Bishop’s Stortford Community Football Club was formed in 2005 with the merger of four local youth football clubs: Bishop’s Stortford Youth, Stortford Jets, Northolt and Bishop’s Stortford Swifts, all of which had been active for many years. The newly formed community club initially fielded boys’ and girls’ teams and quickly obtained its coveted FA Charter Standard Community Club status, which was presented by Sir Trevor Brooking in February 2005. This is the highest standard achievable by grass roots football clubs and recognises the Club’s achievement of promoting football for all abilities in and around Bishop’s Stortford. Since formation the Club has expanded to meet this broad ambition and now also supports veterans, ladies and disabled teams. Our fastest growing section is girls’ football, a priority in terms of the Club’s development.
In the 2020-21 season the Club affiliated 80 teams with three County FAs (Hertfordshire, Essex & Amateur Football Alliance) catering for almost 1,000 playing members aged from 6 to 60 years old. The Club is one of the largest of its type and enters teams into 7 leagues covering Hertfordshire, Essex, Greater London, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Bedfordshire & Huntingdonshire. The Club is affiliated to Bishop’s Stortford FC, the senior club which currently plays in tier 3 of the National League System and with which we have forged close links. While the two clubs are financially and structurally independent, this arrangement allows BSCFC teams to compete as Bishop’s Stortford FC when appropriate and we share the same playing strip. The two clubs also have cross-over representation at Football Management Committee and Board level.
This association allows us to run a community programme providing projects within Bishop’s Stortford on the themes of community cohesion, social inclusion, education, health and promoting involvement in sport generally. The combined strength of the two clubs facilitates funding which otherwise would not be available. We have sourced funding from organisations such as the Premier League (through the Football Conference) and other national and local sponsors for our Community Programme. This funding has provided free coaching for children at schools in the town and surrounding villages, multi-sports, music sessions, parties for the elderly, and working with local disabled people.
Two disabled teams (St Elizabeth’s Centre and Home Farm Trust) have played in the Bishop’s Stortford Inclusion Cup Final in early May for approximately 10 years. We provide the trophy, commemorative medals and a buffet but what the funding cannot provide is seeing the faces of the players and their parents.
The Club worked closely with Birchwood High School to co-fund a full-size floodlit 3G training facility at the school, the only facility of its type in the town. After years of work & planning the club and the school raised a combined sum of around £650,000 through grants and fundraising which resulted in the facility you see today. It was formally opened by Bob Wilson in 2007 and the surface was replaced in time for the start of the 2018-19 season. It is used daily by the school, including the BSCFC Academy, and in the evening and at weekends by the Club and wider community. Birchwood High School and the Club consider this collaboration to be a huge success.