Bluebirds Are Happiest At Home
That manifests itself in many ways at Cardiff City – from speaking to local companies to find cost effective ways of promoting them on match days to the ongoing expansion of the Cardiff City House of Sport. This sports camp next to their ground has rapidly grown from just one dome for academy team use to a four-dome indoor multipurpose venue alongside a 1,000 seater football ground – facilities that are rapidly challenging the Etihad Campus in Manchester for size and demand.
“We are trying to use our time in the Premier League spotlight for the good of those that have supported us”
In the daytime, a university and a Further Education college run teaching programmes out of recently-installed classrooms next to the pitches. The club’s Foundation itself uses the facilities to run BTEC programmes and special courses for young people excluded from mainstream school.
In the evening, all pitches are fully booked by local five-a-side teams, Netball Wales for coaching and the Cardiff City Foundation who run clubs for kids who have been identified as potential trouble makers by the local police.
“It was the owner’s idea to invest in the House of Sport. He said it will earn us money and it will always be used. I couldn’t see it somehow. But that’s why he’s so rich and I am not, I suppose!” joked Ken.
The House of Sport is managed by the Cardiff City Foundation, the club’s charitable trust.
“The Foundation is here to build those links with our communities and to help them when they struggle,” says Foundation chair Gavin Hewley.
“We will get calls from police in the valleys who will identify a group of young people who are hard to connect with. We will go up to their local leisure centre and invite them along and play football with them and teach them some skills.
“Some players will ask to come along and join in and they get a Cardiff City shirt. Suddenly, those kids are engaging with us and they want to listen to advice on how to behave generally.
“That’s just one way we can be flexible to enhance the life experiences of our communities.”