Rotherham United are one of 63 EFL Clubs to have been awarded Family Excellence status for the 2019/20 season, reflecting the Club’s continued commitment to attracting and engaging families and young fans at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
During what became an unprecedented season for EFL football, the scheme recognises that family engagement continued to thrive in 2019/20, despite supporters being unable to attend live fixtures for the final part of the campaign.
The Millers received ‘mystery family’ visits during the 2019/20 Season, prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, with the assessors’ feedback and reports determining whether the Club would achieve ‘Family Excellence’ status.
The EFL’s Family Excellence Scheme sees each Club assessed across a range of touchpoints, in order to reflect and report on the first-time family experience they encounter.
Here at Rotherham United, we pride ourselves on ensuring that the football club provides everyone in the local area with an environment to enjoy and even in the unprecedented times in which we are living, we have continued to strive to make our services accessible to all.
Working closely with the club’s Community Sports Trust, we have continued to deliver sessions in involving players and coaching staff on a regular basis – doing so from afar when lockdown measurements were implemented.
We were incredibly proud to see our coaching staff, led by manager Paul Warne’s shining example engaging with supporters with a weekly live Rotherham United quiz, while players and staff alike were involved with virtual sessions with members of the community young and old on platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
In addition to all of the above – and during a time in which supporters were still attending fixtures – we had further built on the matchday experience at AESSEAL New York Stadium, making great strides to improve on the feedback which we have received from supporters over recent seasons.
Speaking following the awarding of the club’s Family Excellence status for the 2019/20 campaign, Head of Community Jamie Noble expressed his delight at the recognition for the club for its continued efforts over the last 12 months.
“The 2019/20 campaign has probably been our most challenging yet in terms of engaging with supporters, so to pick up Family Excellence status in spite of that makes us incredibly proud,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.
“We were once again receiving incredibly positive feedback from families about the matchday experience at AESSEAL New York Stadium prior to the curtailment of the 2019/20 campaign, but it is the work of people at the club following that time that I feel really reaffirms our commitment to the community.
“For obvious reasons, trying to engage with supporters from afar had its difficulties but we couldn’t have asked for a more receptive group of players and staff to help us with overcoming that hurdle.
“For Paul Warne, Matt Hamshaw and Richard Wood to take on the responsibility of creating a family-friendly weekly quiz, which was free for all to enjoy, during a time when our fanbase had very little to do in terms of recreational options was amazing.
“We had to look at new and innovative ways to keep in touch with our supporters and I think I speak on behalf of everyone at the club when I say how pleased we all were with our engagement with the local community in the circumstances.”
In addition to 63 EFL Clubs achieving Family Excellence status, ten Clubs also receive ‘Gold Award’ status for the exceptional family matchday experiences they provided for assessing families.
EFL CEO, David Baldwin said, “It is fantastic to see the continued dedication of EFL Clubs to provide an exceptional matchday experience for families when attending fixtures across the League.
“I would like to congratulate all those that have achieved Family Excellence status for the 2019/20 season and Luton Town, Peterborough United and Plymouth Argyle for their respective awards, setting a consistently high standard for family engagement.
“We know nothing beats the joy of watching a live fixture and the EFL and its Clubs look forward to welcoming the return of fans to stadia, when it is safe to do so. Up until the Covid pandemic outbreak it is clear from the evidence gathered throughout the Family Excellence Scheme, that young fans and families were experiencing a high standard of matchday experience across the League. It is testament to Clubs’ hard work that the standard of experience offered to families continues to rise, and this will undoubtedly help to ensure a welcoming environment will be provided for all families, once we are able to return to stadia.”
List of 2019/20 winning Clubs
Gold Award Winners:
Blackburn Rovers, Brentford, Cardiff City, Doncaster Rovers, Exeter City, Luton Town, Middlesbrough, Peterborough United, Plymouth Argyle, Queens Park Rangers.