Episode 1: Lockdown Life and Whatever Happened to British Journalism?

Mihir Bose – former BBC Sports Editor, David Smith – Economics Editor of the Sunday Times and political commentator Nigel Dudley have been friends since they first met while working at Financial Weekly in 1980s. They have kept in touch regularly, setting the world to rights over various lunches and dinners. With coronavirus making that impossible, they’ve been having weekly WhatsApp chats in the evenings, glass of wine in hand as they reflected on these the most extraordinary of times.

What do journalists do, deprived of long convivial lunches and the opportunity to set the world to rights over a bottle of red wine or several? Why, podcast of course.

In the first episode of Three Old Hacks Mihir Bose, David Smith and Nigel Dudley discuss how journalism has changed since they first became journalists in the 1980s and how the experience of the pandemic has affected all our lives.

Will the British ever go back to hugging or are we done with it after months of not touching? Have the British lost their fabled sense of humour by not coming up with a nickname for the pandemic? Are we less equipped to deal with hardship than previous generations?

Join this podcast for the wit and wisdom of ‘Three Old Hacks’.


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Get in contact with the podcast by emailing threeoldhacks@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!

Chiswick House awarded £308,000 from Culture Recovery Fund

Chiswick House & Gardens Trust has been awarded £308,000 from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, £1.57bn earmarked for helping cultural organisations including cinemas, theatres, music venues, museums and galleries as well as heritage sites to survive the impact of the pandemic.

Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of Chiswick House and Gardens, said she was “thrilled” to receive the award. “This money is really going to make a huge difference”.

The money will enable them to reopen the house to the public next April and to re-engage with local schools and communities through their community garden and by providing outdoor spaces for learning.

With this funding, Chiswick House is able to:

  • Restart the learning and community outreach programme
  • Continue their commitment to expanding digital activities and updating the website for those that can’t visit in person
  • Invest in getting Chiswick House ready to reopen in April 2021 in a Covid-19-secure way
  • Develop an opening programme of activities for all ages and for those that haven’t visited Chiswick House and Gardens before
  • Train the visitor experience and volunteer team ready for a Covid-19-safe reopening
  • Continue to invest in their team to secure future income.

The House has just announced that it has had to lose six posts because of the loss in earnings due to the pandemic this year, despite meeting its target of raising £120,000 over the past few months, through generous donations from the local community.

The government money will not stretch to covering the cost of repairing the playground. This remains a priority for which the Trust will continue fundraising.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Redundancies at Chiswick House

See also: Buy a Lego brick to support Chiswick House

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Stadium newsletter sent out to residents

The sixth Brentford Community Stadium construction newsletter has been delivered to around 4,000 local residents and businesses close to the site over the last few days. The Club, working with Development Partner EcoWorld London, have been keeping people in the local area updated as the building work has continued. A series of newsletters have been sent and the latest is out now.

The newsletter provides an update on how the development of the whole site is continuing. Brentford have played their first games inside the stadium in the past week after gaining a safety certificate. There is also news of work being done in the local community. See the newsletter here.

The stadium development is an important part of the wider regeneration of the area known as Brentford East. It will deliver a stadium together with more than 900 new homes, a new purpose-built location for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, and a public square with shops and cafes. The stadium will also be home to London Irish RFC, who have a licence to play at the venue.

Stu Wakeford behind the scenes at our New Home

On Sunday we play our first ever competitive game at our new home. Ahead of the game, Stu Wakeford was given unrestricted access to go behind the scenes at our finished home.

Watch: Our new home: From start to finish

We have now played our first game at our new home. A state-of-the-art stadium has risen before our eyes and a new era for Brentford FC is underway. We have come a long way since ground-breaking. Have a look at what we have achieved………

Brentford FC move in to new home

The next chapter in the Brentford FC story is ready to be written as our new stadium is now complete and ready for use. We can confirm that in the last few days a safety certificate has been granted for our new home to host games behind closed doors. The stadium was completed earlier this month and the first match will be played on the pitch in the coming days.

Work on the 17,250-seat stadium began in early 2018 and was almost complete at the start of this year when restrictions on movement were put in place due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Our Development Partner EcoWorld London and their stadium principal contractor Buckingham Construction Group Limited have been working safely to get the stadium ready over the past five months. The work of all involved from the Club, Lionel Road Developments Limited and our partners came to fruition when the area’s Safety Advisory Group awarded a safety certificate.

The Club will need to secure an updated safety certificate in order for supporters to be allowed inside our new home and meet social distance protocols. We are working hard to put plans in place for matches in front of fans based on the initial guidance that has been released. We will update you as soon as we can.

Cliff Crown, Brentford FC Chairman, said: “This is a momentous announcement and a great day for everyone involved with the Club. This is a project that was first conceived nearly two decades ago and that the Club has been actively pursuing for the last 15 years. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work.

“I would like to congratulate Conor Hayes, Chairman of Lionel Road Developments, who has worked tirelessly for the last five years. He had a great team working with him including our Operations Director Alan Walsh, Will Whitby, Barry Winterton, Richard Arnold and Adam Marks. We have relied on our advisors to help us achieve the completion of the stadium and I also want to thank EcoWorld and Buckingham, plus those working with them, for delivering the stadium.

“This has not been an easy project, given the tight space to build in, and the recent Covid-19 outbreak was an extra challenge to overcome. To get the stadium completed in those circumstances is a great achievement. And we should also praise the Club’s operations, safety and security staff – Dave Gregg and Barney McGhee, alongside Alan – for securing a safety certificate with that backdrop.

