The Foundation of Hearts – the organisation created to bring fan ownership to Heart of Midlothian Football Club – has launched a rewards scheme for its members, who have been providing vital financial input to the club since September 2013.
“Some 8,000 supporters have given generously since Ann Budge took over the reins at the club,” said Ian Murray, chair of the Foundation of Hearts. “There is no doubting the extraordinary commitment of Hearts fans, and as Ann emphasised at the recent club AGM, their financial contributions to the Foundation have been absolutely crucial in saving the club and enabling it to move forward.
“With the support of the club, we are putting in place a scheme which acknowledges that commitment through a series of acknowledgements based on individuals’ levels of contributions.
"We very much hope that this ‘thank you’ will encourage existing members to keep pledging and will also attract other fans to support the club through the Foundation scheme.”
The Fan Rewards Scheme, which is featured on the new Foundation website (www.foundationofhearts.org), operates by converting every pound pledged by individual members into Maroon Points.
As the number of points increases, members become eligible for various acknowledgements, ranging from their name on a fan tribute strip which will be launched for the 2015/16 season - and be the team’s official third strip - to virtual souvenir plots of the Tynecastle pitch and membership of a number of clubs which in turn will bring further rewards delivered by the club.
After reaching a set level of points, Foundation members will also qualify for the club's Premium Benefits retail discount card which was launched earlier this week.
“Among the acknowledgements, the souvenir plots of the Tynecastle pitch will, we hope, be particularly attractive for fans,” said Ian Murray. “Each plot will have its own GPS co-ordinates and be exclusive to the member who receives it. Certificates will be awarded to each owner and a slice of history will be prepared by the club historians.
“While these are ‘virtual’ souvenir plots without any landowning rights, the club has been very supportive of this initiative and will provide the opportunity for plot holders to have their photo taken on their plot and receive other benefits from the club itself.
“The fan tribute strip is also a very special way of acknowledging the Foundation members’ support for the club through having their names on an official jersey which will be worn by the team. The jersey will be specially designed, registered with the Scottish FA, and launched later this year.
“We’re also delighted that the club wishes to acknowledge Foundation members’ support and commitment by adding its own complementary component. The Premium Benefits discount card scheme which the club is providing for season ticket holders will therefore be extended by the club to Foundation members who have reached the required number of Maroon Points.
“This rewards scheme is all about acknowledging the dedication and commitment of those Hearts fans who have – together through the Foundation – played such a vital role in keeping this club alive.
"As we move forward in partnership with the club itself, we ask that this commitment does not waver and that others join us by pledging support via the Foundation website (www.foundationofhearts.org).
“Our greatest goal is, of course, to see the club grow. We very much hope that the Fan Rewards Scheme will be a boost for those who convert their passion for our club into financial support.”