Over 30 clubs from 15 European countries were represented at the fourth European Football for Development Network (EFDN) conference, held in Manchester between 24 and 25 March. The football and corporate social responsibility (CSR) meeting also shared and discussed different perspectives on the current status of CSR in professional European football.
The event offered participants the opportunity to visit two practical project sessions delivered by the event’s host, the Manchester United Foundation, and attend number of breakout sessions featuring keynote speakers, such as UEFA Football Social Responsibility senior manager Patrick Gasser, European Healthy Stadia Network Matthew Philpott, European Club Association Marc Schmidgall and Paris Saint Germain Foundation manager Christine Le Gal.
Among the projects shared at the event were the: Manchester United Foundation and NEC Nijmegen heath and nutrition programmes for youngsters; Albion in the Community prostate cancer awareness campaign; Fundação Benfica educational and football sessions; KAA Gent commuting initiative; and Everton in the Community projects addressing mental health. Workshops on how to develop a framework in the sport for development sector and project evaluation and monitoring furthered the conference’s goals of sharing best practice and expertise in the field.
“These football for development programmes are providing people from different backgrounds with valuable tools to actively make a difference in their own lives. By addressing the most pressing issues in each community, the programmes are contributing to a positive social change on a European scale.” read the EFDN programme note.
The EDFN is a bottom up and club led network of European club Foundation’s and CSR departments seeking to share expertise and experience, create extra opportunities for local participants, staff members and volunteers and showcase football and social responsibility projects delivered by clubs in Europe.