Jewel in the Crown

This is a shortened version of Chairman’s report prepared for the Argyle Community Trust’s (ACT) AGM 2018.

The full report is available on request from Jo Yorke at ACT 

(ACT) Aims, Objectives and Activities for 2017

The Aims and Objectives of the Trust remained the same for 2017.

These Aims and Objectives were discussed at a Trustees’ Away Day in August are being reviewed.

Activity levels remained extremely high across the 4 main areas of provision in:

  • Sport
  • Education
  • Health and Disability
  • Inclusion

Volunteers are an important resource in our community work. All volunteers working with projects involving children or other vulnerable groups are DBS checked.

Activities and achievements

How our activities deliver public benefit:

Argyle Community Trust (ACT) has once again, in 2017, carried out a wide range of activities in discharging its charitable aims. The charity aims to deliver benefit to our customers through reducing or subsidizing prices and providing access to the various activities free of charge, which, in many cases, can lead to accreditation under various bodies.

For example, our after-school clubs, which provide continued access to sport after school hours for children is offered at £3.50 per session. Where we cover teaching times, we only charge £30 per hour within schools and a further reduced rate if additional staff are required.

Due to increases in resources and national minimum and living wage ACT made a small increase on some of its provisions for 2017. These were very incremental and are still the most competitive within our remit. In addition to this the Trust is delighted to announce we achieved more contracts and engaged with more funders than in the previous year which has seen more people engaged within our provision and a large number of these attended for free.

Social inclusion activities for participants in areas of deprivation, hard to reach groups and those who are disadvantaged, are offered at a substantially reduced rate for our programmes and, in many cases, they are free of charge including PL Kicks, Street Games and other such programmes. A number of participants gain accredited qualifications free of charge through this remit.

Educational and courses for the unemployed, pupils and trainees, are free of charge, and our health projects have a mixture of small subscriptions and contributions for the services we provide which enables them to be accessible for all. 2017 has also seen the Trust enrol 5 apprentices in paid employment through our Royal Foundation, Coach Core programme.

The disability programme offers activities which have a mixture of free of charge provision alongside some small fees provision. 2017 has seen ACT be very fortunate in securing a significant donor with the Plymouth Argyle FC Manager paying for some of the provision ensuring that these are free for participants.

As a result of the introduction of new projects, sustaining current operations and additional local programmes has allowed ACT to work with more people during the season from the ages of 3 up to 89 years old.

Sports Participation:

ACT delivered sports programmes to an average of 9,000 children per week throughout the year in a number of settings, including sports programmes across Devon and Cornwall, after-school clubs, PE lessons, Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA) cover, Development Centres and other training which has continued to grow through the introduction of the Premier League Primary Stars programme across Cornwall and Plymouth.

In May 2017 ACT hosted the annual Community Youth Cup at Home Park with over 96 mixed gender junior teams participating within the event. This was hugely successfully and engaged with over 4,000 people over two days.

Another notable achievement was expanding the national programme, Premier League Primary Stars, which saw ACT increase it’s output through increased funding from the Premier League Charitable Fund. This enabled ACT to expand its offer to more schools, increase resources and have a further impact in schools PE, Schools Sports and other areas such as numeracy and literacy.

PPA/PSHE/Workshops and Enhancement – ACT Trust has delivered numerous sessions to over 40 schools in  Devon and Cornwall mentioned above that has improved the school’s offer for pupils through the power and brand of football.

Women and Girls Football:

Through the Premier League we have delivered 12 satellite clubs based in Devon for Women and Girls to access turn up and play sessions, as well as more structured coaching clinics to competitive competitions to retain females in football.

Targets for the programme have been met and exceeded, in addition to the success of the programme we have also managed to develop a Post 16 Girls’ Academy giving females the opportunity to participate in a National Youth League.

We have sustained provisions through our Girls Advanced Development Centre and we have also been working with both Devon and Cornwall FA on their Wildcats programme developing girls football for young people aged 5 -11 years old. These have been hugely successful with over 60 girls involved during the pilot and meeting the targets of the FA’s plan to double female football participation.