“I was delighted to be able to host the August Board Meeting inside the stadium last week. It is a stadium of the highest standard and a fitting home for a Brentford FC that is preparing for a bright future. It is a real shame that our fans cannot get inside yet but that day is coming soon, and we are all looking forward to it.”

The stadium development is an important part of the wider regeneration of the area known as Brentford East. It will deliver a stadium together with more than 900 new homes, a new purpose-built location for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, and a public square with shops and cafes. The stadium will also be home to London Irish RFC, who have a licence to play at the venue.

2020/21 – fans attending matches August update

More than 11,000 fans, including our Premium Seat Members, have now secured their seats in our new stadium. We can also announce that more than 10,000 of these seats are General Admission and Premium Season Tickets, in ‘The Dugout’.

The government has released initial guidance on planning for social distancing in sports grounds. This may, if all goes well, allow fans into our new stadium to watch games before the end of 2020, but this is yet to be confirmed.

We now know the first matches at our new stadium will be behind closed doors and, following that, the attendance will be restricted so that social distancing can be maintained. At this moment in time, government advice states that the earliest that fans could return to football stadia is 1 October. We are working through this guidance so that plans can be drawn up to get as many supporters as we can into our matches within the EFL and government guidelines. As with the five games missed at the end of the 2019/20 season, a plan is being developed for the 2020/21 campaign that delivers what fans want – access to The Bees – and minimises the need to issue refunds, helping to protect our Club. Further details will be announced in due course once we have greater clarification from the EFL and government.

Restricted access to games under a limited stadium capacity scenario will be given to 2020/21 Season Ticket Holders who have paid for their seats in full. We do not envisage the reduced capacity scenario enabling all 2020/21 Season Ticket and Premium Seat Holders access to the stadium for every game, therefore plans are being developed on the fairest way to admit our supporters on a rotation basis. Clearly the level of rotation will depend on the reduced capacity limits imposed on the Club.

A limited number of Season Tickets remain, and any new supporters who wish to become a Season Ticket Holder can reserve their seat but will be ineligible to attend our reduced capacity games.

We will be working through our Waiting List in sign-up order and, subject to availability, supporters will be able to pay a holding deposit for their seat. Once social distancing restrictions have been lifted and we can host matches at full capacity, the remaining payment will be due.

Our 2020/21 Season Tickets start from £419 Adults and from £74 Juniors. Full prices and more information can be found here.

Similarly, the very small number of fans who are yet to pay for their 2020/21 Season Tickets in full will also be unable to attend games in a reduced capacity scenario, unless these are paid in full by 31 August 2020. Please contact reservations@brentfordfc.com to make your final payment.

We appreciate and share your frustrations and can assure all supporters that more information about how and when fans can return to watching The Bees will be released just as soon as we can. As you will appreciate, many of the decisions impacting the return of fans are outside of our direct control and any resumption of football in front of fans will depend on EFL and government guidance.

Community Trust offering free Zumba classes

As part of the ongoing #BeeWell campaign, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust is now offering free online Zumba classes. With many now returning to work, the Trust have adapted their sessions to fit around everyone’s busy schedules. The #BeeWell campaign, aims to support children and adults with their physical and mental wellbeing, offering an array of online activities to support during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The #BeeWell campaign follows on from the Trust’s successful #BeeatHome campaign, which saw a staggering 1,000 children and young people take part in online activities during the government lockdown. Onlin activities are continuing and Zumba classes are now available.

Brentford FC supports #KeepHounslowSafe message

Hounslow Council has issued a message from Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health. It has been reported that Covid-19 cases are rising in the borough. Brentford FC is encouraging all borough residents to follow the advice of the local authority to keep each other safe.

Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health at Hounslow Council said: “On Friday we received data from Public Health England which showed cases of coronavirus continue to increase in the borough, with a large rise in numbers over the past two days. Cases are concentrated in Heston, Hounslow Central/West, Cranford and Chiswick, but also recorded in other areas. The spread of cases suggests it’s due to wider family and friend groups meeting and not maintaining social distancing.

“We should not forget how awful the situation was for many of our residents earlier this year. More than 230 people lost their lives and thousands of others became seriously ill, with many still feeling the impact today. Coronavirus is still lethal. Lives are still at risk.

“We need everyone to keep their distance from people who do not live in their home. Stay 2 metres away from them at all times where possible. Please, do your bit to help reduce the spread and keep your family and friends safe. If we do not reduce this contact cases will keep rising, more lives will be put in danger and we risk a local lockdown in the borough.

“You can spread coronavirus without symptoms. Don’t be the one who makes your vulnerable friends and relatives sick. People who ignore social distancing are making a choice to put themselves and others at risk. They may be fine, but the people they infect, particularly if they’re elderly or have long-term health conditions such as diabetes or heart problems, may not.”

Continue to follow all Government advice:

  • Keep your distance – 2m from others not in your household where possible
  • Wash your hands, or use hand sanitiser, regularly and for at least 20 seconds, especially when you get home.
  • Don’t touch your face when you’re are not in your home.
  • Wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets, on public transport and when in other indoor spaces where keeping apart from others isn’t possible. Please always take a face covering with you when you leave your home in case you need to use it.
  • Get a free test if you have any symptoms – a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Find a local site here.
  • Stay at home if you have symptoms, test positive for the virus, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.

More information on the Council’s Coronavirus webpage.

Covid next steps

“Rapid increase” in Covid

Coronavirus cases in England have “increased rapidly” and the government’s scientific advisers are now warning that hospital admissions are “very close” to the level they were in early March.

Estimates suggest between one-in-170 and one-in-240 people you meet in the street has the virus. The number of cases and the speed at which they are increasing is highest in the north of England, but London is reckoned to be only about two weeks behind.

