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From Bobble Hat to Board – DigiEnable takes next step in Chorley FC partnership

As the 2019/20 Football seasons start to get underway, DigiEnable have taken their partnership with Chorley FC to a new level, including pitch side sponsorship and becoming more active “behind the scenes” at the National League Club.

It was only 18 months ago, DigiEnable co-founder Liz Hardwick attended a business networking event at the club as an opportunity to meet new businesses in the Chorley area. A regular feature of the “Magpies Business Network” is a prize draw in which Chorley FC merchandise is given away to the winners. Liz Hardwick’s card was drawn, and the rest as they say...is history.

Liz Hardwick says “At the time I found it quite funny that I’d won a branded bobble hat, but knew that opportunities to wear it are few and far between, so I made the decision to attend a Chorley FC home game with my business partner, Darren Jenkinson. Just going to Victory Park for a game was a completely new experience but I loved every minute of it. Chorley FC fans are incredible and turn up come rain or shine, and the banter that’s had with the away fans is always good natured as we’re often sharing the same terraces. We felt very much at home, and we’ve barely missed a match since, becoming not only fans of the club, but also fans of the hardworking team, mostly volunteers, who give their time for the love of the club”

Liz speaks at Chorley FCSince then DigiEnable have worked closely with Commercial Manager, Josh Vosper, to explore new ways in which DigiEnable could support the club as they headed towards promotion in the 2018/19 season. From delivering keynote presentations at business events, booking hospitality packages for clients in the 1883 Lounge, and sponsoring the annual “Thirsty Magpie” Beer Festival, there have been a number of opportunities to support the club’s ambitions, while increasing local awareness of DigiEnable and their services.  

In late 2018, Darren Jenkinson (DigiEnable co-founder) was approached to support the growing Community Trust at the Football Club, based on his previous experience with charities and community organisations. Now Chair of the newly named “Chorley FC Community Foundation”, Darren has worked with a small group of trustees and community coaches, to gain charitable status for the Foundation and deliver a number of projects across the Chorley area supporting the health and wellbeing of Chorley residents.

Darren Jenkinson said “Compared to some of the people who volunteer their time at Chorley FC, we are relative newcomers, but it’s the passion and dedication of those volunteers which convinced me it was something worth giving time and energy to. Whether it’s working with adults with Dementia, kids in local schools or just individuals looking for a place to connect with others, a community club like Chorley FC can offer that. Through the Chorley FC Community Foundation, we can apply for funding to increase our reach, and have the ability to use the popularity of the Football Club, to make a difference to the lives of people in the Borough”.

In the space of 18 months, that lucky draw for a Bobble Hat, has led to multiple sponsorship and advertising opportunities, alternative ways to thanks clients for their business, and allowed  DigiEnable to give some of their free time to support valuable community initiatives. Now season ticket holders, Darren and Liz have also invested in pitch side sponsorship meaning that even on the days they can’t get to games, they are shouting loudly that they are sponsors, and more importantly fans of the National League team. 

Darren added “There’s something very special about Chorley FC, and it’s something which happens both on the pitch and off it. When many football clubs talk about the team, they refer to the 11 players that pull on their boots every Saturday afternoon. When Chorley FC talks about the team, it includes the fans, the volunteers, the Directors, the Supporters Trust, the Community Foundation and every person who gives something to the cause. I’d highly recommend every Chorley business looked at it as a place to let their customers know that they’re proud to be doing business in Chorley”.

For more information on commercial opportunities at Chorley FC contact Josh Vosper at commercial@chorleyfc.com

For more information on Chorley FC Community Foundation visit www.ChorleyFCFoundation.org.uk

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