CSR: Football comes first for school children

Campaign First for Football Client FirstGroup PR team Paul Ridley Timescale September 2008-ongoing Budget Undisclosed but believed to be in the region of £100,000

The UK rail industry’s reputation has taken a hammering in recent years so FirstGroup, one of the largest travel operators
in the world, wanted to emphasise the imp­ortance of reaching children and families through community schemes.


To drive participation in the First for Football scheme in the South West

To position FirstGroup as the company that helped youngsters learn to play football.

Strategy and plan

Paul Ridley proposed that a football participation scheme would enable FirstGroup to directly reach children.

The agency negotiated with Football League clubs and enabled FirstGroup to sign individual sponsorship agreements with eight clubs, along with a unique partnership that united rivals Swansea City and Cardiff City for the first time.

Measurement and evaluation

The initiative resulted in more than 43 pieces of media to date, including print coverage across regional newspapers, radio coverage on BBC Radio Wiltshire, and online exposure via local news and football websites.


More than 60,000 children are taking part in the FirstGroup sponsored schemes, along with 1,400 teachers at coaching sessions and after-school clubs.

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