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, presented MPs with evidence which appeared to show the number one environment for the virus being passed on was pubs, restaurants and the hospitality sector. At the same time the date has been criticised for not being sufficiently rigorous. The Test and Trace app launched two weeks ago, had by Friday 9 October only sent out one notification about a coronavirus outbreak in a venue.

Sky News technology correspondent Rowland Manthorpe wrote:

‘Department of Health officials said that the system was still in its infancy and was not expected to be used frequently. But with mass closures of pubs and bars expected in parts of the country, the absence of targeted venue alerts has raised questions about the government’s strategy’.

This despite more than 480,000 businesses having downloaded QR code posters within three days of the launch of the app on 24 September

Shadow digital minister Chi Onwurah said:

“There is a plain contradiction there and ministers need to get a grip.”

Sadiq Khan calls for pub curfew review

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for an urgent review of the 10.00pm curfew on pubs and restaurants, saying it actually appeared to be causing an increase in Covid infections. In central London the scenes of people turning out of pubs all together at the same time have caused people to question the effectiveness of the policy.

Speaking to the London Assembly on Wednesday 7 October he said:

“My view is that the 10pm curfew not only doesn’t appear to be reducing the increase in this virus, but could be counter-productive. I have been lobbying the Government to try to review this 10pm curfew.”

He told the Evening Standard on Thursday 8 October:

“It is vital that the Government carry out a review of the 10pm curfew rules as a matter of urgency. It is now clear that the scientific evidence for bringing in the policy was limited, and we continue to see the unintended consequence of increased social mixing in other settings after 10.00pm.

“At the same time many of our pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues are on the brink of collapse as their revenues are reduced even further, without financial support from Government”.

Richmond now has one of the highest levels in London

Cases have more than doubled in a week in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames, with112.1 new cases per 100,000 people in the week to 5 October. In Richmond 222 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 during the seven days up to 5 October. In the previous week there were 89 people who tested positive.

The capital is now seeing higher increases in the wealthier boroughs than it did before. While Richmond has shot to the top of the table, Hounslow remains in seventh place, with 85.8 cases per 100,000. Ealing is at fourth place with 96.5.

“One London”

Sadiq Khan told the London Assembly that though there were differences between the levels in different boroughs, when it comes to measure to control the virus, he prefers for the capital to be treated the same across all boroughs.

“We are keen to go as one London,” the Mayor told the assembly. “The Government is keen for us to go as one London.

“The idea of having a restriction in one borough but not in another borough, when people often travel from home to work, or may go to a restaurant in another borough, or to visit family – you can imagine the complications if that were to happen.”

‘Tiered approach’ for different parts of the country

Writing for the BBC, Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg said the government is likely to introduce a tiered approach to put different parts of the country with different spreads of the diseases into different categories.

‘However you look at the blizzard of statistics about the Coronavirus, the disease is still spreading – despite town after town being placed under extra limits.

‘It’s a complicated equation. The Department of Health is worried about the spread of the disease, as well as other patients losing out on other treatments because of the focus on Covid. No 11 is fearful about the impact on the economy, which has already had a profound shock. And it’s No 10’s job to worry about all of it, then reach a conclusion’.

Leaked documents suggest the government is considering a range of options, but that the prime minister will announce some form of tougher measures, the details of which will vary from region to region.

The Independent reported that the document detailed three alert levels, from the minimum level of restrictions applicable to all of England to the most stringent measures reserved for the highest level, if cases cannot be contained.

Alert Level 1

‘Alert Level 1 includes restrictions currently in place, such as the rule of six and a maximum of 15 guests at weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, but 30 for funeral services’.

Alert Level 2

‘Alert Level 2 would be triggered in specific geographical areas or nationally where a rise in transmission cannot be contained through local measures. People would not be allowed to meet anyone outside their household in private dwellings, including gardens. Visiting indoors in hospitality, leisure or retail environments would be restricted to one household, unless they are in a support bubble’.

Alert Level 3

‘Alert Level 3, can be triggered in geographical areas or nationally when measures from the previous alert level have failed to contain the spread of the virus, or where there has been a significant rise in transmission. Measures in this level are the harshest, and include no social contact outside your own household in any setting and restrictions on overnight stays away from home’.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Lyric Hammersmith sets £50,000 fundraising target to reopen

See also: The cinema-going experience is “a casualty of Covid” says Andy Harries

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Officials outline #BeeTogether with Off the Pitch

Brentford FC have been talking in depth to Off the Pitch about our Bee Together strategy. Off the Pitch delivers unrivalled football business journalism and insight to subscribers as well as delivering a business intelligence tool to compare data from clubs across Europe. Chief Executive Jon Varney joined Directors Monique Choudhuri and Nity Raj for a conversation about Bee Together, the Club’s diversity and inclusion policy.

In an interview that lasted more than an hour in early July, the three spoke about lessons learned in recruitment on the pitch – which has just helped Brentford to their highest league finish since 1947 – could be used in other areas. There was a discussion about how the Club looks to grow its fanbase in one of the most diverse areas in the country and that recent protests for racial equality have given rise to a more forensic conversation inside the Club on diversity and inclusion. The piece can be read here.

The article is behind a paywall but fans can read this, and other Brentford content on the platform, by signing up to a seven-day trial. More information can be seen here.

Investment in female sport in local area

Sport England has awarded £1m of National Lottery funding to England’s hosting of the UEFA European Women’s Championship in 2022 (WEURO2022) with a view to increasing the number of adult women playing football in England. In keeping with Sport England’s continued commitment to women’s and girls’ sport, the investment will support the development of local plans within the proposed EURO 22 host cities: London, Trafford, Manchester, Sheffield, Rotherham, Milton Keynes, Wigan and Leigh, Brighton and Hove and Southampton. Brentford Community Stadium is currently scheduled to be hosting games in the tournament.

