ARGYLE have been named as one of only nine Football League clubs to achieve Gold Award status in the EFL’s Family Excellence Scheme for 2018/19.
As the name suggests, the scheme monitors all EFL member clubs’ match-day experience for families, with two mystery shopper-style visits per season. The assessors assign ratings to clubs based on criteria including Staff Engagement, Social Media, Travel, Friendliness and Retail/Refreshments. The games attended by EFL assessors were the September 3-2 defeat by Doncaster, and last month’s 2-2 draw with Bristol Rovers.
Not only did the Pilgrims achieve an elite ranking within the Family Excellence Scheme, but they also outright won the Best Stewarding category for 2018/19, based on the “consistency of stewarding approach throughout the whole of the family match-day journey.”
The club scored an overall rating of 9/10, which is our highest since the scheme began, which sees us ranked fifth in the entire 72-club EFL pyramid for our family experience. Only one League One club achieved a higher ranking than Argyle, while only three Championship sides could better the Pilgrims’ match-day experience.
The EFL report highlighted a number of stand-out areas at Home Park on a match-day, attributing our achievement to “a culture of engagement that permeates every aspect of the match-day, with the contribution of staff and (especially) Pilgrim Pete the stand-outs.”
The assessors also remarked, “among other high points were the friendly and spacious family area; the modern and well-designed club store and the players themselves who were approachable and happy to give autographs.”
The club is proud to have won the award, having spent significant time and resources in improving the family experience, including the development of the family concourse in the Barn Park End.
“I was delighted to receive the news last week that Argyle has been awarded the Gold Award for Family Excellence from the EFL,” said Chairman Simon Hallett.
“Argyle is often described as a 'family club', and it is wonderful to see that that reputation is deserved in the eyes of experienced assessors and visiting families.
“One of our strategic goals is to increase the number of young fans of the club who come along for an enjoyable afternoon with both mum and dad,” Simon continued. “Our season ticket pricing this year reflects that - a child under 8, accompanied by an adult, can watch every home game next season for just £10.
“Low prices, though, are not enough to make for good value. They must be accompanied by good facilities and, above all, by the commitment of our people to making a visit to Home Park an enjoyable and memorable one. We are clearly continuing to make good progress in this regard, and I'd like to thank our players and staff for the standards of excellence that are recognised by this award.”
Club Chief Executive Officer, Michael Dunford, also said: “It bears testimony to all the hard work undertaken by our staff and our Community Trust to ensure that Home Park is a great place for families to watch football. We will continue our efforts to improve our match day experience for both families and individual fans.”
For more information on the Family Excellence Scheme, visit the EFL website.