SOME Coventry City fans are urging people to donate to a Jimmy Hill Legacy Fund to help disadvantaged youngsters in the run-up to the first anniversary of the Sky Blue legend’s death – amid ongoing disputes off the pitch.
Named in honour of the talismanic former manager and chairman who died last December, the initiative aims to raise charitable funds administered by the registered charity ‘Sky Blues in the Community’, run by former club defender Dave Busst.
Donations will help provide activities and footballing opportunities for children and adults with disabilities; and children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
It will also provide grant awards to local charities and community organisations, and support activities on matchdays in the Sky Blues Family Zone at the Ricoh Arena, run by volunteers.
The scheme says it aims to “provide opportunities to improve the quality of life for those who need it most in memory of the late Jimmy Hill OBE… supporting a number of causes that were close to his heart.”
Rewards for contributions include opportunities for kids to play on the Ricoh Arena pitch on matchdays in front of thousands of fans, signed Sky Blues shirts, and pin badges and wristbands.
Sporting club fundraising website Tifosy is also being used to allow fans everywhere to get involved. Nearly £6,000 has been raised so far on the website alone.
Some fans have pointed to a slow take-up so far for the scheme.
One of Sky Blues Talk website forum wrote this week: “Currently at 43 backers over a couple of months. Cheltenham Town launched one this morning to buy a new screen for the stadium and they have had 59. Bradford had one for a screen and to upgrade the changing rooms and got 2091 donations!
“If you haven’t, get involved. Ideal Christmas presents too. Forward it on, the kids playing five-a-side on the pitch is a great present for Christmas as well.
“Put the politics to the side.”
Sky Blues fan and season ticket holder Simon Fahy, who made a donation and received a signed ball on the Ricoh Arena pitch, said: “For me, it’s important because it’s something positive that can make a tangible difference to people in the local area, which is what Jimmy Hill was about to me. It was about engaging people in the local community.
“I can’t think of a better idea. It’s better than statues and monuments, and it’s a way of engaging the young generation in who he was and what he did.”
Dave Busst told the Observer: “Jimmy Hill’s philosophy was of families and communities, Coventry City and bringing people together. We think it’s a great of way of raising money for worthy causes.”
The Jimmy Hill Legacy Fund is also a vehicle for other charitable giving to the wider community by the club and Sky Blues in the Community. It includes donations of anything from food, to boots kit and equipment donated in an ‘amnesty’ initiative.
A small panel of independent people will meet twice a year to oversee distribution of some of the funds through small grants to external organisations.
Information on how to donate can be found at http://www.sbitc.org/fundraising/
To discuss other ideas around fundraising or sponsorship for the Jimmy Hill Legacy Fund, contact David Busst on 024 7678 6371, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Make a donation here.