Eight Host City Legacy Groups have been established with key partners from Football, Local Authorities, Active Partnerships, Education, Public Health and Culture coming together to work towards a common EURO 2022 Legacy Plan. These groups will be awarded approximately £100,000 to create a recreational women’s football offer in each of the nine host cities – currently being reconfirmed to deliver the tournament – so that when EURO 22 arrives the right opportunities and structures are in place to capitalise on anticipated interest. The offer will include female activation in the regions to support new playing opportunities, with this being led by female ‘Playmakers’ following The FA’s new entry level course aimed at getting more volunteers into grassroots football in a safe and welcoming way.

The investment will also pilot a new programme in each of the host cities to explore whether parents and carers attending The FA’s Wildcats sessions, aimed at girls aged five to 11, have a desire to take part in adult sessions that would run simultaneously alongside the Wildcats sessions. Sport England’s EURO 2022 project aims to capitalise on the proven impact of major events on grassroots interest in the game, with research undertaken during and after the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 revealing significant rises in women playing following the tournament.

In the younger age brackets, 31 per cent of girls aged 12–15 were regularly playing football after the 2019 Women’s World Cup compared to 26 per cent before, with the pattern continuing in the 16 – 24 age bracket (35 per cent after WWC compared to 27.8 per cent prior) and the 25 – 34 age bracket (31.3 per cent to 26.5 per cent). Overall, 460,000 more women aged 25+ were playing football after the World Cup than before, the biggest increase of any age group.

The UEFA Women’s EURO was initially due to be played in summer 2021, however following the Covid-19 pandemic the tournament was rescheduled and will now take place from 6-31 July 2022.

Phil Smith, Sport England Director of Sport, said: “EURO 22 will be a significant and exciting event, and we are delighted to be working with The FA to use it to grow the women’s game. We believe a ‘place-based approach’ – working with local stakeholders to develop a recreational football programme for the right place, at the right time – can be instrumental in making this happen and ultimately developing women’s and girls’ football in England. We know from data collected during the 2019 Women’s World Cup that there was a significant increase in the number of women playing football both during and after the tournament.

“For EURO 22 Sport England and The FA are trying to get ahead of the game. We know the Tournament will excite the fans and the public, so we want to use that excitement to support even more women and girls to start playing.”

Louise Gear, The FA’s Head of Women’s Football Development, said: “UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 is set to be a record-breaking tournament, and one which offers us huge opportunity both to continue building the profile of women’s football and to inspire more women and girls to get involved in the game. We are delighted that Sport England has announced this significant investment. By supporting the development plans of each of our nine dedicated host cities, we hope that we can build on the energy and excitement that comes from a home EURO to turn these regions into hubs for increased activity and opportunity in the wake of the tournament.

“We look forward to working with Sport England and our eight Host City Legacy Groups to ensure that this investment translates into real playing opportunities for thousands of women, in turn driving participation in the game and benefitting local communities long after the tournament has concluded.”

Next two Soccercise videos released

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust have released more Soccercise videos. The first proved to be a big success and more were released in April for fans to take part in. More followed in May. Now two more are available.

The videos are produced in partnership with the Premier League’s Kicks project. Designed to be undertaken either indoors or outdoors, Soccercise combines a variety of fitness exercises with a football. The class is delivered to music and based on repetitions of specific exercises (i.e. press-ups, squats, sit-ups).

A guide of how to use all the exercises can be found here.

The next videos can be seen here:

The Soccercise video is part of the #BeeWell campaign that encourages children and adults to stay active. The Trust aims to deliver educational and physical activity content to children and young people in the local area until normal practices return following the Covid-19 pandemic. For more information about physical activity sessions online email ce@brentfordfccst.com.

Winners of Bees Factor announced

The winners of the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust talent competition have been announced. The Trust was looking for talented children and youngsters to join an online talent competition. Whether it is magic tricks or sport skills, there were opportunities to keep busy and show off your skills during the restrictions on movement because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The competition was split in to three sections:

Sporting talent category

Showcase your keepie uppie challenges or sporty tricks and skills such as golf or basketball trick shots.

Performance category

This category includes theatrical performances such as dance routines, poetry, music, singing and acting skills.

Variety category

Showcase your best jokes or magic tricks with our variety section.

See the winners below.

Sky say Farewell to Griffin Park with special video

It was a historic and momentus day at Griffin Park yesterday as Brentford played their final ever game at their historic home. The Bees have played in that little corner of TW8 for 116 years but will move to a new stadium before the start of next season. They bowed out in the best possible way, beating Swansea City to secure a place in the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final.

Last night’s game was live on Sky Sports, as many have been in recent years. Prior to the match they brought some fans on site to look back at some of the best moments at the stadium. With the game behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this was a chance for everyone to say goodbye. Have a look at what Sky produced.

Brentford Women’s FC celebrate 30th birthday

The eyes of the football world will be on Griffin Park this evening but most watching will not be aware of a special Brentford FC anniversary that is also being marked this week. On 28 July 1990, the first steps were taken to form Brentford Women’s FC. Three decades on Brentford face Swansea City in the last ever match at Griffin Park and many of the players from Brentford’s women’s teams that have also graced the turf will be watching and remembering their days on the pitch.

The team was formed by Roger Crook in response to the demands from his daughter Amy to play football. Both are part of the matchday team at Griffin Park and work with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. They took the time, after the Brentford Women’s season was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic to tell the story of 30 years of female football at Brentford.

