Aldershot Town Football Club will be shooting for glory after its nomination in the Business and the Community category at this year’s Inspire Business Awards.
The club runs a number of community projects in the local area and chairman Shahid Azeem said: “When we acquired the club in 2013, we wanted to make it a base for the community.
"The way we do that is by running it more as a social enterprise – out of all the directors, nobody gets paid.
“We want the club to be a hub in the community because results on the pitch on a Saturday or Tuesday make or break our supporters’ weeks.”
The board set out with three core aims to improve its work in the community: championing the town’s military history, engaging with the area’s Nepalese community and aiding local charities.
Mr Azeem said: “Our aim was keeping it here in Aldershot – the town is known as a military town and for the football club. We were the first club to sign up to the military covenant to be military-friendly and now every club in the Football League has signed up to that.”
He added: “The second part of what we wanted to do was engage with the Nepalese community. We work with Sahara UK, which organised a football tournament – we sent an academy team to Nepal to give our youngsters an understanding culturally of what’s different.
“With the earthquake, lots of buildings were demolished so we raised £30,000 for two schools in Nepal to be rebuilt.
“We also work with Step by Step and raised more than £56,000 sleeping out in the stadium. I and members of the board, players and members do it to help a local charity.”
During the past couple of years Aldershot Enterprise Centre has given 35 businesses a space to start, creating 60 jobs in a town earmarked as having ‘huge growth potential’.
The former officers’ mess, Mandora House in Louise Margaret Road, was established as a business centre in autumn 2014 by WSX Enterprise and has doubled in size in the past year.
Day-to-day, it’s run by army-based business support charity Enterprising Office and offers Aldershot’s first one-stop enterprise centre for new entrepreneurs and growing businesses.
The centre has made it to the final three in the Business and the Community category in this year’s awards.
WSX chief executive Peter Grant said: “We are very pleased to be nominated in the category; frankly, it’s what we are all about. We are there to help military, ex-military and the community come together in Aldershot, create jobs and businesses.
“To be recognised for that, we are very pleased. Hopefully it will help us to start even more businesses.”
The centre recently received funding from Enterprise M3 to expand, with Aldershot named as a ‘step-up town’ with potential for huge business growth.
Mr Grant added that about 70% of the available space at Aldershot Enter prise Centre is filled, so there’s still room for budding businesses to develop.
A Yateley driver training company is gearing up for a fine showing in the Inspire Business Awards.
Accelerate Driver Training is a finalist in the Business and the Community category of the prestigious awards.
Founded in 2009 by Rob Tillier, a learning and development specialist and ex-school teacher, the firm focuses on helping minimise the risk of youngsters being killed or seriously injured in a road traffic crash.
Mr Tillier set up the company as, when he was a teacher many years ago, three of his students died in motorcycle crashes and two of his teaching friends los their lives in car crashes.
Since 2011, Accelerate has increased its contribution to the community. “We are now entering our fifth year of a relationship with The Sixth Form College Farnborough, providing a range of young driver safety interventions,” said Mr Tillier.
“Recently we have worked with schools and colleges, including Yateley School, Calthorpe Park in Fleet , Robert May’s in Odiham and Fernhill in Farnborough to help keep their students safe while riding or driving.
“On a voluntary basis, we have reached in excess of 1,000 students this year and expect that to increase to more than 2,000 during the next academic year.”
Mr Tillier said the company had invested more than £15,000 to help promote young rider/driver safety in north east Hampshire.
“We use innovative approaches to getting the safety messages across, including using a go-kart and visual impairment goggles to simulate what it is like to drive drunk or drugged,” he added.
“I am delighted that the significant time and financial investment the Accelerate driver trainer/coaches and me have made over the years is recognised as a finalist in the Business and Community Award category.”