One of the principle motivations behind formation of the Supporters’ Trust was a feeling that it was losing its connection with the local community in which it is located. In addition, following relegation from the premier division of the Isthmian League in 2001, attendances went down, further putting the long term future of the club in danger. The Supporters’ Trust has always firmly believed that one of the best ways to help ensure that the club has a future locally is to raise attendances and interest locally and to develop links with the community. The huge growth in crowds in recent seasons has been a result of the improved performance on the pitch under Gavin Rose and the work that the Trust (with the cooperation of the club) has done in the community.
- The Trust has worked closely with the club to ensure that all in our community feel welcome at Champion Hill. In particular, we have taken action in 2014/15 to tackle homophobia and to encourage LGBT fans make Dulwich Hamlet their club of choice.
- The Trust runs the club shop in our “Mega Container” and online. Selling merchandise helps build fan loyalty and also raises the visibility of ‘pink and blue’ in the local area. Our scarves and shirts are frequently spotted around Southwark, and much further.
- The Trust has secured a Community Grant from Southwark Council two years in a row (2014 and 2015). This was used to secure a presence at local fairs and festivals including Goose Green fair (May 2014) and the Lambeth Country Fair at Brockwell Park (July 2014). This has helped raise the club’s profile and increased the level of attendances at Champion Hill. This will be repeated in 2015.
- Since 2009, the Trust has paid for adverts detailing forthcoming fixtures in the local free magazine SE22, which is delivered to over 5,000 addresses locally. As part of this deal, the Trust also publishes a page of the latest news from the club.
- The Trust also prints monthly fixture adverts, which can be collected at the club bar. Fans then place these in local businesses.
The good news is that attendances have recovered from their low point in 2009/10 average of 181 to reach an average 667 in 2013/14. This season has seen crowds regularly exceed 1000 for Saturday league games. Undoubtedly on the field success and promotion in 2013 has played a large part, but raising the profile and spreading the word has been an important component of this. The aim is to continue to build further on this in future years. Working with the community remains one of our five core objectives for 2014-16.