Member News & Events

University on the ball with AFC Bournemouth

University on the ball with AFC Bournemouth

Businesses in Dorset could take a leaf out of AFC Bournemouth’s book and draw upon the skills of Bournemouth University’s students and academics.

More than 70 businessmen and women heard how BU provides the Premier League club with expertise across a range of disciplines.

That included a testing time 11 years ago when the Cherries could barely pay staff before a series of promotions to top-flight football, with BU’s students proudly mucking in.
The March breakfast networking event by AFC Business, which has 2,000 members and is the club’s free-to-join business club, was held at BU’s Fusion Building on Talbot Campus.

BU has been the club’s official higher education partner since 2013, with AFC Bournemouth’s commercial director Rob Mitchell, a BU graduate, forging links back in 2008 when he arrived at the Cherries

He told the audience: “One of the first partnerships I wanted to forge was with the university because of the resources here, the students, the academics – the support that the university could give would be boundless.”

BU has provided the Cherries since 2008 with skills across various disciplines, including sports science, marketing, research, coaching, physiotherapy and media, as well as helping out on match days.

A number of students have gone on to work full-time at AFC Bournemouth, Rob said. “It has been a bit of a career path for them.”

There are also player appearances at BU, with guest talks, special topics and links with equality and diversity and mental health and wellbeing.

BU is also supports AFC Bournemouth’s girls’ football programme as part of the club’s drive to promote and increase female participation in the game.

Attendees heard how the football club and university teamed up on a coaching programme for 180 Chinese students, over three years, as part of China’s bid to be an international force in soccer by 2050.

Jim Andrews, BU’s chief operating officer, said that engagement between business and the university, which has 20,000 students and contributes £1 million a day to the regional economy, is essential if talent is to be kept within the region.

He said: “Something that makes BU distinct is the number of students we have on placement at any one time. We are one of the only institutions to offer a work placement for every undergraduate course. The reason we do that is because work placement means better employment outcomes. It is really important to us that we work with local companies, national companies and international companies to provide those opportunities for our students to get real-life practical experiences because that is what you, as companies, are looking for.”

The event also heard an update on the regional and national economy from Professor Jim Roach and from Ian Jones, head of regional community partnerships at BU.

After the event Rob said: “This was another informative breakfast event for decision-makers and entrepreneurs, with us showing how businesses in Dorset can successfully follow the Cherries’ example by drawing upon the considerable skills and expertise of BU’s students and academics across a range of disciplines.”

For further information about the business club please email Aysia Smith at aysia.smith

Official partners of AFC Business are Bournemouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce, Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dorset Mental Health Forum, Hill Osborne and Strategic Solutions.

The next business club event, the spring BBQ, takes place on 11th April at Vitality Stadium, followed by a networking breakfast at the same venue on 8th May.

Paying respects

Thanking the business partners of AFC Business, Rob paid tribute to the late Bill Riddle, the vice president and chairman of Bournemouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce and a highly respected figure in the town’s business community.

Rob said: “Bill was a fantastic supporter of the football club and business club. He was an avid Sunderland supporter but I know that AFC Bournemouth was very close to his heart as well.

“On behalf of the football club I want to send our sincere condolences and thoughts and prayers to Bill’s family, friends and everyone that was associated with Bill as well.”

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Cherries player earns pupils’ respect

Cherries player earns pupils’ respect

AFC Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook thrilled year five pupils at Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School by coaching them in the value of respect.

Corpus Christi in Boscombe is the latest school to benefit from the club’s Citizenship & Respect programme, which is delivered by AFC Bournemouth’s self-funding, non-profit Community Sports Trust and supported by Goadsby.

Independent estate agency Goadsby, which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, sponsors the highly popular project which uses young people’s love of football to encourage good behaviour at school, at home, in sport and within the community.

Lewis said: “It was great meeting all the children. During the workshops the Community Sports Trust team and I worked with the one year five class and one year two class to discuss and share ideas about the importance of respect.

“They were all very engaged and enthusiastic and I was impressed by the thought they put into their questions and answers.”

Lewis was also quizzed by the children on his career and gave out AFC Bournemouth branded prizes.

The youngsters also received booklets provided by Goadsby which include fun activities and examples of how they can show respect within football.

Paul Stewart, managing director of Goadsby (Commercial), said: “This is our fifth season as a partner of AFC Bournemouth’s Community Sports Trust and it continues to be very rewarding for us as a company to be involved, both with the club and a programme which has such a positive impact on young people’s lives.”

Steve Cuss AFC Bournemouth’s Head of Community said: “The Citizenship & Respect programme is always a big hit with children and we are hugely grateful to Goadsby who have established themselves as a loyal club partner and a real community champion.”

