Member News & Events

AFC Business hails Rupert the Conkerer

AFC Business

The rise of Bournemouth’s award-winning Conker Spirit has been celebrated at the first Gin Evening to be staged by AFC Business.

The brand’s founder Rupert Holloway was guest speaker at the event staged in the Bubbles Champagne Lounge at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium.

Bournemouth Town Centre BID hosted the evening and Chief Operating Officer Paul Kinvig interviewed Rupert about his success story.

Businesspeople from across the region gathered for gin tasting, live music, food and networking at the newest event to be held by AFC Business, the commercial arm of AFC Bournemouth. Rupert was on hand to discuss his journey from kitchen table to Dorset’s first gin distillery in Southbourne and the story of his Dorset Dry Gin, made from Dorset botanicals and New Forest spring water.

The former quantity surveyor gave up his job, sold his car and sourced funding from wherever he could to launch Conker Spirit and scale it up into the success it is today with a range of products stocked by major retailers.

Conker Spirit has won a host of awards, including a Bronze at the 2018 World Gin Awards, and has branched out with its Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur and also the new 57% proof Navy Strength Gin, which benefits the RNLI by £5 from each bottle sold.

Bournemouth Town Centre BID – a not-for-profit-company established in 2017 and primarily funded by a levy on nearly 700 businesses within its area – is dedicated to raising the town centre’s profile, generating investment, increasing footfall and boosting revenue.

A fundraising raffle was held in aid of Dorset Mental Health Forum, AFC Business charity partner for the 2018/19 season, and the organisation’s Becky Aldridge and Sarah Rose were present to talk about the work of the long-established charity.

AFC Bournemouth Partnerships Manager Amy Brunton thanked all the sponsors for their continued support, saying they had been instrumental in the club’s success on and off the field.

Amy also announced a new AFC Business venture – a pre-match meal, hospitality and ticket to the pre-season friendly against Italian Serie A giants Lazio of Rome on August 2 at Vitality Stadium.

AFC Business, the free to join business club with almost 1,800 members, is the engine for all the club’s commercial activities. It was launched in 2009 and gives members exclusive offers at AFC Bournemouth, access to events and is a great chance to meet local businesses.

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

The next AFC Business event is the Directors’ Lunch for senior business people at Vitality Stadium on Wednesday July 10, which is sponsored by Savills and features as guest speaker Major Chris Hunter QGM, counter-terrorist bomb disposal specialist, with former Northampton rugby star Harvey Thorneycroft hosting proceedings.

For further information about the business club, email your details to Aysia Smith at

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Region’s economic powerhouse growing

Region’s economic powerhouse growing

The Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area is an economic powerhouse which is only going to get stronger, the latest AFC Business event was told.

More than 80 directors, business leaders, decision-makers and business people were at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium for the May networking breakfast.

They heard newly-elect BCP Council member Nigel Hedges talk about the importance of businesses to the region’s prosperity.

Cllr Hedges, the Conservative councillor for Wallisdown and Winton West, said: “This is a brilliant area in which to do business – a financial powerhouse in a rural county. We must be on our toes ready to do business and benefit from each other.

“I will continue to bang the drum for business and BCP Council will do all it can to facilitate economic development – in a sense the council is a self-sufficient business itself, representing 400,000 people and with a £750 million budget.”

Cllr Hedges, who hosted the breakfast event, added: “AFC Business offers a fabulous opportunity to meet so many different businesses and see how brilliant you all are at what you do.”

AFC Business, the free to join business club with almost 1,800 members, is the engine for all the Premier League club’s commercial activities. It was launched in 2009 and gives members exclusive offers at AFC Bournemouth, access to events and is a great chance to meet local businesses.

Amy Brunton, AFC Bournemouth’s partnerships manager, said the next business event would be the popular Play on the Pitch five-a-side football tournament at Vitality Stadium on May 15.

This is followed on June 13 by the AFC Business Gin Evening in Bubbles Champagne Lounge at the stadium, featuring Rupert Holloway, who will discuss the success behind creating Dorset’s locally distilled, award-winning Conker spirits.

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

For further information about the business club, email your details to Aysia Smith at or see to book event tickets.

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Back to college for star defender Chris

Back to college for star defender Chris

Cherries star defender Chris Mepham joined in with young players at the latest Premier League Kicks session staged by the Premier League club.

Project ambassador Chris attended a session for 15 participants on the 3G pitches at Vitality Stadium
Chris got involved by giving the teams a motivational talk, oversaw the five-a-side games and took part in a Q&A session before signing autographs and posing for photos. The event was supported by Bournemouth & Poole College, an official partner of AFC Bournemouth’s Community Sport Trust.

The College, which sponsors Premier League Kicks in the Poole region, became partners with the Cherries in January this year and will also continue its support into 2019/20 season. The College, which has sites at Lansdowne in Bournemouth and North Road and Tower Park in Poole, is the largest provider of further education and apprenticeships in the area.

