Willem II Betrokken looks back at 2021: ‘Nobody on the reserve bench’
Willem II Betrokken combines a passion for football with a heart for society. In 2021, the foundation’s many projects and activities once again gave substance to Willem II’s social role in the region. After an eventful year, coordinator Suzanne Albregts looks back and ahead.
“In 2020, we were overwhelmed by corona. We also suffered from it this year, but from spring onwards we were able to get through quite a lot. Fortunately, because it was a special year. Not only did Willem II celebrate its 125th anniversary, but we also celebrated the 10th anniversary of Playing for Success and the first lustrum of Willem II Betrokken.”Suzanne Albregts
For five years now, Willem II has been supporting and initiating social initiatives aimed at developing talent, promoting healthy living and ensuring that all people in the region count. Suzanne: “It’s not for nothing that our mission statement is: nobody on the bench. With the power of football we can and want to make a difference in society.” Increasing the reach and impact of Willem II Betrokken is an important spearhead for the club. Managing director Martin van Geel reinforced these words in early October during the Football Memories mini-symposium in the LocHal: “The social relevance of Willem II is perhaps just as great as its sporting relevance.”
Several new projects saw the light of day this year. In collaboration with Rabobank, the Rabo Willem II Foodtour was launched in February. Kingo travelled to Primary School De Bloemaert and Primary School ‘t Schrijverke to kick off the project. The Rabo Willem II Foodtour is an interactive journey of discovery into healthy food for primary school children and pupils in the first year of secondary school. The teaching package consists of nine lessons. Pupils immerse themselves in themes such as healthy eating, reading labels and sports nutrition. The Rabo Willem II Foodtour is made possible by 013Food and JOGG Tilburg.
Another new project is De Uitblinkers, a social initiative in which the club uses role models to coach a team of youngsters within the setting of the King Willem II stadium. In this way, Willem II is giving youngsters who are at risk of dropping out of secondary vocational education an extra helping hand. In the specially developed coaching programme, the club uses role models to coach a team of youngsters. De Uitblinkers was nominated for the Eredivisie Social Project.
In October, Willem II got its own spot in the Koning Willem II Stadium. On the initiative of Rabobank, Box 10 was renamed the Willem II Betrokken Box. Suzanne: “This way we can literally give substance to our connecting role in the stadium and connect parties to our themes.” In addition to Rabobank and Willem II Betrokken, Make it in Tilburg, MidPoint Brabant and DHL have also joined the initiative.
In the spring, Willem II Betrokken strengthened its ties with the municipality of Tilburg. Suzanne: “The cooperation already existed. Willem II Betrokken is ambassador of Jongeren op Gezond Gewicht (JOGG) and Positief Voetbalklimaat Tilburg (PVKT) and the municipality contributes to the Rabo Willem II Foodtour through JOGG. Together with the municipality, we want to strengthen the power of sports, exercise and Willem II in Tilburg. The collaboration is now official and a grant of 10,000 euros is attached to it”. Rolph Dols, alderman for Health, Sport, Care & Welfare, is enthusiastic about the cooperation: “The programmes of Willem II Betrokken contribute to the health, welfare and happiness of our residents. Like Football Memories, where the shared passion for football connects participants and volunteers. This fits in well with what we want to achieve with Tilburg’s local sports agreement: working together with others to use sport as a tool for health, but also for combating loneliness and strengthening social security.”
In September, Standby Thuiszorg linked up with Willem II Football Memories as a social project partner. Suzanne Albregts is happy with the new and intensified cooperation. At the same time, she is grateful for the social partners who have been supporting Willem II Betrokken for some time. Suzanne: “Making a social impact is a long-term process. Thanks to the long-term support of Albert Heijn, AVEC, DHL and Rabobank, we have been able to support a lot of people.”
Much has been achieved in five years. Nevertheless, there is still plenty to wish for. Suzanne: “First of all, we want to continue and expand the current programmes and projects. In addition, we want to increase our internal and external visibility and support, so that we can play an even more connecting role in society. To make a real impact, we need to continue to grow, both in projects and in manpower. Fortunately, more and more companies are putting their social hearts into it. We also want to further develop cooperation with the municipality. Elsewhere in the country, we see that the local government is more responsive. The results are there. Together, we can really make a difference for the residents of Tilburg.”