Soaring Worldwide marketing executive James Brown discusses why Cheltenham Town are leading by example when it comes to getting kids involved in local sport.
Recently I have had a great time introducing my nephews to the world of football, but more importantly to their local team and Cheltenham Town have made it easy for me to get them involved.
Often in football, and perhaps sport in general, there are real barriers when it comes to attending a game with family because of cost but it is in this situation that I think Cheltenham have got it absolutely right with the Junior Robins scheme.
A bit of background for you, I am a Cheltenham Town fan and I have been since I can remember. I was there during the days of non-league through to the rise into the Football League and I have so many fantastic memories as a supporter, and of course as a former employee.
Now though I am creating new memories, not just for myself but for my nephews Reece and Jake (7 and 6 respectively). I’ve moved on to a great job here at Soaring Worldwide but without a doubt I really look forward to my weekends when I can take them to Whaddon Road. The best bit about this (apart from seeing them so excited…)? Cheltenham Town make it SO easy for me to get them invested in the club with their Junior Robins scheme. It is undoubtedly one of the best offers around local sport right now and that is something the club should be proud of.
If you haven’t heard of the scheme before then it is fundamentally a kids club which allows children aged 11 and under (junior school age) to watch league football for free – no catch (apart from the coke, food, shop items you will no doubt be asked to buy by the kids!). Both Reece and Jake have their own membership cards now which they can use until they are leaving junior school and that means years of sharing a really big part of my life with them.
I think there is an opportunity to do a lot more with the membership scheme such as parties and competitions for young members but in a time when football gets a fair share of bad press for increasing ticket prices – this is a stand out incentive for football families.
There are plenty of incentives to get kids into sport around Gloucestershire but Cheltenham seem to lead the way – I just hope it pays off in the long term and they see a real increase in years to come.
Aside from the financial incentive, the real value about all of this has been seeing the growing excitement of my nephews when a goal goes in, meeting the players and simply enjoying the atmosphere of a football match.
If you have kids, nieces and nephews then give it a go because sharing the experience with them is something you will not regret.
Do you know of any other amazing offer like this around Gloucestershire sport? Let us know! And if you are interested in learning more about the Junior Robins, head to www.ctfc.com/fans/junior-robins