These programme notes were written by Head of the Hatters Community Trust, Kevin Thoburn, for Tuesday's edition of This Is Our Town, when we defeated Carlisle United 3-0 at Kenilworth Road.
Tonight we are recognising a landmark 50,000 individual children who have benefitted from free school PE lessons in the last nine years, thanks to continued financial support from our community sponsors easyJet.
Our Free Schools Visit Project provides free curriculum time football coaching and PE lessons to all schools within Luton, Bedfordshire and North Herts, and has gone from strength to strength thanks to continued funding from easyJet which began as part of their initial shirt sponsorship deal with the club during our Non-League days, and has continued directly with the Community Trust ever since our promotion back into the EFL.
Next year will be the tenth year of support from easyJet, and this will mark another fantastic landmark which will have seen £100,000 directly invested in providing healthy activity for thousands of our young school children over the ten years of the free schools project.
An amazing financial contribution that in effect will have funded around 12,500 hours of free sport to local schools. This week alone, the Trust's community coaching staff will be visiting over 40 schools and coaching over 1,500 local school children.
Head of Trust Kevin Thoburn commented: "This significant sponsorship from easyJet has been so important in increasing the number of children we are able to engage with on a regular basis, and helped us build up lasting relationships with dozens of local schools. 50,000 individuals is a huge number – it would fill the Kenny five times over! We are lucky to have enjoyed such fantastic financial support from easyJet and we look forward to celebrating ten years of the project throughout 2018."
The easyJet Free School Visit project and School Sport Programme aims to provide primary schools with support in improving the provision of PE and sport and physical activities, both during curriculum and extra-curriculum time.
The aim is to provide higher quality, positive experiences for the pupils, enabling positive teaching and learning, alongside increased participation opportunities and playing pathways.
This support to schools includes PE curriculum lessons, Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA) activities, enrichment sessions, through to breakfast clubs, lunchtime activities and after-school clubs, and also a range of competitive opportunities for children, helping inter-school and District schools football programmes.
School Sport Officer, James Hatch, who oversees the project on behalf of the club’s Community Trust, said: “We always have a great response from local schools who have asked us to come in and help with all kinds of requests from running lunchtime clubs to coaching the school football teams.
“The continued funding from easyJet means we reach more schools than ever each week to promote the club within the community, and to the next generation of potential supporters. The funding is great because we now have so many of our local schools involved with the club at no cost to them.
“We hope this project will not only help schools with providing quality PE lessons, but also by getting the children involved with Luton Town FC, provide future supporters of the club as well as maybe even future academy players who come in as part of our school talent identification programme.”
easyJet Commercial Manager Ali Gayward said: “We are very pleased that our partnership with Luton Town Football Club has meant that so many local young people have been able to enjoy a free sports session. easyJet’s first flight took off from Luton just over 22 years ago and we are proud to be part of the town. We are looking forward to continuing to work with Luton Town to provide more sports opportunities for young people.”
Schools looking to be involved in the project can contact James Hatch at the club on 01582 737568 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org