KAA Gent is more than a football club. KAA Gent is an organization with a social purpose with a distinct social commitment: the KAA GENT FOUNDATION. Bringing together ans strengthen the community of Gent is our most important mission. The KAA GENT FOUNDATION is the connecting force of KAA Gent and is member of the European Football for Development Network (EFDN).
It has been eight years since KAA Gent announced the establishment of its football in the community department with the publication of its social charter. KAA Gent, the supporters’ federation, the city of Gent and Gent’s OCMW (Public Centre for Social Welfare) decided to join forces to realize this. In 2009 the non-profitorganisation Voetbal in de Stad was founded as a unique public-private cooperation. Today the KAA GENT FOUNDATION is a well respected innovative force, both in Gent's sports environment and in the local community. It is with pride we present you the most lauded CSR department in Belgian professional football.
The basic mission of the KAA GENT FOUNDATION is supporting and organizing social and emancipatory projects for underpriviliged groups. With the recruiting power of football, KAA Gent and the Ghelamco Arena, the KAA GENT FOUNDATION brings people together. We strengthen all sorts of skills people need to improve to be able to function in society. A group of psychiatric patients of the psychiatric centre of Gent-Sleidinge are working in the social labour project Buffalo Bustels. After every game in the Ghelamco Arena they clean the stadium. The 'Bustels' learn to cooperate, plan, their capabilities are coached and their chances on the job market increase.
Wednesday afternoon children with learning difficulties go to class in the KAA Gent Learning Centre, with the help and guidance of students from the Artevelde Hogeschool in Gent. The football stadium is used as a powerful learning environment: during geometry classes they go on the pitch to calculate the dimensions of the surface of the center circle or the penalty box. While playing the children retrieve their enthusiasm for school and learning, they win back their confidence and they experience unique moments in the most beautiful and fun school in the country: the Ghelamco Arena. When the KAA GENT FOUNDATION organizes a project they are aided by youth looking for work through the OCMW project eXtraTime. Many hands make light work and at the same time their capabilities are improved.
Social Football Teams
Everyone knows KAA Gent, KAA Gent Youth and KAA Gent Ladies, but did you know that the KAA GENT FOUNDATION has no less than 3 social football teams? At the 'Beestige Buffalo's' we work with homeless people, people who are part of assisted living projects, refugees, people who are recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction and work with the football values of diversity, respect, friendship and fairplay. We create a safe environment where we help them find their way, in cooperation with the 'Straathoekwerk' Services (public service of social workers embedded in neighbourhoods) and the Emancipating Work Services. Both a women's and a men's team participate as KAA Gent in the Belgian Homeless Cup.
Meanwhile the 'Geestige Buffalo's' is a team for inhabitants of Ghent with psycho-social problems. In cooperation with the different services for mental health we lower the barrier for psychiatric patients to participate in sports. Lastly, there are the HT Gantoise Legends, the walking football team of dashy seniors that, since last summer, has been playing on the pitches of HT Zwijnaarde in Nieuw Gent-Steenakker, the neighbourhood next to the Ghelamco Arena. Walking football is a sport that brings seniors together and allows them to stay active at their tempo, as running is not permitted.
Each of these social KAA Gent football teams is organized following the 'more-than-football' approach: Voetbal in de Stad builds an association of committed players, who take on responsibilities in the project, such as managing the material or providing healthy catering options. With the players who make progress throughout the process, we build Team Buffalo. We offer this group of volunteers trainings and opportunities inside our community department, in order to become their neighbourhood's sports coach or youth coach.
KAA GENT NEIGHBOURHOOD PROGRAMME
When we moved to the Ghelamco Arena in 2013 we expressed the commitment to become a committed and correct neighbour to Nieuw Gent-Steenakker, the neighbourhood next to the stadium. KAA Gent wants to assist in building a beautiful future for Nieuw Gent-Steenakker through working with inhabitants and local organisations who are working to improve the neighbourhood. At the Rerum Novarumsquare we take care of the Bij Pino, an easily accessible community centre we manage in cooperation with local inhabitants and other organisations. At the same time socially innovative neighbourhood sports and school sports initiatives such as the Buffalo Cup and the Buffalo League are organized in and in cooperation with the neighbourhood. In January we start with a dance initiative for boys and girls, between the apartment buildings of Nieuw Gent: the Buffalo Dance Academy.
