We are grateful to South Luton schools Surrey Street Primary, Chiltern Academy, Linden Academy and the Avenue Centre for Education for pledging their support towards our application for an artificial pitch and dome for the Luton Town Academy.
The schools co-signed the following letter, which has been submitted to the Council in support of the Club's planning application:
Most will appreciate how much your football club is at the heart of our town. Indeed, the Council has often stated that when the Club does well, the town does too. It is without exaggeration to say that our Academy is absolutely at the heart of the Club’s and is fundamentally integral to the future of Luton Town.
The indoor dome is the final and most important component of our drive to elevate our Academy to Category 2 status. In turn, this enables the Club to increase employment opportunities and allow local children play at a higher level of competition and to ensure our finest youngsters are not taken by the competition which is a frequent pattern.
The best way forward for the club is to attract, develop and retain the best local talent from Bedfordshire. We love this pathway as it represents everything we embody to instil a proud culture in our children whether 7 or 21.
Without mistake, these are local children seeking to play football, improve their wellbeing and to gain supplementary education so they become respectable young adults. Most importantly, the Academy is the key aspirational link between elite and non-elite talent in the town.
Together, with our own Community Trust charity, weekly, we already deliver over 4,000 individual engagements through multi-sport programmes delivered in local schools, youth-groups and voluntary organisations plus 70+ hours of free curriculum PE reaching over 500 pupils. Many come from disadvantaged backgrounds or challenging neighbourhoods and our intake is based solely on merit. Alongside participation, we work to improve their wider sense of teamwork, health and discipline so, whether they achieve their dreams or not, they become better placed to contribute to their local Luton community.
Luton Town is different to most other professional clubs. Competing in the Championship is an uphill challenge when most clubs are willing to recklessly lose tens of millions of pounds every season. However. it is an enormous opportunity to showcase our town to a global audience. The only way we can compete in the future is through prudence and nurturing our own raw talent.
Last season we had the lowest wage budget by a margin which makes it much harder to be competitive. But we still declined several significant offers from gambling companies for sponsorship because we strongly defend our moral objection to shamefully promote gambling to vulnerable minors feeding such a problematic addiction.
This isn’t the first time our principles have set us apart from others. Six years ago, we proudly became the first professional club to pay all our staff the Real Living Wage. Eight years ago we initiated an annual Charity Partner scheme raising millions towards local charities since our custodianship.
Being different is not a badge of honour but it does oblige us to work harder within our local community, to nurture and promote local talent which is why this Academy application is so essential for us, and everybody.