The Club has been awarded ‘The Football League Family Excellence Award’ for the 2012/13 season.
Created in 2007, the Award recognises the outstanding experience clubs provide for young fans and families at their grounds. The winners are decided by an independent assessment, using ‘mystery shopper’ families commissioned by The Football League, at all 72 League clubs during the 2012/13 season.
47 clubs from across all three divisions of The Football League were given the Award for 2013 – with eight clubs securing it for the sixth year running. A total of four also won the award for the first time this year.
In announcing the successful clubs, Football League Chairman, Greg Clarke, said: “The Football League Family Excellence Award provides clubs with a benchmark in their efforts to attract families through their gates.
“It is hugely encouraging to see so many clubs receiving the accolade, demonstrating The Football League’s commitment to securing the next generation of fans.”
O's Chief Executive Matt Porter commented, "We're delighted to have once again been awarded the Football League Family Excellence Award. It's testimony to the high priority we place on encouraging families to Brisbane Road and making it a welcoming and safe stadium for all to visit.
"Over recent years we have made constant improvements to the offering we make to our families and we will continue to do so next season with plenty more ideas centred around the North Family Stand and the #standupfortheorient initiatve planned."
With greater use of family areas, matchday entertainment and family pricing initiatives, the 2012/13 season has seen an increasing focus on making the experience itself more compelling.
The provision of specific pre-match information for families and first-time fans, dedicated family stadium entrances, specially trained family area receptionists, technology-supported entertainment, and a comprehensive effort to rid family areas of abusive language and anti-social behaviour, have all combined to increase the benchmark.
The judges were particularly impressed with the efforts clubs are making to engage with families through matchday entertainment, refreshment facilities and mascot activities, all ensuring they can enjoy the match in a dedicated, safe, welcoming and entertaining environment.
The Football League also aims to give encouragement to those clubs that have not been successful this time around. Best practice guidance, benchmarking feedback and training will be available to the remaining clubs to encourage their efforts towards achieving the mark next season.
The Football League has also recognised the clubs delivering the very best family experience in each division through the ‘Family Club of the Year’ award at this season’s Football League Awards. AFC Bournemouth, Brighton & Hove Albion, Cardiff City, Doncaster Rovers, Oxford United and Plymouth Argyle were shortlisted for the award with Cardiff City being announced as eventual overall winners. AFC Bournemouth picked up the League 1 award with Plymouth Argyle were crowned League 2 winners. The Football League Awards were held on 24th March 2013 at The Brewery in Central London. For more information, visit www.FLAwards.com.