The Trust and the Community
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.
● We have worked closely with the club to ensure that all in our community feel welcome and included at Champion Hill. In particular, we have taken action to challenge homophobia and to encourage LGBTQ+ fans make Dulwich Hamlet their club of choice.
● We run the club shop in our MegaContainer and an online shop. Selling merchandise helps build fan loyalty and also raises the pink and blue presence in the local area. Our scarves and shirts are frequently spotted around Southwark, and much further.
● We have secured Neighbourhood Fund grants from Southwark Council which were used to secure a presence at local fairs and festivals including the Dulwich Festival Fair and the Lambeth Country Show. This has helped raise the club’s profile and increased the level of attendances at Champion Hill.
● We have helped promote Non League Day at DHFC – an annual event which typically takes place on International weekend when there are no top flight games and encourages football supporters to go and watch their local non league club. In 2015, Dulwich Hamlet had over 2,800 attend for their match against Hampton and Richmond – a result which was fuelled by a strong campaign to get more people at Champion Hill in which the Trust helped promote.
● Since 2009, the Trust has had a monthly article in SE22 magazine – local magazine delivered to over 5000 addresses. Our articles provide the local community with the latest news at the Club and forthcoming fixtures.
● We contribute to the local community newsletters produced by Southwark Council for surrounding areas.
● The Trust organises Monthly Match Posters and arranges for them to be posted and delivered to our poster partners which includes local businesses and organisations.
The good news is that attendances recovered from their low point in 2009/10 average of 181 to reach an average 1528 in 2017/18. For the last few seasons, crowds have regularly exceeded 2000 for Saturday league games. Undoubtedly on the field success and promotion since 2013 has played a large part, but raising the profile and spreading the word has been an important component of this. The success of the Non League Day events over the past few years is also evidence of this.
The number of pink and blue scarves we sell each match also suggests that we have many new supporters every game. The aim is to continue to build further on this in future years. Working with the community remains one of our five core objectives.