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Six of the best as insurance firm sings with Cherries again

Specialist broker Alan & Thomas Insurance Group has renewed its partnership with AFC Bournemouth for a sixth successive year.

The Cherries’ Official Commercial Insurance Suppliers manage the club’s commercial insurance activities from their head office in Poole.

AFC Bournemouth star striker Callum Wilson was on hand to present a commemorative shirt to the company’s Trading Director Mark Hasell at Vitality Stadium.

Alan & Thomas Insurance Group have grown to now employ more than 80 people across their five offices in Poole, Basingstoke, Dorchester, Gillingham and Frome.

AFC Bournemouth’s Commercial Director Rob Mitchell said: “We are delighted that Alan & Thomas has signed up with us again.”

“The company has been a long-term sterling supporter of AFC Bournemouth, offering expert guidance on commercial insurance matters, and we welcome their renewed and strengthened partnership.”

“We have a long history with the company, which was instrumental in helping our fight against administration in 2000, and has been with us through thick and thin.”

Alan & Thomas has also become an executive partner of AFC Business. This establishes the company as an integral part of the free-to-join business club with presence at all the monthly events.

Mr Hasell said: “We are so glad to have been a part of AFC Bournemouth’s amazing rise to a position of strength in the Premier League and we had no hesitation is continuing our partnership for the 2018/19 season.

“Alan & Thomas has been growing alongside the football club and we are proud to have shared that journey by being both a keen supporter and provider of services to the Cherries.”

The company will continue to have stadium advertising, presence on match days and regularly attend AFCB’s corporate events.

Alan & Thomas is a leading insurance specialist based in Southern England providing commercial insurance solutions and risk management services for businesses, organisations, charities and personal insurance for high net worth individuals.

Founded in 1975, the firm is now part of a group of insurance brokers proudly in the Top 20 in the UK. In 2007, Alan & Thomas joined a select few brokers to be awarded Chartered Insurance Broker status by the Chartered Insurance Institute – the industry’s gold standard for insurance brokers.

AFC Business ­– the business club with 1,600 members and well-established as the engine for all the club’s commercial activities – welcomes hundreds of businesses to a variety of events and functions throughout the season

Becoming a member of AFC Business hosts a variety of benefits. To sign up to AFC Business today, email your details to the commercial team on

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Sporting legends prove the business

Two sporting heroes entertained nearly 150 directors from businesses across Dorset and Hampshire with inspirational stories at the seventh annual AFC Business Directors’ Dinner.

Double Olympic gold medal rower and adventurer James Cracknell, 46, was the keynote speaker at the event, held at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium.

He spoke candidly of the trials and tribulations of being an endurance athlete, as well as his crowning achievements and appearances on TV, including Celebrity Island with adventurer, writer and presenter Bear Grylls.

Such is James’ commitment to training, he practiced weeing every night in a bottle whilst prone under the covers in bed – just as he later had to do in a sleeping bag during his South Pole trek in temperatures of up to -50C!

James, 46, also touched upon the aftermath of a near-fatal accident – he was in a coma after struck from behind by the wing mirror of a fuel truck while cycling through Arizona, USA, for a TV programme in 2010; his cycle helmet saved his life.

He suffered a major head injury and spent six months recovering. He is now vice president of the charity Headway and an advocate of cycle helmets.

Steve Fletcher, 46, AFC Bournemouth’s assistant coach for the first team, was also a guest speaker, telling the audience about the club’s forensic attention to detail in training because “marginal gains of one percent can be the difference about being in the Premier League”.

The former striker at the club, who played with the Cherries for 18 seasons and has one of the stadium stands named after him, also recounted the ‘Great Escape’ goal he scored which saved AFC Bournemouth from relegation to non-league football in April 2009.

He provided the winner in a do-or-die home match against Grimsby – the hundredth goal of his career. That kick kept the club alive and paved the way for Premier League status a few years on, a fairy tale transformation in fortunes.

“The ball came to me, I chested it down, closed my eyes and volleyed the ball into the back of the net.”

Steve also said: “Someone once told me that if they cut me open I’d bleed red and black – that brought tears to my eyes.”

The Directors’ Dinner, which took place in the Top Floor Restaurant and was hosted by Harvey Thorneycroft, offers senior businessmen and women the chance to meet and network in a relaxed environment.

AFC Bournemouth commercial director Rob Mitchell said: “Our seventh annual Directors’ Dinner was a superb event, with a full house, and we were all gripped by the stories told by James and Steve, two great ambassadors for sport.

“In a message which clearly resonated with a lot of business people in the room, what came across was the determination to overcome adversity and the drive to always move forward, accepting that setbacks and defeats are part of the journey.”

AFC Business is AFC Bournemouth’s free-to-join business club which offers a host of benefits to its 1,600 members, such as attendance at regular events and breakfast networking meetings and enables the club to maintain a high profile in the business community.

