The board of trustees of Albion in the Community (AITC) has decided that to protect the jobs of people working for the charity and to enable it to recommence its immensely valuable range of community programmes as soon as the Coronavirus crisis is over, it needs to utilise the government’s Job Retention Scheme for those staff who are currently unable to deliver their programmes and cannot be deployed to other duties.
The trustees have committed to top-up the balance of these salaries for the period of the current UK Government Job Retention Scheme to ensure these staff receive their full salary for this period.
AITC works with 43,000 people each year, with more than 60 different projects and regular football related sessions. These include free football sessions and mentoring for young people and teenagers, football-themed academic support for pupils in local schools, football sessions for people with a wide range of disability and programmes aimed at people of all ages to stay active.
The lockdown has resulted in a large number of these programmes being halted as it is not possible to deliver them online or without the use of community facilities. This has resulted in a major drop in income to AITC.
Where possible AITC has adapted its delivery and continued to provide support, including delivering live lessons to people studying on its range of further education programmes, and creating online tutorials to help local people with cancer to stay active during and after treatment throughout this crisis.
AITC is a separate organisation from Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club and managed by a board of trustees who are independent of the club. They have explored every avenue to ensure the long-term survival of the charity including reducing running costs wherever possible,
Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club have pledged to continue to support AITC exactly as they have up to now and the trustees are hugely grateful for the continuing generosity shown by the club in these extremely difficult circumstances.
But the majority of the income for AITC comes from the various programmes that it delivers including from funding partners and support from the Premier League. The balance comes from the fundraising programmes organised during the year and this year would have included a golf day, sponsored walk, Brighton Marathon and other significant fundraising events – none of which will take place in the near future and leaving a severe shortfall income.
AITC remains committed to providing support to the local community and has adapted where possible to the changed environment. It will continue to deliver its further education programmes and provide support to local young people through Premier League Primary Stars and Premier League Kicks by developing online resources which parents can access. The charity will also keep working closely with Brighton & Hove City Council and the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups on a range of health initiatives.
Staff working on these programmes will continue to work, and AITC will continue to pay their salaries in full.
Chairman of the board of trustees of AITC, Martin Perry said, “This has been a very difficult decision for the trustees but our over-riding responsibility is to our staff who never cease to amaze me with the skill and the compassion that they demonstrate when they deliver our hugely valuable range of programmes.
“However, we need to ensure the long-term stability of the charity and ensure they have jobs that they can resume just as soon as this dreadful crisis is over. The financial position of AITC is stable, but, like all charities, we have limited reserves and we need to ensure that these can carry us through this crisis however long it lasts.
“We are extremely grateful to the club and Albion Chairman Tony Bloom and the club’s board of directors for their offer to continue to provide the support that we need to be able to deliver our programmes and also grateful that the government has devised the Job Retention Scheme which will enable us safeguard the jobs of our staff and ensure the long term future of AITC.
“In addition to use of the Job Retention Scheme the trustees have committed to top-up the salaries of our staff to ensure they receive their full salary, which will give them security and comfort they need and enable them to support their families through this very difficult and uncertain time.”
The club has no plans to utilise the Job Retention Scheme for Brighton & Hove Albion staff at this time but, in line with looking at all measures to reduce the club’s costs during this very difficult period, we will be keeping things under constant review.