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: “The project encourages young people to get involved in playing sports in the evenings and at weekends, which sees them benefit from a healthier lifestyle, improved well-being and most importantly offers them a safe environment to enjoy themselves and have fun with friends.

“AFC Bournemouth is very much a community club – we work with and for the community for the benefit of all concerned – hence why the long-term support of one of the area’s major educational establishments is indispensible.”

The latest Premier League Kicks session was part of an employability workshop that Bournemouth & Poole College delivered at the stadium followed by a behind-the-scenes stadium tour carried out by the CST coaches.

The workshop included a presentation on first impressions and how young people should portray themselves in front of potential employers, as well as advice on CV writing and interviews.

The next activities on the 3G pitches included the team building exercise ‘Gutterball’, in which participants worked as a team to move a ball from one end of the pitch to the other, just using pieces of guttering, whilst going around obstacles.

College Commercial Director Matt Butcher said: “A lot of team work and communication was involved in the day – which is exactly how we see our partnership with the Cherries. We are proud to support the Community Sports Trust which does such great work with so many young people right across the area.”

“The players themselves are excellent role models – we are grateful that Chris gave up his time to take part in our event, which was a brilliant extra for our participants. We want to spread our message to young supporters of the Cherries that we are there to help as many young people as possible to go after the career of their dreams and that there are exciting opportunities available at the College.”

Nationally, 69 football clubs are involved in the flagship Premier League Kicks scheme, engaging with more than 225,000 youngsters since 2006. It aims to promote participation in sport in areas of high need, provide opportunities for young people to develop skills and confidence and support young people to progress into positive pathways.

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IOSH Managing Safely

IOSH Managing Safely

This course being offered by Bournemouth & Poole College is suitable for managers and supervisors in any sector, in any organisation and is a completely new approach to health and safety training.

IOSH Managing Safely is a nationally recognised qualification and will equip employees with the knowledge and tools to tackle health and safety issues they have responsibility for.

The course covers:

  • Introducing managing safely
  • Assessing risks
  • Controlling risks
  • Understanding your responsibilities
  • Identifying hazards
  • Investigating accidents and incidents
  • Measuring performance
  • Protecting our environment

Start dates: Wednesday 8th May 2019

Duration: 3 days

Time: 9am – 5pm

Costs: £575 per person (includes course book and IOSH certification)

For more details or to book please call Stephanie Willcocks on 01202 205622 or email

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Cherries stars on crest of a wave

Cherries stars on crest of a wave

AFC Bournemouth superstars Ryan Fraser and Nathan Ake dropped in for the latest Ability Counts session at Vitality Stadium. The two internationals took part in practice drills and activities on the club’s training pitches before handing out medals and goodie bags, signing autographs and posing for photos.

AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust’s Ability Counts programme consists of weekly sessions which cater for more than 100 children and adults with physical and/or learning disabilities. Ryan is the club’s project ambassador for the programme, which is sponsored by Dairy Crest, a leading manufacturer of British food brands, including Cathedral City cheddar. Attendees at the session were wearing Cathedral City branded AFC Bournemouth shirts as Ryan and Nathan put them through their paces.

Long-established Dairy Crest has sponsored the Ability Counts programme for two seasons and is an official partner of the Community Sports Trust. Nigel Marchant, Dairy Crest marketing controller, said: “We are honoured to be able to support such a worthwhile scheme. It is absolutely fantastic to see the joy on the faces of the participants. The Dairy Crest community programme supports and enhances the communities in which we work and live – and Ability Counts is a perfect example of this.”

AFC Bournemouth head of community, Steve Cuss, said: “We would like to extend our very grateful thanks to Ability Counts sponsors Dairy Crest through its Cathedral City brand. Their generous sponsorship allows us to reach out to the community and include so many more people – young and not so young – in our programmes.”

Dairy Crest also sponsors Cherries’ accessible travel service to away matches.

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Business opportunities with Cherries

AFC Business

AFC Bournemouth is inviting businesses to explore partnership opportunities with the Premier League club.
Amy Brunton, the club’s Partnerships Manager, told guests at the AFC Business Spring Barbecue that many and varied options were available.

She said: “The football season may be coming to a close, but for the club’s commercial side it is the busiest time of the year as we look towards the 2019/20 season.

“We will of course be liaising closely with all our current partners, but I want to emphasise that there are always openings for businesses seeking new opportunities and we would love to hear from anyone interested.

“AFC Business is at the very heart of everything we do commercially and I want to thank all of our members for helping us to get where we are today.”

“We are very much a community club and will continue to work closely with businesses locally – many of whom have been with us on our amazing journey to the Premier League.”