Through ACT’s Women and Girls officer we continue to develop strong links between the Community Trust and PAFC Ladies. This has seen visual support and promotion of the women’s game through ACT.

Kinder plus Sport Move and Learn:

Now in our fourth year of the project with the EFL Trust and Ferrero, during 2017 the Trust worked with 34 schools and 1,956 Year 5 pupils. Delivery numbers increased from 2016 with by 2%.

Post 16 Football Provisions:

Post 16 Football Development Satellite Delivery programmes have continued to run with 8 colleges during 2017. Due to schools changing to Multi Academy Trust’s we lost a college from the programme. The league will be challenging to sustain due to financial issues faced by schools and colleges, however feedback from current partners is very positive and demonstrates a willingness to continue.

The programmes are designed to provide enrichment for students within post 16 education and has been very helpful in terms of retention rates.

Match-day Events and Campaigns:

During 2017 ACT ran provisions in the family stand for customers attending games offering them the opportunity to promote ACT’s work, engage with fans to attract members and also to increase physical activity and cohesion through use of the football game. The Family Zone for all is a community focused area which engages with fans on match-days.

Alongside this ACT delivered a match day magic event on every home game during 2017 with football clubs, schools groups, community organisations and other groups having the opportunity to experience coaching tours of the ground and watching a game at PAFC. Due to the success of the professional football club these were well received with every game except the bank holiday games full with 160 people attending each EFL League 2 game. During 2017 the Trust were involved in several campaigns with a number of key partners including One Game One Community, Show Racism the Red Card, Armed Forces Day and a number of other national and local campaigns.  In particular, the Armed Services Day was very special which commemorated the centenary of the WRNS.


Consultancy and support for Secondary Schools – Our Education manager has continued to undertake a number of consultancy roles within secondary schools over 2017, working with Headteachers to support school improvement, deliver CPD and mentor curriculum subject leaders. Through this, we have also offered support for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and Newly Qualified Teachers’ courses in order to improve both subject knowledge and pedagogy.

GCSE English and Maths - This programme provides KS4 and KS5 students with support in achieving Maths and English GCSE. Sessions are held both in school and at the Pilgrim Centre during evenings, twilight and holidays. Support is also given to BTEC students who are entered for English and Maths resit examinations.

Academy Apprentices NVQ qualifications – During 2017 our Education team delivered PAFC Academy Under 18’s NVQ coursework as part of their apprenticeships. Functional Skills (North Prospect Garage Project (NORPRO) and League Football Education (LFE)) – Qualifications at Level 1 and 2 in English and Maths are delivered to support the essential skills needed for young people and adults to participate in life, learning and work. As an accredited examination centre with Ascentis Awards, the Pilgrim Centre enables students to be taught and entered for exams based at the football club with over 60 examination passes since our first registration.

Tellus (Erasmus+ European Skills Training) – 2017 continued to see European students work with the Trust to offer work skills and work experience. Courses included Information Technology, Electronics, Photography and Administration. In 2017 the education team also provided teacher training for a number of overseas teachers from across Europe.

Plymouth Argyle Post 16 Football Development provisions – the football and education schemes once again proved popular with 96 students enrolled for 2017.  These are delivered in partnership with a number of schools and colleges including Sir John Hunt Community College, City College Plymouth and Falmouth College. Due to a loss in numbers the Trust has removed Sports Therapy from its offer until further demand is established.

Exit routes include universities, overseas coaching opportunities and employment within the sports industry.

The BA Honours Football Development and Coaching saw an additional 12 students join Year 1 with the second year cohort being 9 with students all enrolled at the University of St Mark and St John. The Trust appointed an additional graduate from the degree programme into full time employment, taking the graduate workforce from the degree programme from 2 to 3 within two years.

In addition, ACT  delivered coaching to both of the city’s university football teams throughout the academic year of 2017.

Apprenticeships – ACT worked with City College Plymouth to provide apprenticeships for 5 young people aged 16 – 18 years old. All apprentices completed their coursework and gained qualifications. More importantly 3 of the 5 were engaged with ACT in permanent employment.