During weekly activities such as Buffalo Cup, Buffalo League and Buffalo Dance Academy we work towards a healthy life, the elaboration of creative ideas, social activities for the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, respect and fair play with the children. We use KAA Gent to strengthen and unite the neighbourhood. The inclusive character is key: we are one family, we are Buffalo!
Our main goal in these projects is to increase the amount of sustainable activities inhabitants of economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods such as Nieuw Gent can enjoy in their free time by allowing residents to take on responsibilities in the community working. Eventually we can see our projects evolving into associations of and by the neighbourhoods in which we are active. This way we contribute to a city of Gent that's more beautiful for all its inhabitants.
Elk Talent Telt (Every Talent Counts)
In 2014, the city of Ghent and KAA Gent awarded an important role to the KAA GENT FOUNDATION in the support of youth football in Gent. 15 football clubs in Gent accepted the invitation of the KAA GENT FOUNDATION. Together they have one goal: creating a pleasant football environment in Gent where the well-being of the children and youngsters is key and where every young player (male or female) gets the opportunity to develop both on a personal and on a sportive level, because Every Talent Counts.
By now, the project involves all Gent football clubs with a youth department, 200 youth coaches and over 3000 young players. Accessible training for youth trainers, youth coordinators and club directors strengthen the base of Gent's football clubs.
But there is more. Football clubs are the most easily accessible sports clubs in our city. A football club in the neigbourhouds of Dampoort, Brugse Poort or Nieuw Gent is a small version of society in Gent. Football clubs are organizations where all people from Ghent pass by, regardless of their ethnic-cultural background or social-economic situation. The social actions Voetbal in de Stad organizes at the city level can be organized by the local clubs at the neighbourhood leve
Together with the Every Talent Counts partners we develop the tools to evolve into open and accessible associations at the neighbourhood level who cooperate with the Buffalo League in their neighbourhood, offer walking football matches to grandparents and/or create opportunities for G-football (football for people with disabilities) or women's football
The KAA GENT FOUNDATION sees football as culture and just like sports, culture strengthens people and societies. Thus, cooperations with cultural initiatives are not unusual for the KAA GENT FOUNDATION. This way KAA Gent builds broad public working around KAA Gent. Focal point of this public working are the stadium guides: committed fans who voluntarily guide around 12.500 visitors in the Ghelamco Arena. They bring the story of KAA Gent and the Ghelamco Arena, offer a glimpse of life behind the scenes and allow both younger and older people to dream of past and future successes in our Ghelamco Arena. To support their work the community working is developing a Gantoise heritage collection, commissioned and aided by KAA Gent. Archives, shirts, banners, flags and photos are carefully conserved for future generations of Buffalos.
More than football initiatives
The guidance of fans with a disability at every game is another task that is assigned to the community working. Voetbal in de Stad cooperates with INTER VLAANDEREN for this task and actively works with initiatives working to make Belgian football stadiums more accessible for the disabled, in the Ghelamco Arena as well as in other stadiums.
Meanwhile, KAA Gent's catering supports the caps action of the Belgian Centre for Guide Dogs for the Blind: every season 150.000 caps of soda bottles are collected and delivered to a company which uses them to construct sustainable palettes. With the profits guide dogs for people with a visual impairment are trained.
Since November 2016 KAA Gent is officially an UiTPAS partner. Before every home game in the Jupiler Pro League and friendly games 150 tickets are available at a reduced tariff for the needy. This way, everyone gets the opportunity to go to a KAA Gent game.
Promoting biking as an alternative way of reaching the stadium with Velo Buffalo is undoubtedly a success: more than 2500 fans bike to the Ghelamco Arena every home game.
The Mia-moment is the 52nd minute of every home game (every home game, our fans sing Mia, a famous song by deceased singer and KAA Gent fan Luc De Vos) was created in cooperation with supporters organization Buffalo Indians, and the memorial wall for deceased fans on the supporters promenade in the main stand of the Ghelamco Arena was realized together with the commercial working of KAA Gent.
The KAA GENT FOUNDATION guarantees the use of the Ghelamco Arena for non-profit initiatives and social projects. The publicly accessible spaces in the football compartment of the stadium can be used for non-commerical activities by third parties for a total of 15 days every year. In order to be able to offer the necessary space to social projects they will only be awarded to projects that relate to the themes focused upon by the community working: social projects (sports, health & mobility, education, employment, diversity and equal opportunities), local initiatives or supporters initiatives
The KAA GENT FOUNDATION thanks all these organisations, services and companies for their support: