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The BCFC community Trust: mixing charity with private enterprise?

December 6, 2011

The Bristol City Community Trust established in 2002 as a charity undoubtably fulfils a worthy role in sponsoring and implementing educational and training courses for schools and other community groups.(link)

But reading a news spread over two pages of the December edition of the Pigeon has left a very uneasy feeling.
The Pigeon a free monthly for those not in the know delivered through letterboxes has evolved into a good mix of advertising local companies and services and news type items with lots of community events and reports. Of course there’s plenty of space for the local politicians as well to boast about what they haven’t done.
There’s good reasons why the BCFT Trust should be part of this and promote its good deeds.

But the problem for me and anyone else reading their news items is that it mixes the good charitable work with promoting private enterprise and profit.
Here’s the mixed messages:
In the first sentence ‘…as the reality of the new stadium at Ashton Vale gets ever closer…’ the reader is gently introduced into the world of stadium development.
There follows a couple of paragraphs of community work.
Then the real meat of the reason what this article is about…the whole second part devoted to propaganda……‘the new stadium is a key part of our plans sitting as it does at the heart of our community.’
The new stadium is a private enterprise which a charity should not be promoting. And the ‘heart of community’ is off the mark as the stadium development sits on greenbelt outside the community.

‘…We aim to use its facilities to give people of all ages access to meeting rooms, classrooms and educational and coaching opportunities…’
Correction-the private company building the stadium will be contracted to provide these facilities as part of a deal involving millions of pounds in council asset transfer.

‘…The wetlands area will also offer a beautiful managed green space for local residents..’
The ‘wetlands’ area is by no means certain and beyond the remit of the BCFC Trust being part of the private development. Local residents prefer the green field and flooded meadows as they are to the proposed storage tanks for stadium flood defence.

‘As we await the final go-ahead to start the construction work, we want everyone in our local community to feel involved in the process. Clearly there have been disagreements on the way…’ etc etc.
Well the next two paragraphs are unashamed propaganda from an excellent spin doctor who can’t wait for construction to begin. But is this really the role of the BCFC Trust to promote the private construction plans of a profit-led enterprise?
This section of ersatz news could have been penned by the multi-millionaire owner of the club as one of his regular Evening Toast ‘news’ ads.
Has the football club and greenbelt new stadium enterprise with its food halls conference/hotel/bars/posh housing estate not to mention the biggest hypermarket in the South West all suddenly become part of a charitable trust?

The spin doctor and propaganda dept at the club would do well to re read the key essentials to be a registered charitable organisation ()

Being a charity is not the same as being an organisation that does ‘good things’. Charity has an outward, inclusive nature: it is not inward-looking, for private benefit. Only organisations with aims (‘purposes’) that are charitable for public benefit are accorded the charity label.

The charities commission are quite strict on these rules, BCFC Trust had better check their remit.

For all the good work the Trust does it can be undermined very quickly. For example the healthy eating initiative as part of their schools programme has a bitter taste when the club has promoted the biggest cathedral to packaged and junk food in the South West. And the new Stadium will promote the pie and chips fast food agenda with a vengence washed down with overpriced beer and cider.

The new stadium enterprise agenda is money and profit. The Trust would do well to keep its ideals beyond reproach.

  1. Richard Lane permalink
    December 10, 2011 9:02 am

    You seem to have forgotten that the trust was set up originally, by that so called profit making business, it’s already based in a stadium that is already supplying many of the things you decry.
    It was formed as a link to the community and a help to the community.
    You are running out of things to argue about and scraping the bottom of the barrel to do so, with your tenuous allegations. Why have you not brought this up before, say, when the trust supported the stadium and supermarket applications?

  2. spider on the wall permalink
    December 13, 2011 10:38 am

    No one can scrape as low as you dicky darling.. I know what you tried to do.

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