Hibs have announced the launch of the new Public Social Partnership set up by the Club, the Hibernian Community Foundation and NHS Lothian.
GameChanger aims to harness the power of football and utilise the Club’s physical, brand and emotional assets to embed the Club in its community in Edinburgh, the Lothians and beyond.
The Partnership – believed to be the first of its kind developed with a football club – will deliver major projects that will create big physical and mental health benefits, create and deliver training and employability programmes, and work to improve the lives of more vulnerable people in our communities.
The assets include the Club’s stadium at Easter Road, and its training centre near Ormiston in East Lothian.
The first evidence supporters will see will be around the stadium at home matches for the rest of the season, when some innovative and exciting health initiatives will engage with fans attending the matches. More information will follow next week.
While there are three founding partners, almost 100 private, public and third sector organisations and individuals have signed up as interested parties.
Included amongst these are local authorities, MSPs, universities, colleges, and some of the region’s major charities and social enterprises.
The scope and scale of the projects being planned to deliver community benefits is very significant, with medium-to-long-term projects including a health village, a learning and innovation zone, a family centre, and a healthy growing zone. A huge range of other ambitious projects and programmes are also being developed.
Leeann Dempster said: “GameChanger is attracting a lot of interest because it sees football take a very different approach to how it works to benefit its community. It is the first time a Scottish Club has been involved in a Public Social Partnership, and on such a very significant scale.
“We came from the perspective that the Club has very large physical assets. Clearly these can be utilised in ways that create community benefits if we engage with the right partners, but everyone accepts that engaging with a major football club brings much more than that.
“Football helps gain access to hard-to-reach audiences, it creates high levels of awareness, it touches lives in a way that very few other things in Scotland can match. Our partners are all very excited at the ‘magic dust’ that football can sprinkle on issues that really need our attention.
“Hibernian Community Foundation is already engaged in some tremendous work around grass roots football participation and physical exercise, and has an excellent partnership with Edinburgh College to deliver learning and opportunities through our Learning Centre at the stadium.
“The Public Social Partnership, GameChanger, simply builds on that commitment in a very ambitious way.”