The British American Football Association (BAFA) is delighted to announce a new national partnership with community sport organisation GiveToLocal.
Launched in December 2019, GiveToLocal connects community sports clubs to businesses and individuals within their local community.
GiveToLocal facilitates new relationships with donors and sponsors
(local businesses) to generate additional income through a service that is easy
to use and backed by a wide network of support from their rapidly growing team.
Through a user-friendly app, potential donors and sponsors
have the ability to support their local community sports club through
“micro-donations” starting from £3 per month and in return can access great
More than 50,000 teams – across 15 sports – have registered
already with the nationwide service.
To register your club’s interest in
GiveToLocal visit: https://www.givetolocal.com/american-football
Colin Stromsoy, Director Of Strategic Partnerships,
“GiveToLocal is excited to be working alongside BAFA to help
American football clubs across the UK generate additional funding and face the
future with confidence.
“This innovative partnership has the potential to make a
real difference to a hugely popular sport at grassroots level and we can’t wait
to get started.
“Pete and the team at BAFA are committed to developing
American football in the UK from the ground up – their past record and future
plans align perfectly with what GiveToLocal wants to achieve. We are proud to
partner with BAFA and it is clear that we share the same focus and ambition
when it comes to putting American football clubs at the heart of their
BAFA Chief Executive Pete Ackerley recently chatted to
GiveToLocal about the partnership and the future of British American football.
GiveToLocal: Firstly Pete, how did you get involved in
American football and BAFA? Where does your interest and love for gridiron come
Pete Ackerley: My interest in - and love for - American
football comes from watching National Football League [NFL] games on Channel 4 way
back in the 80s! That was my first proper touchpoint with American football and
from there I became a huge fan. In terms of being involved with BAFA, I’ve got
30 years of experience working across multiple different sports. After working
for the FA at Wembley and St George’s Park for the better part of eight years,
I sort of semi-retired. But then this job came up with BAFA and it was probably
the one role that gave me the biggest opportunity to make a difference in a
sport. That’s what drew me towards BAFA and it really excited me. I’m really
keen to build up a high performing governing body alongside a 10-year vision
for the sport of American football. I want to be able to grow the game and
inspire more people to get involved along the way.
GTL: With the NFL keen to push more games towards their International
London Series, do you feel as though the sport is growing in popularity?
PA: Without a doubt, American football is really
growing in popularity. Working closely with the NFL, we want to translate the
fandom and eyeballs on the NFL in the UK into more people getting involved with
the sport. We have the better part of 20,000 people playing American football
across the UK and my job is to create a good infrastructure that allows the
sport to be sustainable. I want to be able to take the sport into schools and
colleges so we can create new links with them which could ultimately help us
create a long-term development plan for the game. I’d love for us to be in a
position where we are creating our own homegrown players who could one day play
in either the NFL or the CFL [Canadian Football League].
GTL: American football is a game for people of all shapes
and sizes. It is a sport where communication is key to all three phases of the
game. What makes the sport so inclusive?
PA: One of the key points to make about American
football is that it is a game for everyone. If someone asked you to draw a
picture of an American football player, you couldn’t because there are so many
different roles and positions on a team. You’re looking for people with
different skill sets all over the field. There’s a role for anyone on a team
and I think that it’s not just a game for a certain type of person. That’s part
of the beauty of American football. You’re also part of a big team too, which
definitely plays a big part in the sport’s inclusivity.
GTL: COVID-19 has left community sports clubs across the
UK with a number of challenges. As we look forward to the resumption of sport,
what sort of impact has coronavirus had upon grassroots American football?
PA: In essence, coronavirus has been very difficult
for our sport because we’ve had to cancel our playing season. So there’s been
no ability to play any kind of contact or non-contact football. COVID-19 came
and hit us at the very start of our season so it essentially ended our season
before it had even begun. The financial impact upon the sport, our clubs and
BAFA as a governing body has been immense. The biggest challenge facing us now
is getting people back playing American football next season. Now, we could
just have the longest pre-season of all time and have everybody back and ready
for it. But equally, we want to make sure that people are in a position
financially to come back and play. We
still don’t really know what the medium to long-term economic impact of the
virus will bring. That’s why this new partnership with GiveToLocal is pivotal
for our clubs. It’ll enable them to access new forms of local fundraising and
also allow local businesses to support their local clubs. That’s why we’re
delighted to partner with GiveToLocal as it’ll give our clubs a variety of ways
that they can raise funding.
GTL: How have you personally found the last five months?
PA: I think a lot of people have realised over the
last few months is how resilient and strong people can be. One of the things
that I’ve realised is that for the last 35 years in my working career, I’ve
sometimes left the house and spent three to four nights away in hotels and
airports. I’ve realised that I can still do an effective job from my own home and
be close to my family. What I’ve learnt is I can create a better work life
balance. I’m pretty much fed up of Zoom now…but equally it’s been a great tool
to help navigate a new working environment. There are now more flexible ways of
working. These last few months have changed my approach to how I work moving forward.
GTL: Everyone at GiveToLocal is delighted to have BAFA on
board as our first national partner. How excited are you and BAFA by the new partnership?
PA: What I look for in any sort of partnership is a mutually
beneficial relationship. Ultimately, I want our clubs to be more successful and
more financially stable. I want to be able to grow American football across the
UK. I want our clubs to be aware of all the support that is available to them
too. That’s what really excites me about this partnership with GiveToLocal. I
love the community aspect of it and the fact that it will allow clubs to become
a bigger part of their local community is great. I’m really looking forward to
building upon this relationship.
GTL: Is there anything in particular that has stood out
for you so far about GiveToLocal?
PA: In the same way that I want to build a
relationship with all of our clubs, I also want to build a relationship with
GiveToLocal. It’s quite nice to enter into a relationship at the ground floor
as opposed to a sport that’s been around for 100 years. There are some parts of
this relationship that I’m not sure where it’ll lead to. But that excites me -
I can’t wait to see where it takes us. I want this relationship to be a
collaboration so that we, alongside GiveToLocal, can help American football
grow and develop.
GTL: With an eye upon the future, how do you plan to
continue to grow American football across the UK? What plans do BAFA have for
PA: I think right now, we have to set a long-term
vision for the sport. Our strategy coming out around the early Autumn time will
be a 10-year vision for American football in the UK. It’ll be focussed on
looking at the impact of the current situation and what that means for the
sport. Realistically, we also want to be able to grow participation in our
sport. We want to be able to invest in the people within our sport and the
places these people play. More importantly, we also want to create a long-term
player pathway. I want to put a ball into every kid’s hand at six-years-old. I
want to get kids used to playing the sport from a young age. And then one day,
the dream for me is that one of those kids will play in the NFL.