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Glenn Bate: Just What is This Thing Called CSR?

Firstly, let me introduce myself for those of you who may not know me. My name is Glenn Bate and I am the CSR Delivery Group Lead at the Canaries Trust: CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. We cover the following topics:

  • Health and Safety

  • Inclusion and Diversity

  • Visible and Invisible Disabilities

  • Sustainability Initiative

Our focus is to maintain a close, objective and independent relationship regarding CSR related topics with relevant colleagues within Norwich City and other key stakeholders. To maintain an expert, professional lead in all matters across the corporate social responsibility spectrum.

I have spent a considerable part of my life working in Health & Safety, I am both IoSH & Nebosh qualified and now day’s work part time as a Safety Consultant for a number of local companies.

I suffered a stroke four years ago and was diagnosed with an incurable brain condition, I’ve very lucky that I’m able to live a life with few restrictions, so I have something which is often referred to as an invisible disability.

Post stroke I suffered discrimination because of my disability as I was trying to rebuild my life which was very upsetting but it has made me very vocal on Inclusion and Diversity. This prompted me to qualify as a Mental Health First Aider and I have given some public talks on Mental Health to spread awareness.

In terms of sustainability I’m Environmentally qualified at AIEMA & Nebosh level, safety work these days often includes Sustainability and we want to play an engaging role in this area at the club.

I have been a Board Member of the Trust for just over a year now and have been fortunate to build some close working relationships with several members of the senior team at Norwich City, it must be mentioned how fortunate we are for the access and the time given by the club, I truly believe very few clubs allow this type of access.

For instance every game I have attended this season at Carrow Road (I’ve missed one) I have been busy collecting data through observations and conducting surveys with fans including away supporters on match day experiences. This information has been fed back to the club in an open and honest format, meaningful discussions have taken place and improvements if required have been made.

The Safety Team at Norwich are totally committed to ensuring Carrow Rd not only meets all safety requirements but look to exceed that requirement wherever possible, the Trust supports that aim and will assist in any way possible.

It must be mentioned that two lives have been saved this season when people have suffered heart attacks, and it only right that we extend our thanks to all the people who assisted with this, this includes members of the Safety team, Stewards, Medical staff, St Johns Ambulance and not forgetting Fellow Supporters who came to the peoples aid. It was good to hear that the Norwich Hospital said “if you are going to have a heart attack, Norwich City is most probably the best place to have it”.

I mentioned surveys earlier and we have been conducting these on Match Day Experiences for disabled people, the intention was to graph the results from the information we have received at the end of the season to present to the club, whilst we are unsure at the moment whether the season will be completed we will present the figures either what we have or hopefully in full if the season resumes.

This leads us inevitability to the question what is happening with COVID-19. Will the season resume, will a line be drawn through it? The simple answer is we don’t know. The main thing for me is everyone’s safety and how we best protect ourselves at the moment, currently every walk of life is affected and we must be thankful for all the front line workers who are working so tirelessly often at personal risk to themselves. In particular to the NHS and Care workers who are looking after the sick, providing comfort in the most tragic of circumstances often at great personal sacrifice to themselves.

We would ask that everyone follows the government guidelines of social distancing, hand washing and staying indoors if you’re not a front line worker or exercising. Exercising is important especially for mental health and this is something that I find quite upsetting at the moment, especially for people living alone with no support.

As we come out of this football will return but in what format, we know that a lot of the clubs are going to struggle to survive financially, Norwich as a self-funding club will be affected quite drastically but will be better placed than most I suspect due to astute planning.

But for me how is this going to affect match day, people have been used to social distancing, how will they feel sitting close to people, especially people who are classed in vulnerable groups, how do they feel if the person sitting next to them starts coughing or sneezing. The crowded train journey home, individual financial worries for people who have lost their employment for instant and simply can’t afford to come. I suspect football will change quite dramatically.

I do know that the Trust will be here to help and assist where we can, we will continue to work with the club in any capacity we can in this most testing of times.


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