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Iceni Magazine | August 9, 2020

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Iceni Interviews… David McNally

David McNally

Chief Executive of Norwich City Football Club, on his trustee role at The base.

Interview by Jessie Quick.

This month (September) Iceni interviewed Chief Executive of Norwich City Football Club, David McNally on his work with The base. The charity empowers all young people to achieve to their full potential, with a mission to support and have a positive impact on their lives. David expresses his appreciation for the charity and the importance of raising awareness for the organisation.

The base charity does an incredible job, providing much-needed youth services in the Norwich area, please can you explain to our readers the main principle of the charity?

It is to help as many young people as we can in Norwich, particularly in the NR1 area, but also the rest of the city too. The charity was formed a few years ago with the original trustees, to help vulnerable young people and their families. I decided to get involved because it’s the closest local charity to us.

Despite the fact we were playing Premier League football at the time, and on the International stage, we felt it important for the football club to ensure we were maintaining our roots at home and helping the most local of charities.

The key thing is, we want to help young people in Norfolk. An added bonus was to think if we were helping young people, we would also be helping their families.

There are many charities in the Norfolk area, why did you decide to join The base?

During our financial crisis, I wasn’t able to devote time to community activities. For the first couple of years whilst I was here, we were trying to stay alive; we were heavily in debt and battling to keep the
club going.

Once our financial future was secured, I was invited to join the Board of Trustees at The base. What we liked about the charity was that it was local, with the Hewett School so near by, it fits with our close to home community.

At the time we were and indeed still are in the Premier League, our games are broadcast in 850 million homes around the world in 200 countries. However, we can’t forget that there are people close to home, who need a hand.

What is it about that charity that interests you?

The fact that it’s focused on young people. We are very lucky and privileged to be working in the world of football. We understand that not everyone is as lucky as we are, and probably don’t have the same hand of cards that we have been given. 

So if there is something we can do to help kids who need some support then we will do all we can to help.

Not every kid has somewhere to do homework. It might be someone to share a problem with, it might be helping with careers advice. What is also important is that every penny we raise, goes to helping the young people, our costs are kept to a minimum, but we really want to help boys and girls to get the most out of their lives.

What is your role with The base?

I am a trustee, so it is our job to ensure The base is managed effectively. We set challenges for the management team and develop strategies for the charity.

How can people get involved with the charity?

We are looking for volunteers all the time. Our website, Facebook page and Twitter allow the public to get involved and we really can’t have enough help. Our goal would be to help all of the young people in Norwich, but we just don’t have the resources we need right now.

As well as being Chief Executive of Norwich City Football Club, how do you find time to be a trustee?

It’s about managing time.  I am also a trustee here at the Community Sports Foundation as well. It really is about making time for The base as much as I can. Clearly, 99% of my time is focused on the football club and always will be. However if we can assist them in any way, with advice and support than we will do whatever we can.

The base aims to ensure that the needs of every vulnerable young person are identified and that young people are supported in ways that help them reach their full potential. Is it important for you to be a part of change?

Things are constantly changing, nothing stays the same and it’s almost a motto for most of us. We need to be aware in this day and age with technology that vulnerable young people need some support. 

New technologies are absolutely brilliant for modern life, but with every great thing with technology, there are issues, for instance, online bullying. Young people are now not even safe at home. Just by talking about these things may help solve the problem. We are trying to find at least the start to a solution.

What can we expect from your work with The base in the future?

We would like to expand as much as we can. We won’t let anything stand in the way of the charity and we will continue to strive to help young people in our city.

To Find Out More Information About The base

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