Colchester United have once again achieved the Family Excellence Award for their efforts on matchdays at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
A total of 56 EFL Clubs have achieved Family Excellence status, 10 of which have been crowned as ‘Gold Award’ winners for their exemplary work in engaging families on match days.
The record breaking number, up from 53 Clubs in 2016/17, recognises continuous improvement and best practice in family engagement across the leagues and supports Clubs’ efforts to attract and retain young fans of the future.
Amongst the 56 Clubs, three have achieved the Family Excellence accolade for the first time – Forest Green Rovers, Grimsby Town and Sunderland – whilst the ‘Gold Award’ given to 10 Clubs highlights an elite number of Clubs that offer an exceptional family match day experience.
EFL Clubs received two ‘mystery family’ visits throughout the season, with their feedback and reports determining whether each respective Club would achieve ‘Family Excellence’ status. Seven Clubs have achieved the honour every year they have been eligible, three of them in every year of the Family Excellence process.
The year-on-year progress of EFL Clubs was highlighted at the EFL Awards earlier this month, as Blackburn Rovers was named the EFL Family Club of the Year for their innovative approach to attracting and retaining family attendance on a match day.
The Club have increased investment by 68% this season to fund their much-loved Strikers’ Lounge, with an emphasis on access and inclusion, to their Sensory Room where children on the autistic spectrum can enjoy the game in a reassuring, safe and protected environment.
Sky Bet Championship and League Two Family Clubs of the Year, Reading and Luton Town, also introduced exciting concepts, with the #Madejski500 campaign aiming to increase attendance and reward loyal supporters, to the Hatters’ personal commitment of every member of their senior team taking personal responsibility for difference aspects of family experience.
EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said: "It is hugely encouraging to see the continuous development and improvement made by EFL Clubs in offering engaging match day experiences for families.
"For over a decade the EFL’s Family Excellence Scheme has helped to produce positive and impactful change across the leagues, helping to drive a real focus on match day entertainment, facilities and the overall experience on offer for families, and ultimately to assist in growing attendances.
"Its impact continues to be notable with several Clubs gaining strong industry-wide reputations for offering true family value and a consistently high level of service and innovation.
"The EFL will continue to work with Clubs to help drive change and support the continued effort to attract and retain future generations of supporters. Congratulations to the Clubs that have achieved Family Excellence status and to those that have been awarded Gold status in its inaugural year."