The University of Portsmouth has won a Heist Award for engaging the community through a partnership with Portsmouth Football Club.

The Awards are in their 30th year and reward excellence and innovation within education marketing.

The University’s partnership with the football club won bronze for ‘Best Community/ Business Engagement Campaign or Initiative’.

The judges described the partnership as “a truly great initiative with mutual benefits”.

A truly great initiative with mutual benefits

Judges, Heist Awards

University Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Bernie Topham said: “From the start of our partnership with Portsmouth Football Club, we strove to create a meaningful working relationship that gives back to both of our own communities and more widely, across the city and region. I’m very proud of what we have achieved and continue to achieve, and delighted to be continuing to work closely with an innovative and exciting club for the benefit of the city.”

Anna Mitchell, Chief Commercial Officer at Portsmouth Football Club, said: “We’re delighted that our partnership with the University of Portsmouth has been recognised in this way. It has always been more than a case of the university’s logo simply appearing on the front of Pompey shirts, with the two organisations working closely together over the past few years in order to benefit the whole community.”

Plans now to widen participation of students in the club’s activities and to bring life-changing experiences and opportunities to the community

The partnership, now in its third season of the University being the club’s Main Club Partner, has brought numerous benefits to both partners and the community, including:

  • Reached over 1,500 pupils from school visits with the Club, with the aim of reaching 2,500 as the project progresses;
  • Provided over 100 placements for students across diverse departments, including overseeing and running the jumbo screen in-stadium viewed by over 18,500 fans on match days pre Covid-19; 
  • Given our Dental Academy students hands on experience carrying out pre-season oral health checks with young players in the PFC Academy, with the hope to roll these out further within the city;
  • Created a professional pathway for students and researchers in Sport Science to work closely with the First Team to support student experience, research development and knowledge sharing;
  • Enabled fans to become more familiar with the University, with more than 50 per cent feeling the University has an extremely positive impact on the city as a whole.

Looking ahead, initiatives are planned to widen participation of students in the club’s activities and to bring life-changing experiences and opportunities to help improve society.

It is the second Heist Award the University has won. Last year, the Marketing, Communications and Advancement Department won a Silver Award for Marketing Team of the Year.