Southport FC’s community director, Haydn Preece, together with Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail’s managing director, made the announcement at the Vanarama National League match against Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday(April 30.)
Southport FC chairman, Charlie Clapham told the local paper The Visitor:
‘Continuing to have Merseyrail as a prestigious community partner, and sponsoring our stadia for four more years is a fantastic recognition of our club's community involvement, and this has given us all a major boost. We have built up excellent relationships with Merseyrail directors, management and staff and will continue to do so. The next four years will be very exciting for Southport Football Club on and off the pitch, with Merseyrail committed to our community delivery and partnerships.’
Community director, Haydn Preece, said ‘Southport Football Club is very proud to continue to have our stadium named the Merseyrail Community Stadium for the next four years.’
Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, said: ‘After four very successful years during which the two organisations collaborated on a vast array of community projects, we are keen to continue our sponsorship arrangement with Southport Football Club. Merseyrail is committed to supporting the communities we serve, and we have been very impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm that the club has shown in its work with local people and organisations.’
The initial sponsorship in 2012 involved renaming the Haig Avenue ground the Merseyrail Community Stadium and put a strong emphasis on community engagement. Since then, the club has done lots of work with people of various ages and backgrounds in the area, holding a wide range of events at the stadium, from baby ballet to the award-winning Merseycare/NHS Thanks for the Memories initiative for older people suffering memory problems. As part of the new arrangement, the stadium will keep the Merseyrail name and the club will continue to prioritise social cohesion.
Merseyrail takes its own community work very seriously, and since the start of the concession in 2003, staff have raised more than £700,000 for local charities, mainly through our charity of the year initiative. Almost two third of our stations have been station adopted, meaning that local volunteers give their time to make them more pleasant, welcoming environments. We have created a musical platform for young people, called the Merseyrail Sound Station, and along with Bootle Football Club, have set up football teams for women and girls.