operation programme, which is helping to strengthen collaboration between Ireland and Wales to address common economic and social challenges.
The North Wales town of Conwy still holds a strong allegiance with Vi-Ability, as that’s where founder, Kelly Davies, came up with the business venture in the very grounds of the club, from which an award winning social business blossomed.
Vi-Ability still holds their head office in Conwy Borough’s ‘Y Morfa Venue’ and has done for the last decade. It was therefore a perfect fit that Conwy Borough FC joined like-minded partner clubs, Haverfordwest County and Irish clubs, Bohemian FC and Cork City FC, as part of the Ireland Wales Project.
Speaking about the launch, Vi-Ability ‘s Founder and “More than a Club” Head of Community, Kelly Davies said;
“It’s been wonderful to come back to our roots here in Conwy and celebrate the launch of “More Than a Club”. It’s been overwhelming to see how much of a strong response we’ve had from potential partners. They have pledged their support, and it’s refreshing to see that many of these organisations and individuals have been loyal supporters of ours from day one. We are really excited about the prospect of doing things slightly different here, working together towards shared goals, helping others to achieve their potential, and seeing the true impact of what can be achieved by doing so”.
Chris Wilton, Chairman of Conwy Borough FC said;
“The work that Vi-Ability has previously done with Conwy Borough has been enormous for our club, we have hosted them at our offices here for the last eight years and it is great to see a social business have such a connection with the surrounding community. We look forward to the role we have to play in helping to move this project forwards, and we cannot stress enough how the collaboration of other organisations and individuals in our town can help spread the important messages associated with the wider benefits of sport and football”
In attendance were representatives from the Football Association of Ireland, Derek O’Neill and Clare Conlon. Derek observed; “It’s great to see the positive response that Conwy Borough FC has received from key local stakeholders who have attended today’s launch. It’s testament to the power of football to mobilise people and those socially focused agencies dedicated to helping people locally. The goodwill already forged with the football club in Conwy is testament to the great work being done by Kelly Davies and the “More than a Club” team here at the club and it’s very encouraging as we look to the future development of this Inter-regional cooperation project”.
The final club launch attracted members from the local council, voluntary services, the Welsh Football Trust and many more. Those who were in attendance, also took the opportunity to have around the table ‘open’ but frank discussion about the more detailed plans that are being proposed and how best they should come to fruition. The idea is to create community ownership, empowerment, and transparency from day one.
For more information about the project in Conwy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the office on 01492 583 555.
You can also visit www.morethanaclub.ie for more