Big Goal changes lives

With three football tournaments completed and founding member companies now inspiring disadvantaged youngsters at Street Soccer Academies across the UK, The Big Goal is truly changing lives, writes Comms Dealer founder Nigel Sergent.

The Big Goal initiative is riding the crest of an ever-growing wave of support having surged forward in recent months thanks to the passionate backing of organisations in our industry. The project came to life in February 2023 when industry stalwart Andy Mabbutt introduced me to his cousin Keith Mabbutt, a former professional footballer and now CEO of The Street Soccer Foundation. One phone call to Terry O’Brien, CEO of Giacom, secured a headline sponsorship and The Big Goal campaign moved into overdrive.

Giacom’s unbridled support has seen The Big Goal develop into an ESG/CSR programme that has united the channel like never before, using football as the catalyst for ICT companies to link up with football club foundations nationwide and help disadvantaged young people find a path out of homelessness and despair. “When Terry got behind the idea and we mapped out the intention for The Big Goal, he was convinced it would galvanise the sector in support of others and put aside competition,” recalled Keith Mabbutt.

Forty-four founding member teams have now participated in regional tournaments at Brentford FC, Sunderland AFC and Nottingham Forest FC – and 12 teams will now go through to The Big Goal national finals to be staged at St George’s Park, the home of England football, on November 1st.

Feel-good factor
“All three events had a brilliant feel-good factor and I had a ‘pinch myself’ moment when I saw hundreds of people playing football and interacting, all because of The Big Goal,” said O’Brien. “The tournaments brought to life our endeavour of uniting the ICT industry for the benefit of others, with every team sponsoring an academy of vulnerable and homeless young people.”
Channel companies are now visiting the Academies they are sponsoring, helping youngsters facing massive challenges turn their lives around for the better. These include Gamma (Wycombe Wanderers FC), Elite Group (Everton FC), InTEC Group (Salford FC Foundation 92), Focus Group (Crystal Palace FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC) and Onecom (Portsmouth FC).

“The founding members have already enabled us to double our service provision compared to 2023,” added Mabbutt. I firmly believe The Big Goal can become a true game-changing charitable endeavour akin to Comic Relief or Children in Need, uniting UK businesses through football to help tackle the biggest social issue in the country.”

To join The Big Goal email

Pictured above: The Focus Group Academy at Brighton & Hove Albion FC

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