Back in October 2021, Birmingham County FA strengthened their pursuit to help West Midlands football clubs create a low carbon greener game by partnering with Liftshare as part of the organisations Save Today, Play Tomorrow programme.
Liftshare is the UK’s largest car sharing organisation and Birmingham County FA have offered all of its members the opportunity to join the 750,000 likeminded people across the country to reduce their emissions footprint and save money.
Birmingham County FA joined the likes of the BBC, Warwickshire County Council, Birmingham Airport & BT in offering this service, with the average member saving almost £1,000 per year on travel costs. Liftshare currently work with the English Football League (EFL), helping fans from across the 72 clubs make matchday travel better for the environment and more affordable.
Richard Lindsay, Sustainability and Business Insights Manager at Birmingham County FA and Save Today, Play Tomorrow programme lead, said: “We were proud to partner with Liftshare in 2021 and are really impressed with their on-going work with the EFL. We know that travel is unavoidable in football and that it makes up the largest percentage of the grassroots game’s carbon footprint. However, as the regional governing body, we have a responsibility to support our members in finding more sustainable alternatives when travelling to and from football.
By offering our members the opportunity to take advantage of the Liftshare digital platform, we have noticed the benefit of reducing emissions, positively impacting on air quality in the region and saving people money in the current cost of living crisis.”
Informal car sharing is already happening at many clubs up and down the county. We asked members to join the Liftshare community, to help dramatically improve the air quality in and around all venues to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities and now have over 800 members as part of the Birmingham County FA community.
We have been working hard with Crusaders FC, who are committed to increasing lift sharing within the club, and we managed to speak to parents, players and coaches of the club to shine a light on their fantastic support. To acknowledge their commitment, each team will receive £150 to spend on equipment from Birmingham County FA.
Within the U12 girls’ team, parents with a large family, personal and work commitments realised that they couldn’t always get to training and matches and all it took was one parent to ask for a lift for their child one time for them to see how helpful it is to share lifts each week.
Now, a group of four families, who live within 2 miles of each other share weekly by organising lifts via messages and Benita (parent) said “we will happily reach out and offer support as a team.” The sense of community and support is valued highly by those in the group, and they’re excited to receive the £150 for their regular lift sharing efforts.
Another team benefitting from using the Liftshare scheme is the U10 boys and Nikki, both a parent of a player and a coach, she understands first-hand the challenges that parents face getting children to training every week.
As a coach she was keen to save the families money and boost morale in the team by engaging parents with lift sharing - something that Crusaders are keen for parents to adopt. Setting up a dedicated parent only WhatsApp group, Nikki is leading by example and regularly shares and requests lifts, which has now led to five parents all actively lift sharing.
Lift sharing to football is rotated between the parents of the U13’s boys’ team too. There are 3 small groups within the team who live near each other and these groups regularly help each other out by sharing lifts. It’s convenient for them because they live in the same, or nearby, postcodes and they do it because it supports and contributes to the safe parking initiative at Rowheath Pavilion by using a single car instead of two.
Marcus (coach) said “the parents of his team have experienced lots of unexpected benefits of lift sharing. Such as spending less money on fuel, having more time to spend looking after younger children and helping elderly parents.”
Finally, we caught up with ladies’ player Paige who likes to share lifts because “it saves money and she enjoys the company in the car.” Paige believes that having lots of cars coming from around the same area is pointless and feels strongly about environmental issues and believes cutting down on cars on the road helps, and pleads that it is boring driving alone!
There are 2 other players that she shares lifts with as they all live close to each other, and she has notices there are several small groups, like hers, within the ladies’ team who do exactly the same. Paige would recommend lift sharing to anyone who can, “as it really boosts morale and helps bonding as a team through chatting and getting to know one another better on the journeys, as well as doing your bit for the environment.”
You could be the next one, so find out who lives close by in your team, or your child’s team, and see if you can give it a try! The opportunity to receive £150 is open to your team also, and coaches can find out more from Rosie [the BCFA Support Team], who has been making contact via WhatsApp groups.
For further information on Liftshare, visit https://liftshare.com/uk
To join the Birmingham County FA Liftshare Community, visit https://liftshare.com/uk/community/birminghamfa