Luton Town Football Club

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Luton Town Football Club's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Luton Town Football Club is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Gary Sweet, CEO of Luton Town
Football Club 2020 Ltd
We are a football club at the heart of our
community, with the community at our heart
After a period of turmoil, Luton Town Football Club had
fallen on bad times. In July 2008, the club was bought
out of administration by a consortium of supporters
known as Luton Town FC 2020 Ltd (LTFC 2020) – named after
the predicted year of its rebirth, providing 12 years for reform.
This was, however, too late to save the club from dropping
out of the Football League for five seasons, and a complete
financial, administrative and cultural transformation was
required. LTFC 2020 saw this as not just a challenge but an
opportunity to reinvent the way a football club interacts with
and benefits the communities it represents. Gary Sweet, CEO
of LTFC 2020, explains how they took this opportunity.
Like its football club, the town of Luton had, in many ways, fallen on tough times.
Now, we are reclaiming our place not just as a leading club on the field of play, but
as leaders with regards to the way football engages with society. We have primarily
been doing so through the establishment of a positive culture and by promoting
shared interests alongside a sense of civic pride.
Harnessing the potential of sport for social good, we are making sure that sport
can have a meaningful and measurable impact on improving people’s lives, be they
participants, spectators or connected communities.
Changing the way football serves the community
At 2020, we describe ourselves as custodians of the club. We have been encouraging
people from every background to meaningfully take part in sport and physical
»CEO of Luton Town Football
Club 2020 Ltd: Gary Sweet
»Established in 1885
»Based in Luton, Bedfordshire
»Services: Sports participation
»No. of employees: 400
»Record attendance: 30,069 in
1959 and last season, 10,029
on April 28, 2018
»Secured promotion to League
One at Carlisle United after a
1-1 draw on April 21, 2018
»Played Newcastle in the
third round of the FA Cup in
January 2018, and took 7,500
away supporters travelling a
total of 3.75 million miles
»Won the Football League Cup
in 1988 beating Arsenal 3-2 at
Wembley Stadium
» and
Luton Town
Football Club
activity, and to experience live sport in
a powerful and positive way.
In putting sport at the forefront of
equality, we have actively taken steps
to tackle discrimination and promote
»Our Community Trust was relaunched
in 2010 and it delivers over 3,500
individual engagements each week.
»Our adult mental health programmes
have been running since 2012, as
has our disability football team.
»In 2014, we began our “Headscarves
to Football Scarves” initiative
to support Muslim women and
encourage access to the sport for all.
»In 2016, we established the
Luton Town Disabled Supporters
»Our after-school Sports Cohesion
Programme also began in 2016 and
reaches over 400 children each week
in Bedfordshire.
»We now provide over 70 free
hours a week of curriculum PE
and, in 2017, we were heralded as
Bedfordshire Police Cohesion Sports
»Last year, we launched our Luton
Street League sports skills and
employment programme, which
seeks to engage with 16–25-year-
olds who are unemployed and not in
training or education.
In 2015, we also became the first English
football club to become a fully accredited
real living wage employer as supported
by the Living Wage Foundation, ahead
of even all Premier League clubs.
We were recognised in 2016 by
the Football League for our efforts
to engage positively with young
supporters and families; it was for this
that we received the Family Excellence
Award. Additionally, over the course
of last season, we were named the
League Two Family Club of the Year
before becoming one of just ten
EFLclubs to be recognised with the
Gold Award for Family Excellence.
We utilise our position in the
community to raise awareness for
important issues. We actively promote
the White Ribbon UK campaign against
domestic violence and Stonewall’s
Rainbow Laces initiative. For one
match in 2016/17, we also temporarily
rebranded our venue as the Prostate
Cancer UK Stadium to support the
Football League’s official charity.
Empowering supporters
In line with the government’s own
initiative, Sporting Future, we
recognise that where fans are given
the power to be involved in the
management of clubs they love, there
are even greater benefits derived from
their engagement with the sport. We
have awarded complimentary shares
to our supporters’ trust, structured
regular supporters’ board meetings
and, in 2015, became the first club
to legally gift protection rights to our
supporters’ trust on all our image
rights, including the club’s name,
nickname, colours, club crest and
mascot imagery. Last season, we
appointed our first junior supporter
liaison officer, aged 13, three seasons
after a senior supporter liaison officer
was appointed for the first time. Brimming with their
success, our winning
inspirational disability
football team
We use our
position in the
community to
raise awareness
for important
issues, tackling
poverty and
crime and
inclusivity and
Highlighting best practice
At the forefront of shaping
our town’s future
Our fans and their community are
engaged with us heavily in rebuilding
and shaping both the face and the
future of the town. This development
is driven primarily through the
promotion of our award-winning
designs and innovative plans to provide
a purpose-built first-class town centre
stadium and lifestyle hub with a mixed-
use office and retail scheme for the
people of Luton.
»The new stadium is to be developed
on the derelict site of a former
power station in the town centre,
between two nearby railway stations
and an adjacent bus terminus.
»It combines football activities with
community facilities including a
gym, healthcare, education, nursery,
crèche, soft-play, a hotel, a music
venue and destination dining, and
provides 600 much-needed new
»It will be financed by a facilitating
office, retail and leisure scheme,
which will provide a landmark
gateway into Luton at an
undeveloped site at Junction 10 of
the M1.
»These schemes won two awards at
the global architectural conference at
MIPIM 2017 in Cannes, in the Sports
and Stadium and Regeneration and
Master-Planning categories.
Overwhelmingly supported by more
than 11,000 letters and emails to
Luton borough council – a record-
breaking response to any UK planning
development – the two schemes have
the backing of not just the football
club’s supporters, but also the people
and communities of Luton and its
satellite towns and villages.
These two schemes together will create
10,000 new jobs in the area and inject
£250 million annually into the local
and regional economy. Furthermore,
we intend for the ownership of the
stadium to be detached from the
operation of the club itself and to be
entrusted to a select group, including
supporters’ organisations.
This sense of community is an all-
encompassing part of our club ethos,
and we empower supporters and locals
to have a major voice in the club, to
improve well-being and enjoy greater
social engagement, to have a say in the
development of their town, to restore
pride for all the people of Luton, to
promote harmony and, above all else,
create new prosperity. We intend to
continue to be a football club that is at
the beating heart of its community and
an inspiration for others.
harmony and
10,000 new
jobs and
injecting £250
annually into
the local and
Global award winner
for Sports and Stadium
Design: An illustration
of LTFC’s proposed new

This article was sponsored by Luton Town Football Club. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy