Heart of Midlothian Football Club has a rich heritage with history dating back to 1874. The Club has played a central role in the lives of generations of supporters. The Club has a positive reputation and is focussed on promoting strong community values, using the power of sport to provide meaningful education, employability, health, inclusion, environmental and sport-related programmes. The Club whilst focusing on its own local initiatives also works proactively with the SPFL Trust, rolling out programmes throughout Scotland and helping to meet the identified social needs of the people of Scotland.
Community engagement is embedded at all levels of the Club and investment is made in tackling a wide range of social issues through ‘on-pitch’ and ‘off-pitch’ programmes. Specific Community space has already been set aside in the plans for our new stand at Tynecastle Park.
The Club has three principle vehicles through which it provides outreach work in the community.
The Club’s Community Football Department, which is run on a not for profit basis, currently has 3 full-time staff members and 15 part-time community coaches who are responsible for promoting health and wellbeing through the delivery of a variety of different programmes, catering for all ages. The programmes include school holiday courses, Football Fans in Training, schools projects, coach education and Walking Football for over 50’s. The programmes are accessibly priced (or provided without charge) and are powerful vehicles for promoting healthier lifestyles.
The department works with a variety of sports and non-sports agencies to engage with some of the most challenged and vulnerable members of the community. Most recently, our coaches have worked with Syrian children as part of the local authority’s refugee settlement programme. In addition, the Community Football Department has built partnerships with Rwandan non-profit sport organisations, schools and the local government where they organised a trip to deliver free coach education, donate football strips and share best practice.
The second vehicle is Big Hearts, our own charitable operation, fully constituted as a charity under the regulation of OSCR. The Club is the catalyst for different groups to come together and deliver much needed support. As an example, Big Hearts, Save the Children and the Club’s First Team Players have combined to deliver Families and Schools Together (FAST); a programme that provides parents with the skills and activities that strengthens family bonds and improves educational development. So far, the partnership has enabled the programme to reach 276 families and over 565 children across Edinburgh.
Over 1,500 fans have registered to volunteer to assist Big Hearts in effecting social change in our local community. In this connection, we are delighted that Big Hearts have recently achieved Investing in Volunteers accreditation – the first Club in Scotland to achieve this. Staff and volunteers deliver many programmes including Football Memories, a programme to help those living with forms of dementia, the flagship Kinship Care Programmes and a recently launched multi-cultural initiative, designed to help young people from a variety of backgrounds feel more confident and comfortable in and out of school.
The third vehicle is our Heritage Department, again run on a not for profit basis. Our Heritage Department is a new addition to the organisation and at present encompasses our Museum and Memorial Garden. Our Museum opened to the public in September 2016 as a free, accessible attraction. It has been extensively researched and displays a collection of objects and artefacts which tell the story of the Club and the community. The museum has already received over 10,000 visitors and has been very well received. To develop our community links further, our Museum Curator is currently involved in developing educational links with local schools and community groups.
We are immensely proud of the achievements of our Community Football Department, our Heritage Department and our charity, Big Hearts.
Largely administered through our charity Big Hearts, the Club has a charity policy which outlines its commitments and procedures with regards to charitable donations. In addition, we are very proud of our ongoing partnership with Save the Children, which is now in its third year.
The business is proud to be the only football club in Scotland who is a Living Wage employer. The Club implemented the increased Living Wage in November 2016 and intends doing the same in November 2017.
The Club is focused on managing the environmental impact of football in and around the stadium, particularly in the area of waste management. The desire over the coming years is to become a ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ Club and we have recently partnered with a supplier, who is the only Scottish company to achieve ISO 20121, demonstrating best practice in their sustainability procedures.