For further information about the business club, email or call 0344 576 1910.

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Company protecting children online signs with Cherries

A Dorset based managed IT service provider helping children to stay safe online, has signed up to support AFC Bournemouth for another season.

Bournemouth and London based IT Support Business (ITSB) has renewed its partnership with the Cherries.

Under the arrangement, ITSB is an official partner of AFC Bournemouth’s self-funding, non-profit Community Sports Trust and sponsors a schools project called Connect with Care.

The project, whose club ambassador is midfielder Andrew Surman, provides lessons in one-hour workshops designed to educate young people on how to remain safe while using the internet.

ITSB chief executive Lee Dredge said: “As a provider of IT services to schools we feel it’s our responsibility to help educate young people on the dangers of the internet and as a parent myself, it’s a subject that’s dear to my heart.

“That is why I’m delighted that we are once again going to be working with the AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust on this great initiative.”

AFC Bournemouth partnerships manager Amy Brunton said: “It’s great to have ITSB back on board for another season. The company is very much at the heart of this worthwhile educational programme.

“Connect with Care is a wonderful classroom-based scheme and the Community Trust’s sessions are increasingly popular and have proved to be invaluable for parents, pupils and teachers.”

Support specialist ITSB, founded in 2010 and headquartered in Richmond Hill, has also signed up as an executive business partner of AFC Business, the club’s commercial arm.

As an executive partner of AFC Business this season, ITSB will continue to be an integral part of AFC Bournemouth’s free to join business club and play a role at monthly networking events and other gatherings.

The partnership will see ITSB engage with businesses across the region that are members of AFC Business, which now has more than 1,600 members and is the engine for all the club’s commercial activities.

Amy added: “We invite companies and organisations across the region to join AFC Business and take part in a host of events, as well as meeting like-minded entrepreneurs, directors and decision-makers.”

For further information about the business club, email or call 0344 576 1910.

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AFC Bournemouth and Yellow Buses have agreed to continue driving safety lessons into schools for the next two seasons – with Cherries’ star Dan Gosling heading the initiative.

The partnership began in 2016 and since then thousands of primary school pupils have taken part in the ‘Soccer Safety School’.

To celebrate, Yellow Buses will be giving away two Junior Cherries’ memberships on its social media channels.

These entitle youngsters to a host of benefits including meeting first team stars, discounts at local attractions and invitations to special events.

Steve Cuss, the club’s Head of Community, developed the programme that has been a massive hit with children and teachers alike.

It is part of the club’s Community Sport’s Trust and player ambassador Dan Gosling has raised its profile across the conurbation.

He said: “I have really enjoyed being a part of this project and visiting schools.

“I spent my childhood outside kicking a ball about and I want the next generation to do the same thing, and this initiative helps them do it safely.”

Steve Cuss said: “The course has evolved since we launched it with Yellow Buses in 2016 and the children have a lot of fun while learning.

“It includes highlighting the risks and dangers that children face when out playing and these involve road safety, which is something that Yellow Buses are experts in.

“We all want our children to be healthy and fit but we also want them to remain safe when they’re playing.

“Last year we delivered 61 lessons covering 1,800 children.”

Fiona Harwood from Yellow Buses said: “We have been delivering fans to Bournemouth games for more than a century and it’s great that we’re helping the newest generation of Cherries’ fans.

“We have two Junior Cherries’ memberships that we will be giving away over Facebook – so do look out for them!”

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Beales kick off extended sponsorship deal with Cherries

Long-established department store Beales is kicking off a second consecutive year of sponsorship with AFC Bournemouth.

Beales Department Stores is extending its relationship with the Premier League club by continuing as official partner of AFCB’s Community Sports Trust.

The store, established in the town in 1881 and still trading on the original site, is sponsoring the Bournemouth region of Premier League Kicks for the 2018/19 season.

Cherries defender Tyrone Mings is club ambassador for Premier League Kicks, a nationwide initiative which enables Bournemouth to offer free football to thousands of youngsters in a safe environment.

Beales chief executive officer Tony Brown said: “Beales is very much at the heart of the community and as a long-established business in Bournemouth we wanted to continue supporting an important project giving something back to that community.

“Our philosophy as a family department store group is to serve Bournemouth and the surrounding areas well and by sponsoring the Cherries’ Premier League Kicks programme we are helping the Cherries do exactly the same.

“It encourages young people to get involved in playing sports in the evenings, which sees them benefit from a healthier lifestyle, improved well-being and, most importantly, offers them a safe environment to enjoy themselves.”

AFC Bournemouth commercial director Rob Mitchell said:  “We are so pleased to have our town’s iconic department store Beales back on the Cherries team for a second season.