Read more below………..

Along with everyone else, our women’s teams have not been able to play football or even attend group training for months. In addition, the Greater London Women’s Football League called a halt to the season meaning all previous results were null and void, with the last games being played in March. As such, this seems like a very good time to look at the history of Brentford Women’s FC as it celebrates 30 years this year of the formation of what is now an integral part of the Bees family.

The story starts in July 1990 when Roger Crook formed BWFC based at Feltham Arena in Hounslow, in response to daughter Amy’s passion for football. This started out as an Under-14 team playing in friendly matches, before entering the Greater London Women’s League in the 1991/92 season. Their division comprised just four teams with Arsenal, Wimbledon and Walton and Hersham making up the numbers.

In what is probably a record year for Brentford, The Bees conceded 161 goals including a record loss of 26-1 against Arsenal. At the time the Arsenal manager was Vic Ackers OBE who went on to win numerous trophies as manager of Arsenal Ladies. As we often hear these days, it was a steep learning curve as we finished with no points after playing each team three times. It would also seem that “not many questions were asked of the other teams”.

In 1992/93 the division expanded to nine teams, and in 1993/94 we joined the Thames Valley League Under-15 league to keep travelling times more reasonable. In 1994/95 we moved again to the Southern Girls Youth League Under-17’s. The final move was the re-join the Greater London Women’s Football League in 1995/96 as the group were now eligible to play senior age football. Throughout this, Roger with the incredible support of his wife Maureen managed and coached the team as well as orchestrating and administering the changes to ensure the team were competing in the correct age group.

1995 saw interest in the female game increase enormously with the upcoming European Championships in England in 1996, and it was a time of progression as Brentford merged with a team from Smithkline Beecham to become Brentford Beechams. This meant the facilities and training ground of our neighbours became available, and The Bees had a successful season finishing second. One away match in Southend that season, resulted in the players and coaches descending on Roger’s brother in law’s house nearby for an impromptu tea party after the game.

Sensibly in 1997/98 the league re-organised their divisions into geographical areas, and Brentford stormed Division Three that season and were promoted as Champions to Division Two, moving up to Division One in 1998/99. 2002 saw the finest hour so far and the first taste of silverware as we beat Viking Ladies 4-1 in the Middlesex Junior Cup final. That year also saw the proof that, as per Roger “We were the brightest team around” as The Bees made their TV debut alongside Julian Clary and his dog in a DAZ advert.

2003/4 saw more success as Brentford were now competing in the Premier Division after promotion at the end of the previous season, only to be relegated back to Division One in 2005 after two seasons of fighting relegation. Another key achievement was  in 2004 as the club was awarded the FA Charter Standard Award and are proud to continue to attain this every season.

In 2005/06 the Bees merged with Viking Ladies and expanded to six teams: Ladies First and Reserves plus ages Under-15, Under-13 and Under-11A and B, with the Under-15 and Under-13 girls both cup finalists that season, and in 2007/2008 the two younger teams winning their respective divisions.

Age plays a major part in girl’s football as teams move into the next age group or in some cases jump a year, and after Under-16 it then becomes open age. Over the next few years there was considerable success even if the evolving age groups doesn’t necessarily show how each squad has moved on.

2009/10

Under-12 Capital Girls League Champions and Middlesex Cup winners.

Under-14A Capital Girls League Runner’s Up

Under-14B Capital Girls League Champions

2011/12

First Team promoted to London and South East Women’s Regional League

Reserves called Brentford Bees Runner’s Up in the league and semi-finalists in a      Cup competition.

2012/13

Under-13 Girls Teams were showing the way forward and both became Capital League Champions.

2013/14

A landmark season for the Club as the First Team became treble winners as Champions of Division One and success in the John Greenacre Memorial Trophy (League Cup) and the Middlesex County Intermediate Women’s Cup.

Since 2014 there have been both ups and downs. These days competition for players is fierce and with many strong clubs in and around West London there are always plenty of openings for female footballers and quality coaches. Currently BWFC consists of a First Team and a Development Team, comprising players aged 16 and over. The Club is in a very strong position and is still professionally run by Roger Crook and daughter Amy, who was the motivation at the start 30 years ago. There is a team of committed and qualified coaches headed up by Brentford legend Karleigh Osborne, and the future is decidedly rosy with a very real positive feel around the club.

The short-term aim for the coming season is at least promotion for both teams, and there is a genuine feeling that this is realistic and achievable. There is a group of talented footballers from the youngest at 16 to the most experienced players who have been there for as much as 16 years. Over 30 years some 1,500 players have passed through, and sincere thanks must go to all.

The Bees awards night has been attended by some high-profile people from inside and outside of the game, with Chris Mepham doing the honours during his last season at Griffin Park. Finally, it is important to say that Roger is the force behind this fantastic journey and is still as determined as ever to push the club on while being true to his principles of integrity and professionalism. Daughter Amy is a very large part of that, but sadly the rock behind them both, Maureen Crook, passed away in December 2018.

Development is still ongoing, with players taking coaching badges, coaches continuing their own personal development, family members and friends training as referees, and individuals playing a part in league and FA administration and governance.

Brentford Women’s Football Club is an important part of the Bees family, and values the support of Brentford FC. Sincere thanks to those that have watched the Griffin Park games over the last few years and who follow the teams on social media. Thanks also to those sponsors that have helped the club to progress and prosper through some challenging times.

The new season will be starting at some point, and the enforced break has instilled a determination to improve and develop in preparation. Virtual training has been a regular feature via Zoom, and personal and group targets have been in place and monitored. Fitness has been key as the girls prepare for the re-start, and many miles have been covered by bike and running shoes. Pre-season training should commence soon and friendlies will be arranged for a later date.

