Polish Link as Eagles Community Programme Returns

Eastbourne Speedway’s highly successful Community Programme returns in 2020 –  bigger, better and with links to Poles living in the area.

The Community Programme was one of the great successes at Eastbourne Speedway in 2019 and attracted more 3,500 new spectators to Arlington, either for the first time, or returning after many years. 

The vast majority were under 16.

Now the club has announced how it intends to build on that success in the new year and how it will seek to tap into the Polish community in East Sussex and beyond.

Club director, Ian Jordan revealed the Community Programme had been set an ambitious target of 10,000 new spectators in 2020.

A brochure will be available to support the Community Team, along with an advertising campaign in the New Year.

Ian said: “Firstly, I must again thank George and Michael Gray at HG Aerospace.

“The Community Programme was wonderfully supported by George and Michael at HG Aerospace and we can’t thank them enough for their encouragement and support, both financially and through their friendship and assistance.

“We are keen to develop and expand the community proposition in 2020.

“The new idea regarding Polish communities comes from something that Mark Phillips (Promoter) and myself are trying at Plymouth Speedway, where I am Business and Commercial Director.”

Ian said Plymouth resident Gregorsz Starzec, who is heavily involved in a major Polish speedway news website, which also covers Europe and the UK, approached the Gladiators.

“He suggested we look at ways to build links with the Polish community which numbers around 7,000 people in the city alone. 

“That collaboration will involve us supporting a major Polish charity that the local community supports,” Ian said.

Kyle with an Eaglet Meeting Mascot

Gladiators riders with bikes will visit the major Polish Community Centre and Church in January to support them and build links with a Community Programme at Plymouth Speedway, which is being developed along the lines of the one created at Eastbourne at the end of 2018. 

“In discussing further opportunities with Gregorsz, I was very keen to involve Eastbourne Speedway in the equation, if at all possible,” Ian said.

“As a result, Gregorsz and his contacts will help us set up a Polish Community Programme at Eastbourne; specifically by helping us to expertly translate promotional and advertising material into Polish (click to view) and also to help us build bridges with the Polish communities in Sussex, so that we can invite them for a free visit, engage and make friends with them, and hopefully convert them in to Eagles fans. 

Free Polish Community Tickets

“I have a dream that this may also involve us building more formal links with a few Polish clubs and companies in the longer term future.

“That can only be positive for us and Plymouth Speedway. 

“The big advantage with us trying to convert Polish people in to Eagles/Gladiators or indeed speedway fans is that the majority will be far more aware about what the sport is, what it involves and how exciting the product is, as it is pretty much ‘the national sport’ in Poland and hugely popular and it attracts the kind of crowds associated with soccer in the UK.

“The ability to market and advertise in Polish and to welcome a potentially rich new seam of Eagles fans, in addition to the ongoing evolution and improvement of the Community Programme is very exciting for us, both at Plymouth and Eastbourne and also with a few other tracks like Birmingham; that we are happy to be working with and sharing our community concept and ideas with in 2020 under the SP2A Speedway banner.

How does the Eastbourne Speedway Community Programme Work?

The initial visit is FREE (by prior booking) and includes a stadium tour, a visit to the centregreen after the meeting and interaction with riders, plus the chance to enrol on to the Eagles’ Club Scheme (for free) and receipt of an Eaglets Welcome Pack.

The Community Team headed by David Rollison and including Kate Patterson, Joshua Langley-Fineing and Paul; Nikki and Max Garnell did a fantastic job in 2019, taking a concept that was trialled in the final weeks of the 2018 season and turning it in to reality.

David Rollison explains the Community Programme guided tour at Arlington

Ian said: “We learned a lot in 2019 and made some mistakes that we can learn from.

“We were always playing “catch up” and at times the number of people wanting to come exceeded the capacity of the number the team could sensibly handle and I can’t thank David and the team he built for all the wonderful work they did. 

“We will support the Community Programme with a better administrative base in 2020; as we now have a full winter to plan and prepare and also enhance and improve the Eaglet and free Mascot Programme in 2020 and will be producing a full brochure to be sent to any clubs and organisations we think may enjoy a visit and the Arlington experience.”

The feedback form the recent Supporters Survey (a major report back to fans will come in the period between Christmas and the New Year) and our own data, indicates that around 30% of those who came on an initial FREE visit came back and a very healthy number appear to have become serious Eagles fans, which is great news. 

“It is proof that if you have a concept of speculate to accumulate, it can deliver tangible results,” Ian commented.

We will have a lot more information about The Eagles Community Programme in early January 2020 and in the meantime once again a massive thank you to George and Michael Gray at HG Aerospace; David, Kate, Joshua, Paul, Nikki and Max, and to Ian Smalley and Andy Hague plus Mike Hinves and Tiffani Gravelling who helped us with some fantastic images, to Peter Oakes who gave us an excellent two-page centre spread in the Speedway Star and to all of the Eagles riders who were wonderful ambassadors for the Club both before, during and after Meetings, with our new young and some older supporters. 

Lewi with an Eaglet Meeting Mascot

Want to get involved?

We are always seeking new  volunteers to help and assist with the Community Programme and if you would like to apply to join the team, please contact us at community@eastbourne-speedway.com To visit the Community Page, please click here

To learn more about HG Aerospace, please click here.

Image Credits: Mike Hinves