“Our two brands are synonymous with Bournemouth and it is excellent that we should work together this season.

“Beales staff will have the opportunity to engage and volunteer in the Bournemouth Premier League Kicks sessions and will be advertising at Vitality stadium.”

AFC Bournemouth’s self-funding, non-profit Community Sports Trust (CST) runs the Premier League-backed scheme locally with more than 1,000 young people participating last season.

CST head Steve Cuss said: “Our Premier League Kicks programme continues to expand, as we add new sessions throughout the season and we are grateful for Beales’ continued support.

“This popular Premier League funded project enabled us to offer free football to more than 1,000 young people during the 2017/18 season and we hope to exceed that number this year.”

The Beales store in Old Christchurch Road house a collection of official AFC Bournemouth merchandise, including replica kits for adults and children, training wear for both adults and kids, plus men’s fashion, souvenirs and accessories.

In Poole’s Dolphin Centre Beales store there are home and away shirts, socks and shorts for adults and children and a limited amount of adult training wear due to space restrictions.

For details on AFC Bournemouth’s Community Sport Trust see

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Fifth year for Cherries’ partner firm

One of the south coast’s largest independent office supplies firms has signed up for a fifth consecutive year of partnership with AFC Bournemouth.

Long-established Speedy Marquee is the Premier League club’s official office supplier as well as supporting the Cherries in other ways.

The Bournemouth-based firm will also continue to sponsor AFC Bournemouth’s matchday scoreboard team sheet, including an announcement and digital big screen animation at the time when the team is announced.

Family firm Speedy Marquee, headquartered at Wharfdale Service Road, Westbourne, remains an AFC Bournemouth Official Corporate Supporter and Supplier and also advertises at the club’s Vitality Stadium.

The firm’s operations director Matthew Hickman said: “We are very pleased to continue our relationship with AFC Bournemouth for another year – as the club continues to grow on and off the pitch so do we.

“As avid fans, we attend most games and entertain customers and suppliers throughout the season. Our association with the club is something of which we are very proud. The exposure this brings locally, nationally and internationally has been great for business.”

AFC Bournemouth Partnerships Manager Amy Brunton said:  “We are extremely delighted to have extended our relationship with Speedy Marquee into a fifth year.

“The firm is a key part of the ongoing success of AFC Bournemouth by being a strong  supporter of the club as well as supplying all our office needs.

“We look forward to continuing our excellent and long-standing partnership with Matthew Hickman and his team which dates back to before our promotion to the Premier League.”

Speedy Marquee was founded by Martin Hickman more than 35 years ago. His son Matthew is the second generation of the family to head the firm.

Today, Speedy Marquee is one of the largest, independent office supplies company on the south coast with more than 21,500 products, including office furniture and stationery, available for national next day delivery.

The firm’s national distribution centre known as Arrow or ADC is a 215,000 sq ft purpose-built building holding in excess of £29 million of stock. It has more than 2.5km of conveyor systems and on a daily basis around 70,000 items are picked.

Speedy Marquee is also a keen supporter of AFC Business is AFC Bournemouth’s commercial arm, the free-to-join business club which has 1,600 members and holds regular events such as breakfast networking meetings.

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Bournemouth, July 19, 2018– AFC Bournemouth are delighted to name local charity The Crumbs Project as their clubs charity of the year, in a drive to support vulnerable adults lead a life of independence.

The announcement comes after Club Staff voted for their preferred charity to support throughout the upcoming season. The Crumbs Project will receive support from the club across the 2018/19 campaign that will include profile-raising player appearances, signed merchandise and club media support.

The Crumbs Project is a Bournemouth based charity that was formed in 1997 and currently provides a range of vocational training programmes and supports vulnerable adults into either paid or voluntary work placements. The charity works closely with individuals with learning disabilities, mental health issues and stabilized addictions helping them to achieve a life of independence.

AFC Bournemouth Partnership Manager, Amy Brunton said; “We are proud to be supporting The Crumbs Project as our Clubs Charity of the Year. We are looking forward to working closely with the Crumbs team throughout the season to help adults with special life challenges have better life chances.”

Commenting on the announcements Crumbs’ Operations Manager, Leanne Miller said; “AFC Bournemouth is a legendary football club that has overcome many challenges with the support of its massive and loyal fan base. Crumbs is a charity that exists to help people in need to overcome a variety of life challenges, so our organisations are akin in many respects.”

“We are delighted to have been chosen by the Clubs Staff as their charity of the year. This is a fantastic opportunity for our small charity to gain some much needed awareness about the important work we do with vulnerable adults within our community. We would like to thank everyone who voted and we are looking forward to working with the team at AFC Bournemouth throughout the upcoming season.”

For further information about The Crumbs Project please visit or call 01202 519320.

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