Our Strategy and Priorities

Our History

MFC Foundation was one of the very first Football Club charities, having originally been set up in 1995 as ‘Middlesbrough FC in the Community’ by Chairman of MFC Steve Gibson. Becoming a charity in 1996, Steve Gibson’s vision was to use the power of the Football Club badge to engage young people from the local community in activities at The Riverside Stadium. In 2012, it was relaunched as MFC Foundation.

Over the twenty years of its existence, the charity has reached over half a million beneficiaries, with lead programmes being adopted nationally.

Growth of the charity in its early years was underpinned by significant funding from statutory bodies, most notably from the now-defunct Regional Development Agency One North East. However, following ONE’s abolition, which also coincided with the Club’s relegation, the charity experienced a sharp drop in income, resulting in a significant reduction in the scale of its activities, and a notable decline in profile.

Over recent years, thanks to the ongoing support of the Club and other local and national funders, the Foundation has re-built and expanded its programmes. Now, following the Club’s promotion to the Premier League, the charity is seeking to step up a gear in order to sustain its reach and impact over the longer term, recognising that it needs to have a clear strategy and plans in place for achieving its ambitions.

This is our first strategic plan, setting out a number of key priorities for the next three years. Our intention is to use this as an overarching framework to guide our operational plans and as the basis for our performance management system, ensuring that what we do is not only effective, but also coherent with our longer term vision.

Our key challenges

Comprising the local authority boroughs of Middlesbrough, Stockton on Tees, Redcar & Cleveland, Hartlepool and Darlington, Teesside contains some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged areas in the UK. In overall terms, the area is ranked 6th most deprived based on an average of deprivation ranks 1 and has some of the UK’s highest rates of child poverty.

Whilst unemployment levels have fallen since 2011, worklessness remains a major issue, and Teesside currently has the second highest unemployment rate of all the Local Enterprise Partnership areas, with youth unemployment at 5.1% several times higher than that of the UK average.

Life expectancy in some parts of the area has barely improved since the 1930s, with Middlesbrough, for example, having the lowest life expectancy for newborn girls in the whole of the UK.

The area fares poorly in relation to a whole range of health indicators, with significantly higher rates of smoking, alcohol abuse, obesity and mental ill health than the national average.

Educational attainment across Teesside is also a major issue, with nearly half of the area’s 16 year olds failing to achieve 5 A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths, and a similar percentage of the area’s secondary schools being judged less than ‘Good’ by Ofsted.

Despite all of the challenges, Teesside, through the local people and businesses, has a great enthusiasm to improve. Middlesbrough Football Club unites people across the area to inspire and engage and we aim build on the unique strengths and role of the Club to raise aspirations and change lives.

Tackling some of these long- standing and deep rooted socioeconomic challenges by harnessing the power of sport and the MFC ‘brand’ has been at the very heart of MFCF’s work since its inception. Ensuring it focuses its energy and resources in the most effective way possible in the years ahead remains the key to its future success.

Our Strategic Priorities

Drawing on our analysis of the context in which we operate, the challenges facing the communities we serve and the strengths and weaknesses of our current operations, we have identified five strategic priorities for the next 3 years.

Organisational development – building our capability

We need to build the capability of the Foundation to ensure high quality governance and operational excellence in our work over the longer term.

Business development and stakeholder relations – growing our income and reach

Working closely with MFC, we want to increase local partnerships, grow income and funded programmes in order to extend our reach and impact.

Delivery – demonstrating service excellence and changing lives

We will deliver high quality programmes through inspirational people to raise aspirations and improve the life chances of young people and adults in our local communities.

Marketing and promotion – taking a leadership role on Teesside

We want to significantly raise the profile of our charity – and the MFC brand – to achieve greater recognition and support for the Foundation’s work.

Monitoring and impact – demonstrating value

We want to clearly demonstrate the value of our work, using monitoring and evaluation of our performance to guide future delivery and increase the long term impact of our activities.