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FOUR years after City of Liverpool FC played their first game, the club have announced one of their biggest social and community projects to date, and one of the most significant of its kind to be run by a football club in Liverpool.
Today, the club revealed that they have taken over the running of the King George V (KGV) sports complex and playing fields in Huyton, with the day-to-day operation being managed by the club’s community arm, COLFC in the Community.
This will provide the City of Liverpool FC with another base for their community work — to be known as the PurpleHUB @ King George V.
This type of project is a key element in how the football club are run as a community-owned entity giving back to the areas in which they operate, contributing greatly to social movements in the region.
Following the general election in December 2019, it is important that the socialist Labour manifesto, which over 10 million people voted for, is continued and built upon, regardless of the direction the party itself takes in the coming years.
Mass social movements can begin with the development of local community assets around socialist principles, and support of the people in those communities. This is able to occur regardless of the actions and direction of the two main political parties.
A Morning Star editorial following the December 2019 election, written at a point when the result of the election was not known, called for this social movement to “mobilise material help for the vulnerable (through shelters and foodbanks) and organise for defence or extension of community assets.”
Through initiatives such as the Purple Pantry, providing food and supplies for the most vulnerable, which has been especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic, and now through the PurpleHUB, City of Liverpool FC are doing just that.
The club, which currently share a home ground with Bootle FC, are constantly working on securing their own stadium and a place to call a football home, but this latest step very much secures a home within the community, and another place from which the club can carry out this side of their own manifesto.
“COLFC, as a Community Benefit Society and social enterprise, is committed to delivering social benefit,” read a club statement.
“KGV will represent a major upshift in our capacity to achieve this. Our operating model for the site is focused upon maximising community use of the existing facilities and establishing new facilities and services that will benefit Huyton people.”
For the club itself, the complex will serve as a training ground for the first team as well as hosting home games for the community, junior, youth, veterans and legends teams, so in many ways, it is their first football home.
For the general public, of every age group and demographic, it will continue to provide facilities for recreation and leisure activities including the use of the sports hall, boxing gym, football pitches, tennis courts and bowling greens.
On top of this, it will provide a base for community activities, encouraging new uses for the facility and therefore attracting a wide range of new users. This fits with the club’s dedication to inclusion through grassroots projects on both the football and community side.
Dr Alan Southern of the University of Liverpool’s Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice believes COLFC are perfectly placed to grow such a project.
“To maximise their economic and social impact, community hubs should have a multi-purpose although not be expected to exhaustive in their offer,” he said.
“The ideas behind the COLFC initiative would appear to fit the general model of a community hub.
“COLFC are one of those potential growth social organisations that were identified in the Heseltine research as a priority for growth support.”
The PurpleHUB, which is currently scheduled to open on July 25, will play a major part in the region’s community development ahead of what will potentially be a tough time.
It will be a time when the country as a whole is looking to recover from the recent crisis, under a government that has already proved itself ill-prepared or unwilling to take the necessary steps at the right times.
This leaves it up to local social organisations to support themselves in an almost autonomous fashion, better positioned with the right mindset and intentions when it comes to supporting their neighbourhoods and the most vulnerable, looking for unity and togetherness following a period of isolation for many.
“As we enter our fifth year amid prevailing clouds of uncertainty, PurpleHUB @ King George V provides a reason to look forward with excitement and optimism to all associated with City of Liverpool FC,” continued the club statement.
“Our club has never stood still or stopped looking for ways to develop and grow as a truly mutual community-owned entity. Today our club has grown significantly.”
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