This week Kibble announced innovative new partnership plans with St. Mirren Football Club to grow opportunities for young people.
If plans go ahead, Kibble will own a 27.5% stake in the club, opening future job prospects and opportunities in employment, training and education, as well as widening access to sport, health and wellbeing. This exciting partnership will also address local deprivation and exclusion through youth employment, community engagement, initiatives and activities.
Believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, no league team is owned and run in partnership with a major charity in the way proposed here.
A decision will be made by members of the St. Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMISA) in February, with a straight majority deciding the outcome. If agreed, the partnership will mean St. Mirren will become Scotland’s latest fan-owned football club from as soon as 2021 – five years earlier than planned. This will be an incredibly exciting time for our charity and St. Mirren as we combine the youth-centred, educational and commercial expertise of Kibble, with St. Mirren’s first-class sporting facilities and national profile to develop a dynamic partnership.
At the centre of this will be Kibble’s young workforce development model that will continue to thrive, with increased job prospects for our young people aligned with the current job market. This will complement existing provision offering skills and qualifications in areas such as: catering, hospitality and retail, along with apprenticeships in grounds keeping and maintenance.
Kibble young people will have access to the club’s professional sporting facilities, enhancing our school’s physical education provision and offering an inspiring backdrop for learning and skills development. The benefits of sport on mental health are well documented and partnering with St. Mirren will enable us to provide greater access to sport, nurture talent and support overall health and wellbeing.
Kibble chief executive Jim Gillespie said: “We are incredibly excited by this important plan for both organisations, both of which were founded in Paisley in Victorian times and are a part of the town’s history”.
“This is not about Kibble wanting to be involved in the day-to-day running of a football club, our offering will be to bring new resource and expertise to help St. Mirren grow as a business, while expanding opportunities in the community”.
Kibble’s partnership with St. Mirren Football Club will create an environment that can bring meaningful change to the lives of young people in care at Kibble, to St. Mirren Football Club, and to the wider Paisley community.
A final decision will be made by SMISA on 21 February.