Traineeships – We delivered a wide range of traineeships for young people aged 16 – 24 years old. During 2017 34 young people completed the 12 week programme with 25 moving on into employment or education.


PL Kicks:

During 2017 PL Kicks achieved its KPIs and has continued to sustain this with more partners as well as existing partners being involved due to the successful outcomes of the programme during the second year cycle.

The programme involves taking constructive activity into targeted local estates and neighbourhoods with high instances of anti-social behaviour (ASB). The Trust targets were achieved for attending, retaining and sustaining participants for the 2017 period.

Through multiple partners we have further enhanced the project with match funding from supporters but also new supporters including Ginsters through the Samworth Sports Fund.

PL Kicks Transition and PL4 Sport:

The first six months of 2017 saw Premier League 4 Sport delivered, unfortunately this project came to an end. With funding ceasing, however contingency plans through the PLCF allowed the project to bolt onto PL Kicks with an offering within the last months of PL Kicks Transition project; this saw an increase of PL Kicks delivery within Cornwall and a multi sport offering provided across the PL Kicks Programme.

During 2017 we managed to ensure all baseline targets were met for the Premier League Charitable Fund and Sport England, as well as providing continuous provision and exit routes for young people to continue playing sports.

National Citizen Service (NCS):

In 2017 NCS numbers grew with 630 young people attending the Summer Programme across Plymouth and Cornwall.  In Autumn 2017 the Trust also delivered the programme to its target audience of 270 young people. Both successfully hit their baseline targets and ensured that young people gained the required outcomes and skills through the project. The project involved running a two-week residential course away from the local area, implementing outdoor education activities to improve team building and motivation, and then delivering several Social Action projects to local communities. The project enables individuals from all social backgrounds to become involved with and develop a social mix raising young people’s understanding of other  cultures and beliefs.

Estate Based activities:

In partnership with Plymouth City Council and Active Devon the Trust has also delivered several estate based projects and satellite clubs in a variety of sports across Plymouth throughout 2017.

Health and Disability:

Every Player Counts – ACT, in partnership with Exeter City FC and Devon FA, successfully received 3 year funding for this disability project which aims to increase disability participation in football. During 2017 the Trust met its mid-season targets and grew PAN disability and disability specific football teams and sessions.

Ability Counts:

During 2017, 103 disabled participants accessed our Ability Counts programme where training takes place on a regular basis and participation in the Ability Counts League. This is an increase on 2016.

The Trust also established a deaf team and continued to deliver disability specific sessions throughout the year.

It’s a Goal:

Delivered through working in partnership with Plymouth Primary Care Trust to combat depression. During the sessions, males work as a football team and work through their issues all based around football. After the sessions, everyone participates in a coaching session to help improve mental and physical fitness. Rewards such as tickets and healthy living demonstrations are also in place to help progress participants’ well-being. It’s a Goal also has a small-sided team, which participates in regular tournaments.

Extra Time:

This scheme uses the power of football to target older people aged 50 plus, and delivers social inclusion and physical activity projects within Plymouth. Approximately 38 people over the age of 50 years old have attended this project at Home Park. Activities include New Age Kurling, Short Mat Bowls and recreational visits.

Walking Football:

Launched in in 2015 with around 45 over 35 year-olds actively involved in Walking Football across the two counties. The success of this pilot has seen the Trust enter teams into the Football League Trust national tournament, where we were fortunate enough to be runners-up in the competition based at St Georges Park. In 2017 the Trust has seen on average 24 players participating over a 48-week period with 78 people registered to the programme during 2017.

RBL Sporting Memories Project:

A new project supporting ex service personnel in getting involved within physical activity and identifying employment opportunities. The programme also provides Sporting Memories dementia cafes to provide mental health and well being programmes. During the first six months the Trust has worked with 32 participants within Plymouth.

Short Breaks:

ACT ran six half term Short-Break courses from February through to October half terms in each school holiday period. All courses in Plymouth were fully booked with 12 participants on every course. The project, supported by Plymouth City Council, provides respite for carers and activities for young children who are on the Autism/ADHD spectrum. All courses were full and incorporated football coaching, multi-sports and a number of classroom activities.


