Hibernian announced that - 'Hibernian Community Foundation' - a new charitable organisation has been awarded shirt sponsor status for the Club’s forthcoming Intertoto Cup campaign. While Whyte & Mackay remain the club's official kit sponsor, UEFA regulations prevent the promotion of high-strength alcohol, a rule which has allowed Hibs to negotiate separate deals for European competition in previous years.
Created to deliver a number of key initiatives for the benefit of the community, the Club has handed the new Foundation rights to have its name on Hibernian’s new football shirts in favour of a high profile commercial partner.
The move marks a commitment from the Club at every level to support the new charitable organisation, set to be officially launched later this summer. Supporters will be able to see the squad wear the shirts emblazoned with the charity name at the match v’s IF Elfsborg, on Sunday 6th July, kick-off 3pm.
Since its founding in 1875, Hibernian Football Club has been an integral part of the community within its immediate environs of Leith and also the wider surroundings of Edinburgh, Lothians, Borders and Fife. For over 133 years the Club has played a significant role in these communities, and in the lives of the people who have supported it.
The Foundation is only one outcome from the "ground up" approach taken by the Club in a process that started in September 2007 to review all community objectives and initiatives. Through an exhaustive consultation process, the Club collected the views and opinions of stakeholders, local authorities, supporters and charitable organisations via various forums and listening groups.
These forums produced and agreed the mission statement for future community activities:
‘Hibernian Community Foundation’ will work together with the Hibernian Football Club, its supporters and partners to improve health and encourage inclusion within our ever evolving community.
Tom McFarlane, ‘Hibernian Community Foundation’ founding Board Member and life-long Hibernian supporter, brings a wealth of experience of the charitable sector from his direct work with Four Square (Scotland), one of Edinburgh’s leading homelessness charities.
Tom commented: "I am confident that over the coming months and years the Foundation will strengthen and expand the pivotal role that Hibernian Football Club plays in the community. We have a real opportunity here to make a difference to the lives of thousands of people which in itself is an exciting prospect."
The Hibernian Community Foundation has been established as a separate legal entity. Whilst some members of the Football Club Board will sit on the Board of the new body, the Foundation will be independently chaired. It will also contain a number of independent members with relevant expertise from organisations within the voluntary, public and private sectors.
The main charitable purposes have been identified as the advancement of education, health and citizenship, community development, public participation in sport, promotion of equality and diversity and the prevention of exclusion.
Hibernian Football Club Chief Executive, Scott Lindsay, adds: "At the Club, we are proud of the huge amount of community work that we have been delivering for many years now. However this development recognizes that we can make better use of the power that the Football Club has to influence, motivate and inspire people. The creation of the Foundation will ensure that the focus and energy required to make a sustainable difference within local communities is maintained, regardless of what is happening in the football world."
"A great number of people have contributed time and effort to this process so far and I’d like to thank them all. We have listened to the views and have created this Foundation to ensure that we turn ideas and aspirations into deliverable and meaningful programmes. The Club is totally committed to supporting the Foundation as demonstrated by the fact that we have handed full sponsorship rights to it for the Intertoto Cup campaign. We are delighted to take this opportunity to raise awareness of the Foundation in advance of the formal launch later this summer."
The key beneficiary groups of the Hibernian Community Foundation will include: Children and young people, older people, people with disabilities or health problems, other charities or voluntary bodies, young people and adults at risk of long term exclusion.