Kick It Out speaks to Martin Weiler
Ahead of our Raise Your Game conference on 28 April, Kick It Out has asked several people who work behind the scenes at clubs to get their insight as to what inspired them to work in football.
We’ve spoken to Martin Weiler at Exeter City, who is a Trustee of Exeter City Supporters’ Trust and their Football in the Community charity, about the work he and his club undertakes.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WORK IN FOOTBALL?
Exeter City’s ownership model. We have been owned by our Supporters Trust since 2003. An integral part of this ownership model is volunteering by fans. I see volunteering for my club as part of sustaining it for the future.
DESCRIBE YOUR JOB IN 140 CHARACTERS…
I am a Trustee of both our Supporters Trust and our Football in the Community charity. I am the Co-ordinator of our equality group.
WHO IN FOOTBALL DO YOU LOOK UP TO?
The late Fran Jenkin. Fran set up the Exeter City ‘Kick it Out’ Group in 1997 and was active on equality and inclusion issues at the club right up until her death in 2010.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?
WHAT DOES EQUALITY AND INCLUSION MEAN TO YOU?
Quite simply it is about fairness and humanity. Every person should have equal opportunities and be fully included in society’s activities. We need to be ever vigilant against discrimination in all its forms.
HOW VITAL A ROLE DO CLUBS PLAY IN PROMOTING EQUALITY FOR ALL?
Clubs have a unique place in their local communities to show leadership on equality. They are looked up to by thousands of people and can role model good practice.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN INCLUSION PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES YOUR CLUB UNDERTAKES?
We have an equality group – which we call our One Game One Community Group. This works with local partners to oversee and drive diversity initiatives at the Club. We hold Kick It Out ‘Season of Action’ events; the latest was a designated Football v Homophobia game when we worked with Exeter Pride and the Devon Lions, our local gay friendly football team.
Each summer we promote a 5-a-side tournament aimed particularly at local black and minority players. We have close links with our Disabled Supporters Association and are very proud of the wide range of disabled facilities at the Club.
Our Football in the Community charity works tirelessly on inclusion – a current project involves running sports sessions at our local mosque. The Supporters Trust sponsors players from our Ladies Football team and is hosting memory projects for senior fans.
The club volunteered to help pilot the Football League’s new Inclusion and Anti-discrimination Code of Practice.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CLUB’S LINK WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY?
It lies at the heart of what we are and do. We describe ourselves as a community club and this drives our work. As a supporters’ owned Club we already have a big base in the community through our 3,000 plus members. We are active members of local organisations such as Essence – the Exeter group for social enterprises and co-operatives (part of the chamber of commerce) and the St. James Forum and its Community Trust – developers of the local neighbourhood plan.
We partner with a lot of local organisations including the City and County Council, the University of Exeter, Exeter College, and Devon and Cornwall Police. Our award winning Community scheme reaches out across the city through a myriad of educational, health and well-being and sporting initiatives.
Raise Your Game 2015 is on 28 April at the Emirates Stadium.