Meet The Stars
Just over a week ago, the GFN mothership spent a couple of days in Birmingham co-hosting a 48 hour Good for Nothing gig with Ecclesiastical Insurance. Our second mission with them in a year, you can check what happend the first time here.
This was part of our ongoing 'Good for Something' experimentation, as we explore different ways to help create financial sustainability for the Good for Nothing mission.
The format remains the same, collaborative, self organising, rapid doing and prototyping, working with game changing social enterprises, doing stuff that really matters.
It works, and the response from those involved, suggest something powerful is going on, in terms of getting teams to work in new and better ways, offering up new areas for innovation, collaboration and opportunity between networks for profit and networks for change.
24hrs before the event, one of the social enterprises dropped out due to unforeseeable circumstances.
So through the might of twitter and my old mate on the internet Steve Lawson, I found myself calling Lincoln Moses MBE, main man at Birmingham based Continental Star FC - a unique football club meets charity meets social enterprise.
Lincoln was just getting off a plane at Birmingham Airport and the call went something like this...
me: Hi Lincoln, this is Dan from Good for Nothing Lincoln: hi Dan me: Sorry to call you as you've just got off a flight but it's quite urgent… We're doing a thing tomorrow in Birmingham, we bring diverse talented folk together for a couple of days to help turbo charge the awesome work of people like yourself imagine a room full of talent and skills up for working with you and your team, for 2 days on your most pressing issues..for free Lincoln: sounds fantastic, can you send me some more details. me: I already have, so are you free tommorrow, cos we're going to be in Digbeth for 2 days and we have a spare slot for a social business, and we've heard amazing things about your work Lincoln: Dan, this sounds very interesting can I call you back when I get home from the airport. me:sure one hour later, I call Lincoln back me: hey Lincoln, sorry to hassle you but have you had a chance to think about it? Lincoln: Dan we'd love to be a part of this Good for Nothing event.
And so we met Continental Star F.C
The Stars are frankly amazing. Dedicating their lives to helping others through sport, and doing it loaded with integrity, soul and purpose. Two days with them was properly humbling.
For 37 years they have been providing access to football for thousands of youngsters within the West Midlands community who are often marginalised and considered by others as hard to reach.
The Stars use the football experience as a catalyst for mentoring and life coaching, helping youngsters find their own path in life.
As well as running 15 weekly football teams from under 7’s upwards, a ladies’ team, and a growing portfolio of sports activities. The Stars offer a range of highly successful community services.
Notably an after-school Homework Club working with disadvantaged youngsters; a women’s help group providing valuable support and advice to unemployed and lone parents.
In addition, the club also acts as Grassroots B.A.M.E (Black & Asian Minority Ethnic) advisors to the English FA and the Kick It Out campaign.
48 volunteers are the engine room of Continental Star F.C, they organise and run 15 Football teams, working directly with over 400 youngsters a week, from 3 years old upwards.
And they do this with barely any financial support, nothing to even cover their personal expenses.
They have no pitch, no clubhouse, no transport of their own.
The whole thing self organises through a network of committed, passionate do-ers who care deeply about their community and try to solve the problems and challenges their youngsters face, developing youth through mentoring and life coaching and the positive catalyst of structured football.
Yet our time with The Stars left us troubled.
Why was an organisation, with a long track record of doing incredible community work, deep systemic work, benefitting thousands of people, running on fumes and human energy alone?
In little over a day the team from Ecclesisatical worked at breakneck speed to deliver a huge amount of work around the funding challenges Continental Star face, a corporate funding pitch and DM approach was developed, funding applications made, a total overhaul of their web site and communications to strongly articulate their mission of 'more than a football club'. Showing the community services they provide alongside the football teams. Check here for the full rundown of what they delivered.
On top of this, team Good for Nothing also got stuck in. We were so moved by the deep, soulful work of Continental Star, we wondered if others like us might feel the same.
So we started to think whether an opportunity exists to seek crowdfunding to help kickstart a new stream of more sustainable financial support.
It was before dinner after day one that I was chatting to Loz about football season tickets. I'm a Gooner and that pleasure costs me £900 a season (cheapest seat), Loz on the other hand as a Wigan lad, forks out £250. (It pays to live up north)
So what about a Season ticket for Continental Star F.C?
It wouldn't get you access to the ground. Because they don't have one. They share pitches.
But what about a season ticket that helped give over 400 kids a week access to football and community services.
How much would I be prepared to pay for that? £10, £20, £50? And would other people want to buy one? Would it matter if you didn't live in Birmingham? What would you want in return? A tee shirt? A shout out? Updates from the club?
We shared it with Lincoln, Delton and team, and they really warmed to it, we started to sketch out how it might work, and now we're getting into the detail financially, operationally and from an experience and customer perspective.
What does a Season Ticket holder at Continental Star get access to? Are there different levels and so on.
Tom R interviewd the team and Anouk quickly hacked together a mock up funding pitch above (we did this in about 1 hour) - it needs work and developing, but it got us started.
So we're going to work with Continental Star as Good for Nothing to see if we can help them launch 'The Stars Season ticket' and get it funded.
We're probably mad, as we've got a fair bit going on right now. But we're blown away by Continental Star F.C, and want to collaborate with them on this missions as a learning experiment.
We'd love any thoughts and feedback on this, or indeed if you could imagine backing this idea on a funding platform. Would you become a Season ticket holder for The Stars? What would you want in return. And if not, why not?
We also need to find a film-maker(s) in Birmingham up for helping Continental Star make a crowdfunding pitch film. These guys do incredible work, a couple of days with The Stars will be time very well spent.
We need to move swiftly.