Here’s to a fantastic season ahead and many more years to come.

#BeeatHome recognised by Mayor of London

All at Brentford Football Club were delighted to receive a letter from the Mayor of London earlier this week. Sadiq Khan, London’s Mayor, wrote from City Hall to Jon Varney, Brentford FC Chief Executive to say thank you. Mr Khan wanted to thank all at Brentford FC for the support given during the Covid-19 pandemic that has put pressure on the NHS in the past four-and-a-half months.

Mr Khan said that Brentford had assisted in London’s “response to the coronavirus crisis” and support the local community. He specifically referenced the #BeeatHome campaign, the work of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust during the restrictions on movement. The full letter can be seen at Mayor of London Brentford FC letter.pdf.

When the government restricted all but essential movement across the UK in March, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust launched a #BeeatHome campaign that encouraged children and adults to stay active within their homes. The Trust delivered educational and physical activity content to children and young people in the local area while simultaneously urging people to stay at home to help save lives. The two month campaign saw people getting involved in a range of ways.

You can read more about the #BeeatHome campaign here and the Trust has now launched a #BeeWell campaign as restrictions around movement have changed. #BeeWell aims to support children and adults with their physical and mental wellbeing. With a recent survey highlighting how young people’s mental health has worsened since the Covid-19 crisis, the campaign aims to offer an array of online activities to support adults and young people during the crisis.

Try yoga with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust

With many now returning to work, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust have adapted their sessions to fit around everyone’s busy schedules. They have also added new classes including HIIT training and “morning stretch”. Among the classes available for residents is yoga.

A look at what is happening every week can be seen below or here. Feel free to join in.

FA response to July government spectator statement

The Football Association has issued a statement welcoming a Government update on when fans may be allowed back in to football stadiums. Games have been played behind closed doors since the Covid-19 outbreak earlier this year. A release from the Department for Culture Media and Sport on Friday, 17 July, announced pilots for return of spectators to elite sports events.

The DCMS statement can be seen in full here. It states that a small number of sporting events will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators through late July and early August – with a view to reopen competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place, from October 2020. The pilot events will provide the opportunity to stress-test the Government’s ‘stage five’ guidance, on the return of fans to elite sports events.

The FA has described the statement as a positive update. The governing body stated it, along with football partners, can step up our efforts to get fans back into stadiums as soon as possible. The FA has stated it will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities on how we can bring them back in a safe and secure manner, including any help we can provide to the proposed pilot events. The full FA statement can be seen here.

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More than 10,000 seats sold in our new home

Our 2019/20 Season is drawing to a close with The Bees still in the fight for promotion and looking to play our first season at our new stadium in the Premier League. More than 10,000 supporters, including our Premium Seat Members, have secured their seats in our new home and we are now approaching or reaching capacity in several areas of the ground, including the North Stand, South Stand, Family Area, and our four premium lounges.

2020/21 Season Tickets start from £419 Adults and from £74 Juniors in the Sky Bet Championship (and will increase by 25 per cent if we get promoted to the Premier League).  Full prices and more information can be found here.

With Season Tickets and Premium Seats still available, simply join the waiting list to give you the best possible chance to secure your seat at our new stadium.

Join the waiting list

We will contact you to conduct a phone appointment using screen share technology to show available seat views and answer any queries you may have.

We would like to remind new Season Ticket Holders that if you bought on an instalment plan, please remember to check that a valid credit or debit card is registered on your account ahead of your final payment next week. You can check what card is registered for payment by logging in to your account here. A guide to changing your payment method can be seen here. Should you have any further queries relating to your account or payment status, please contact the reservations team on 0203 7509705 or reservations@brentfordfc.com.

Brentford FC on Hounslow Recovery Programme Board

The inaugural meeting of the Hounslow Recovery Programme Board, Chaired by Council Leader Steve Curran and attended, virtually, by Brentford FC Chief Executive Jon Varney, heard first how the Council and its partners had supported the borough through coronavirus over the past four months, before looking ahead to the next six. Independent research carried out by Oxford Economics forecasts Hounslow will be the second hardest hit London borough economically, with a possible 40 per cent decline in output. A major factor is its proximity to Heathrow Airport and strong links to the aviation industry.

Its initial findings include:

  • 42,500 Hounslow residents are currently on furlough (37 per cent of workforce) – highest in London and fifth highest in UK, based on proportion of population
  • 47.7 per cent of jobs in Hounslow are in severely impacted sectors, and 30.4 per cent of businesses in severely impacted sectors
  • At least 11,000 residents are employed at Heathrow
  • Up to 27,000 jobs are linked to Heathrow
  • Job losses will likely impact lower skilled, lower paid, young and 50+ residents most
  • BAME communities, particularly Asian, are overrepresented in sectors severely affected by coronavirus
  • Pre-coronavirus employment levels not fully recovered until 2025

Council analysis shows:

  • 65 per cent increase in Universal Credit claims from April to May (20,300 people to 33,900)
  • The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in April exceeded 10,000 – a 52 per cent increase on the month before

The Recovery Board includes senior figures from Heathrow, health and community partners, educational establishments, Brentford FC, the Metropolitan Police, and major businesses and developers.

Cllr Curran said: “I’m immensely proud of how the Council, alongside health partners, local organisations, community groups, businesses and volunteers, led Hounslow through the coronavirus crisis. It’s been an inspiring joint effort; we’ve really seen the best of the borough.

