St Mirren Football Club (SMFC) has been recognised for its unique partnership with young person charity, Kibble, as it takes on iconic football clubs from across the world at this year’s Football Business Awards.

The club, which qualified for European football this week for the first time in 37 years, has been grouped in the same category as Premier League teams Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham, French title winners Paris Saint-Germain and Spain’s football top flight La Liga, as it celebrates the work that has been achieved in collaboration with Kibble.

National charity Kibble purchased part of St Mirren FC in 2020, alongside St Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMISA), in a deal that is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK. The agreement created the only fan-owned premiership club which is also run in partnership with one of the country’s biggest charities.

As part of the deal, Kibble provides St Mirren with a substantial amount of support and commercial expertise to help the Football Club grow as a business and together, they create more opportunities for young people.

At the awards, hosted in London on 24th May, St Mirren has also been named as a finalist for its sustainability initiatives and will go head-to-head with current Premier League champions Manchester City, and fellow English club sides Brighton & Hove Albion, Fulham, Norwich City, and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Shortlist for St Mirren’s award categories at the Football Business Awards

Partnership of the Year

  • GRIDSERVE x Fulham FC: Driving Decarbonisation and Fan Engagement around Sustainability
  • Manchester United Foundation and DXC Technology
  • PSG x Qatar Airways
  • St Mirren FC X Kibble
  • Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: F1® DRIVE – London
  • Wasserman & LALIGA: The Two Biggest Names In World Football Join Forces
  • Xero – Women’s Football Partnerships

Sustainability Award

  • Brighton & Hove Albion FC
  • Fulham FC
  • Norwich City FC
  • Manchester City FC and Puma Re:Fibre
  • St Mirren FC
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

As part of its sustainable focus, St Mirren is driving a number of initiatives across the club to ensure that the organisation is a good neighbour that gives back to the community, as well as a legacy for generations to come. It has set out to ambitions to be the first carbon neutral football club in Scotland, while its multi-award-winning programme Street Stuff provides a range of weekly activities which are free to young people throughout Renfrewshire.

Photo: Jim Gillespie, CEO of Kibble, and Keith Lasley, COO of St Mirren
Photo Credit: Kibble Education & Care Centre

Keith Lasley, chief operating officer at St Mirren FC, said: “It’s a really proud moment to be nominated alongside so many well-known and successful clubs across Europe, underlining the innovative partnership model that has shown great success in recent years. Good luck to all our fellow nominees.

“Our overall objective is to be the best community-centred development football club in Scotland and we are extremely proud of the progress made to date.

“Alongside Kibble, we have strengthened youth employment opportunities and our set strategy, vision and mission confirms our dedication to sustainable business growth and securing the club’s future.”

Jim Gillespie, CEO of Kibble, said: “We’re delighted to be recognised in such iconic company and it is a tremendous achievement that underlines the significance of the partnership.

“The innovative collaboration between the two organisations provides more opportunities for vulnerable young people who are given the chance to gain valuable experience within a large, functioning operation to ensure training and future employment opportunities.

“For our young people, having access to a premiership football team has invigorated them to get excited about the world of work. And, for us, there is no better testament to the partnership’s tremendous success.”

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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