Dozens of decision-makers and entrepreneurs gathered at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium for the barbecue.
Almost 80 business delegates and colleagues gathered at the club’s Bubbles champagne bar and terrace for the popular networking event.

AFC Business is kindly supported by Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dorset Mental Health Forum, Hill Osborne and Strategic Solutions.

AFC Business, the free to join business club with almost 1,800 members, is the engine for all the club’s commercial activities.

It was launched in 2009 and gives members exclusive offers at AFC Bournemouth, access to events and is a great chance to meet local businesses.

The next AFC Business event is the May Breakfast at Vitality Stadium on Wednesday 8th May, followed by a new event, a Gin Evening with locally-produced Conker Gin Founder and Head Distiller Rupert Holloway at the stadium’s Bubbles champagne lounge and terrace on Thursday 13th June.

For further information about the business club, email your details to Aysia Smith at

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AFC Business Breakfast

Join the AFC Business team for a morning of coffee and hearty food to kick-start your day and, more importantly, to give you an opportunity to network with lots of friendly faces within the local business community.

We’re less than a month from the next AFC Business Breakfast which takes place on Wednesday 8th May between 7:30am and 9:30am at Vitality Stadium.

The itinerary for the morning is:

  • 7:30am to 8:00am tea and coffee served and the chance to meet other business people in a relaxed and friendly environment
  • 8:20am delicious full English or continental breakfast served
  • 9:00am guests are invited to move tables and meet with other business delegates
  • There will be an opportunity to win a business card draw
  • 9:30am event closes

This breakfast is just £15 plus VAT per person. Due to the popularity of this event, we advise booking early to guarantee your place.

This is the last AFC Business event of the football season, so please bring plenty of business cards to make the most of the morning.

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Back to school for Cherries stars

Back to school for Cherries stars

AFC Bournemouth players Nathan Ake and Jordon Ibe joined in with the club’s Premier League Primary Stars session at Pokesdown Primary School.

Students at the school enhanced their footballing skills under the expert guidance of the two popular Cherries players during a fun-filled afternoon.

Thirty lucky students were selected for the session with 60 others joining their classmates for a question and answer session with the Bournemouth stars.

Medhurst IT sponsors the AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust’s Primary Stars initiative, which looks to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills through football.

AFC Bournemouth Head of Community Steve Cuss said: “We take PE sessions to schools across Bournemouth and Poole and we’ve been very lucky to have had Nathan and Jordon join us to participate in the lesson.

“The two players have been fantastic. Nathan is the club ambassador for the project and he’s supported it right from September since the start of the school year and has attended a number of different sessions.

“It’s always special when players come along and join in – the kids have been getting some really good advice and it’s been a fantastic afternoon.

“We’re really grateful to Medhurst IT for supporting this programme. We’re in and out of schools as often as we can be – today we’ve been in 20 different schools delivering the Primary Stars project.

Nathan also gave his thoughts after spending time with the students. He said: “It’s always great to take part. We’ve been to sessions a few times now and it’s good to see the children smiling and being able to interact with them.

“There was certainly some talent out there – a few kids who were really good – but the main thing is that everyone enjoys themselves and we joined in a few little games. People were showing their little tricks and that was great to see.”

Charlie Baynes from Medhurst IT said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Premier League Primary Stars programme, as we have in recent seasons.

“When you see the energy of the students involved it shows you what an exciting time it is for football in the area, and we are happy to be a part of that.”

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Cherries new stars at children’s soccer school

Cherries new stars at children’s soccer school

AFC Bournemouth players Dominic Solanke and Nathaniel Clyne surprised almost 150 children at the Community Sports Trust’s latest soccer school. The Bournemouth sessions, which run throughout every half term and school holiday, are kindly sponsored by local printers CMP Print, based in Poole.

After a day filled with drills, shooting practise and small-sided games, the two players arrived to give out prizes and take part in a question-and-answer session.

Following the presentations, the children grabbed an autograph from the players, both of whom joined the club in the January transfer window. As the day drew to a close, striker Dominic spoke about the importance of such sessions and the development of young players.

“It’s great, I think this is where it all starts. It’s really enjoyable and, back when I was their age, I loved just playing football, so it’s great to see so many here. It’s nice for us to come down and see it all here. It’s exciting for the kids and great to see them smiling. I remember some players doing the same for me so it’s a good feeling to come and do it for them.”

Paul Dawe, owner of CMP Print, also expressed his delight at the growing number of children attending the sessions. “It’s great to see so many people here, in particular the number of girls. It just goes to show how the sessions are evolving. The club put a lot of time into running these soccer schools, which is why we like to get involved and putting something back into it. Everyone does such a great job and it’s nice to be involved.”

AFC Bournemouth have thanked CMP Print, who sponsor the club’s soccer schools in Bournemouth and have been official partners of the Community Sports Trust for four consecutive seasons.

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