“However, the borough now faces the toughest economic downturn in its history, with tens of thousands of jobs at risk. Only by continuing to work together can we effectively support and lead our communities through the tough months ahead, protecting jobs where we can and seizing new opportunities. This board embodies the spirit of collective focus and collaboration, of passion and enthusiasm for the people of Hounslow, that we need.”

Jon Varney said: “All at Brentford FC are very proud of our place within the borough. We represent our local community when we play and our Community Sports Trust works with residents every week, using sport to educate and inspire. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has hit everyone hard and the Recovery Programme Board is a great initiative to try and help the borough through the next stage.

“I did not have to think twice before agreeing to sit on the board and represent Brentford FC. I have seen some of the consequences of the outbreak and the forecasts of what could be coming. We at Brentford FC will do all we can to help the borough and its residents through the coming months and years. Collaboration and partnership are key values for us and it is by working together as a borough that we can get through this.”

Becky Coffin, Director of Communities at Heathrow, said: “The aviation sector is facing unprecedented challenges since the outbreak of coronavirus. At a time of crisis, it is critical that business comes together with local communities to co-ordinate our response and work collaboratively on recovery. As a big local employer, Heathrow is proud to be working with Hounslow Council to stimulate our local economy. Our community is filled with hard-working, skilled people, and by working together with our local partners, we have the best chance to drive a sustained recovery for Hounslow and West London.”

Tracy Aust, Principal at West Thames College, said: “In these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we collaborate with our partners to plan, implement and execute a co-ordinated economic strategy that will support our students, our residents and our businesses as they recover from the pandemic. We have a real opportunity now to work together and I am confident that collectively we can respond positively to the challenges ahead and make a real difference.”

Dr Annabel Crowe, Chair of Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is extremely concerning to hear the economic forecasts for Hounslow. When the local economy suffers, the health of our residents suffers too. However, I am grateful to all the partners on the Recovery Board for coming together. This shows how seriously we all take the quality of life of our residents. NHS Hounslow is committed to developing a more coordinated system of health and care. By bringing together local partners we will help Hounslow to recover from coronavirus and in turn support our residents to live healthier, happier lives.”

Barbara Tilley, Chief Executive at Ealing and Hounslow Community Voluntary Service, said: “There are major challenges ahead on the road to recovery for Hounslow. However, the fantastic achievement since coronavirus of enabling meaningful partnerships between statutory services, local businesses, residents and voluntary services to collaborate together to work towards the same goal, is truly remarkable. Strengthening these partnerships will be essential to supporting communities over the coming months.”

Tom Pocock, Managing Director – Land and Planning at Berkeley St Edward, said: “London’s recovery from coronavirus presents a significant challenge to its communities, but we are confident that the London Borough of Hounslow can bounce back from this and remain a brilliant place to live, work and enjoy. We are demonstrating our confidence in the borough with the imminent planning submission of a masterplan for over 2,100 homes and over 138,000 sq ft of commercial space in the Great West Corridor Opportunity Area. This will provide significant investment in the Opportunity Area and kick-start regeneration. We are confident that working together with local partners, residents, businesses and communities, Hounslow can recover lost ground and come back stronger than ever.”

Nick Moore, Managing Director at Barratt London, said: “High Street Quarter is a hugely exciting project for us, in a shared vision with Hounslow Council and the wider stakeholder team. It brings forward 588 new homes of which 41 per cent will be affordable, along with 134,000 sq ft of commercial floor space including a 24-hour 10 screen multiplex cinema, along with a selection of restaurants, cafes and shops. Coronavirus has obviously had a huge impact on the sector, but what we have discovered is the importance of a strong local high street, and we are delighted to share that we are speaking to a number of exciting businesses and entrepreneurs who will help make this venture a success in the local area.”

The Hounslow Recovery Programme Board will coordinate how organisations from different sectors across the borough work together on a wide range of issues, such as jobs, training and learning opportunities; health and wellbeing; environment; community engagement and safety; investment, regeneration and housebuilding.

It is underpinned by Council boards covering economy, community, environment, and social and wellbeing, on which sit a variety of representatives from across the borough. Each is leading on a variety of research and practical projects to support residents, businesses and local organisations.

The membership of the Hounslow Recovery Programme Board includes:

  • Councillor Steve Curran, Board Chair and Leader of the Council
  • Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, Vice-Chair and Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources
  • Councillor Lily Bath, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Housing and Social Inclusion
  • Niall Bolger, Chief Executive, Hounslow Council
  • Jon Varney, Chief Executive, Brentford FC
  • Tracy Aust, Principal, West Thames College
  • Becky Coffin, Director of Communities, Heathrow
  • Dr Annabel Crowe, Chair, Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Victoria Eadie, Chair, Hounslow Education Partnership
  • Diana Foxlee, Director of Property Service Group, Sky
  • Chief Superintendent Peter Gardner, West Area Borough Commander, Metropolitan Police
  • Sam Gurney, Regional Secretary, East and South East England, Trades Union Congress
  • Neil Impiazzi, Partnership Development Director, SEGRO
  • Nick Moore, Managing Director, Barratt London
  • Tom Pocock, Managing Director – Land and Planning, Berkeley St Edward
  • Barbara Tilley, Chief Executive, Ealing and Hounslow Community Voluntary Service

Trust sessions underway at Gunnersbury Park

After weeks of inactivity due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust are now operating football sessions again. The sessions resumed at Gunnersbury Park on Monday, 6 July, and are on every week day. They are open to children of all abilities and information can be seen here.

The sessions were also a topic of conversation on The Run In, our weekly show. See more below.

The new sports hub at Gunnersbury Park boasts one of the largest outdoor sporting facilities in London. Once everything is back up and running, mean local people will have access to a huge range of activities to help them maintain a fit and active lifestyle. The Trust will be working from Gunnersbury Park and will keep residents informed about what is open and available.

