10 Years of the Trust: Alan Curtis’ Story
As part of our ‘10 Years of the Community Trust’ campaign, which is celebrating the successes our official charity has achieved over the years, we will be sharing stories and exclusive interviews from the heart of our local communities.
The Swans Community Trust was born out of the club’s Football in the Community department, a project that was launched in 1991 by club legend Alan Curtis.
Curtis is synonymous with Swansea City, having given over 40 years’ service to the club in numerous positions from player to boss, and is currently the club’s first loan player manager.
It is lesser known that he once led the club’s community programme, a role that saw him taking the club’s ethos into the wider community.
“I played my last season for the Swans when I was 36 years of age in 1990. I worked for an insurance company for just under a year and then the community role came along,” explains Curtis.
“It was a new project at the time, a lot of clubs in the north started community departments and it slowly started to drift down south.
“Frank Burrows was the Swans manager at the time, and he explained that it was about going into local schools and taking the football club into the community.
“We started a big schools programme, and ran employment sessions and other sessions for people with learning difficulties.
“It was an important job but it was a huge amount of fun as well. It was very important that we raised the profile of the club.”
The Community Trust currently employs almost 30 full-time staff based across several different offices in South Wales, a far cry from the early days of the Football in the Community project.
Based in an office above the Swans club shop on William Street, Curtis led the Football in the Community department by himself.
“In some of our soccer schools we used to get around 200 children coming, a mixture of boys and girls,” he adds.
“It was predominantly boys, but we used to run girls’ soccer schools as well.
“It’s such a big operation now, which reflects how much the club has progressed over the last 10 years.
“It was a great time for me. It wasn’t as organised or as well prepared as the current Community Trust, but it was the start of it. It’s wonderful to see how the Community Trust is doing these days.”
The Football in the Community project was built on the same principles as the Community Trust, with a vast amount of work being carried out in local schools.
“The bulk of the Football in the Community initiative was the schools programme,” Curtis says.
“I got in touch with almost all the schools in the local area and we arranged about three or four visits into the schools where we would take coaching sessions with the kids.
“We’d then invite the pupils down to the Vetch and show them around the ground and arrange for some of them to come to watch a match with their parents.
“Even in those days we were trying to take the club out into the community and attract some younger supporters.”
Curtis highlighted the importance of the Community Trust in making a positive impact on the local community.
“A club like ourselves must be a huge part of the community and thankfully we have always been that,” he says.
“Anything positive about the football club is terrific, and the work that the Community Trust has done over the last 10 years has been great. The important message is that we are very much a part of the community and for a club and community like ourselves, I think that is vital.”
The 63-year-old also notes the growth of the Community Trust over the past 10 years and has predicted that it will continue to expand in the future.
“When I first started I would have never imagined from that little office above the club shop that we would now employ so many members of staff,” Curtis continues.
“But I’m sure now there’s only one way the Trust can go, and that is to get bigger and bigger.”
Look out for more success stories and exclusive interviews in the run-up to the Community Trust’s 10th Anniversary in November.