2017 saw major changes in terms of the Manadon Facility development. The project lead withdrew from the programme due to external challenges facing their organisation. This led to ACT becoming the lead operator for the Mandaon site. During 2017 we have had to ensure permission was obtained to novate funds and also cover the shortfall for the facility development. These were all successfully achieved and approval to deliver on site was received on 8th January 2018. This is a major coup, not only for ACT, but the city of Plymouth with £1.5 million pounds of external investment coming into the city to improve community sports facilities for the local community.

Partnership working and performance review:

The list of our wonderful partners is available on request.

Through our Head of Community, Head of Education and Training, Deputy Community Managers and lead staff ensure we keep our partners and funders up to date and meet or communicate regularly to continually develop and enhance provisions.

Financial Review:

It is the policy of the Trust to increase unrestricted funds to a level to provide sufficient funds to cover administration costs, including wages for six months.  The Trustees monitor reserves at each Trust Board meeting and have successfully created a capital reserve fund for future use and facilities.

The Trustees have reviewed the reserves of the Trust in accordance with the reserves policy and following a successful year, the Trust has been able to increase the level of unrestricted reserves held. The increase in reserves can mainly be attributed to the increase in funding across new contracts, increased provisions and attracting more external funding for new projects.

With agreements in place for funding for a Community and Sports Centre based at Manadon our aim is to ensure this is delivered within the correct time - frame enabling the Trust to operate from the dedicated site. The intention is to deliver within timeframe and budget and then ensure the facility becomes self sufficient. The capital reserves fund will be used to fund part of the project so that investment levels are secure.

In the first quarter of 2018 ACT will retender for the NCS contract for Autumn 2018 and Summer 2019, if successful this will allow for the continued development of the already successful programme and ensure staff and resources remain in place. Additionally the intention is to ensure overachievement of target numbers for Summer 2018 of 820 young people enrolling on NCS.

The Trust will also make contingency plans for NCS if we are unsuccessful with the tendering process.

Two key areas of focus for ACT is to work with more health related partners to develop more targeted health intervention programmes and publicity through the brand of ACT. The other area is to achieve quality delivery on our Mayflower 400 Sports Plan ensuring the brand of the project is continually built, linking in with more partners locally, regionally and internationally.

Additionally, our aim is to focus on sustaining provisions and to continue to enhance our current offers and build on quality within our programmes.

From a governance and administration perspective ACT will continue to upskill staff, ensure it adheres to all legal requirements and also implement best practice from trustees to sessional staff through a dedicated training schedule. With the implementation of GDPR in May 2018 ACT has already started work on ensuring compliance and will continue to work towards all criteria in place for the new regulations. Training will be ongoing for ACT staff throughout 2018.

It remains our intention to be considered the most successful South West based Community Trust, offering high quality opportunities for all sections of the local community within our designated locality.

Future plans and challenges

Every organisation faces challenges of one sort or another and ACT is no different.

In no particular order some of them are:

  • Completion of the magnificent Manadon Project
  • Orderly and organised return to Home Park.
  • Retention and recruiting of the best staff
  • The departure from the EU in March 2019
  • Succession planning and recruiting of Trustees
  • Developing new funding streams to ensure long term sustainability and investment
  • Assist Local Authority with Mayflower 400 programme

As in previous years this is necessarily a very long report in order to do justice to the outstanding provision and delivery of ACT’s deep and wide involvement in the local community.

This would simply not be achievable without ACT’s quite remarkable staff.   The Trustees acknowledge their dedication and professionalism and are most grateful to them, particularly at a time when they have relocated temporarily to new offices while the Grandstand is redeveloped.   This redevelopment could have impacted too on Match Day provision and other facilities in the Family Zone / Stand, but through excellent management and flexibility minimum disruption has occurred to an important and popular provision.  They have also faced the challenge of continued high quality delivery whilst the Head of Community was seconded to PAFC for 4 months.

As Chair I also wish to recognize, publicly, the work of every Trustee, who each give of their expertise, skills and time to ensure that there is the proper rigorous oversight, support and challenge of and to the various undertakings of ACT.

David Tall OBE

Chairman Argyle Community Trust

September 2018