Trust still running health classes for residents

With many now returning to work, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust have adapted their sessions to fit around everyone’s busy schedules. They have also added new classes including HIIT training and “morning stretch”. Feel free to join in.

A look at what is happening in the rest of this week can be seen below.

Brentford FC Community Champion named

For the second year in a row, Brentford attacker Sergi Canós was crowned “Community Champion of the Year” by the PFA this week. Sergi, who has been recognised for a range of community accolades, was presented with his award, after it was sanitised, at the Training Ground.

Sergi’s involvement with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust includes:

  • Attending a wellbeing workshop for young carers and highlighting the importance of mental health on World Mental Health Day.
  • Taking part in the launch of our Show Racism the Red Card project and tackling racism in football.
  • Promoting our online activities during the government lockdown.

Speaking about his involvement in the local community, Sergi said: “I have always felt Brentford was a community-led football club and in my role as a Health Ambassador I hope to contribute to this reputation through my work with its Community Sports Trust. Using my platform as a professional footballer, I want to continue giving people a voice and promote causes I feel most passionate about. Whether that’s encouraging people to become more active or tackling the stigma surrounding mental health.”

Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “Sergi has yet again proven himself as an exemplary ambassador for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, approaching community initiatives with the same energy and enthusiasm that he displays on the pitch. Sergi has promoted key campaigns; including much-needed support for young carers and our Show Racism the Red Card project with the European Football Development Network.

“Sergi had strong competition for the award this year with a multitude of Bees players contributing to our #BeeatHome campaign during lockdown. There was great enthusiasm for online sessions and the advice they gave our aspiring footballers was inspiring. It looks as though the players have taken the energy back into the campaign for promotion.”

The PFA are committed to raising the profile and awareness of the extensive work and participation of players in support of Community and Charitable activities. PFA Community involvement extends across many areas such as: health, education, social inclusion, equalities – underlining our commitment to make a positive difference in society.

Trust’s Gunnersbury Park sessions resume

After weeks of inactivity due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust are now operating football sessions again. The sessions resume at Gunnersbury Park today, Monday 6 July, and are on every week day. They are open to children of all abilities and information can be seen below.

The new sports hub at Gunnersbury Park boasts one of the largest outdoor sporting facilities in London. Once everything is back up and running, mean local people will have access to a huge range of activities to help them maintain a fit and active lifestyle. The Trust will be working from Gunnersbury Park and will keep residents informed about what is open and available.

Football never went away at Brentford FC

With EFL clubs and their respective community 0rganisations working up and down the country to support families during the Covid-19 crisis, the EFL Trust have launched its “Football Never Went Away” campaign that highlighted the community response to the crisis. With 36.6million people in England and Wales living within a 10-mile radius of an EFL Ccub – a radius that encompasses four in 10 residents who fall into the most-deprived population groups – never has this work been more important. More than 215,000 food parcels have been delivered across the network, including an extra 26,000 Easter eggs and treats to NHS staff and vulnerable adults and children.

And as the Government called on the public to ease the burden on the National Health Service, at least 30 clubs opened their doors to key workers, offering space and facilities in stadia for testing and accommodation. In addition, Clubs have delivered over 13,000 items of PPE equipment and 3,500 prescriptions.

At Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, the Trust engaged with more than 1,300 adults and children online and made over 650 phone calls to its most vulnerable participants. Their most pioneering initiative targeted children who might not have access to a garden or outdoor space and helped them remain active within their homes. 600 activity packs were delivered to families across Hounslow and Ealing.

Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “Throughout the crisis we have aimed to play a part in the response to the most at need groups. The development of activity packs was supported by online sessions featuring Trust coaches and players, and the children targeted had in many cases no direct access to outdoor space. The packs aimed to boost motivation, creativity and physical activity. We are now planning the resumption of face to face sessions in small groups, whilst not forgetting that some of our online activities have been successful in attracting new participants. Moving forward, this will inform a blended approach to engagement.”

For more information about our community activities email enquiries@brentfordfccst.com. For more information about the EFLT’s campaign click here.

Brentford joins in as football unites against racism

A joint statement has been issued on the Premier League website to reiterate that players, clubs, The FA, EFL, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and all those who have come together in recent weeks reject racism and show support for the message that black lives matter. These three words have become an expression of unity for people from all communities who believe it is unacceptable to treat black people differently to anyone else.

The statement reiterates that ther message is a positive one that recognises football has the power to bring people together. See it in full here.

This follows the announcement of a BAME coaching placement scheme. Brentford FC have already contacted the relevant authorities to take part in this scheme. Our players reiterated their support for racial equality at the game against West Bromwich Albion last week.

The demonstration from the players came hours after a statement was released further outlining our position on Bees Together. That can be seen here. The Club has also released a new video reiterating our stand against racism and discrimination. Under the #BeeTogether banner, the video features Brentford players, fans and staff, and stresses the importance the Club places on togetherness and unity. See it here.

 

Football Never Went Away – The Championship support

Football has remained at the heart of communities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Clubs, including Brentford, and their charities, such at Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, have ensured that all participants, especially the most vulnerable have remained engaged. The EFL and EFL Trust have expressed their gratitude for the continued support throughout this difficult period.

And most importantly, as is the strength of the EFL Trust network, they have also responded to local community needs, with charities, players, volunteers and fans all stepping up just when their communities needed them the most, going well beyond their normal work to play their part in the response to Covid-19. Here’s just a snapshot of how Championship clubs adapted and responded over the past 4 months and continue to do so…

See more here.