Making the goal in Bulgaria
Chelsea Football Club Foundation and Cargill promote healthy lifestyles for employees, community members
By Isabel Dimitrov December 15, 2016
Football. (Or “soccer,” depending on which country you’re in!) No matter what you call it, it’s more than just a game. It brings people together. It educates, motivates and inspires you to develop your potential, not just as a player, but also as a person.
In that spirit, come along with us virtually to Sofia, Bulgaria, where Cargill recently kicked off a week of football coaching sessions for employees and local school children.
Our first stop: a movie theater right next door to the offices of Cargill Business Services in Sofia, where employees spilled in with anticipation, eager to learn more about what was transpiring.
After all, these weren’t just any football coaching sessions. They were delivered by trainers from the Chelsea Football Club Foundation (yes, that Chelsea – the English premier football club!) In fact, Cargill has been working with Chelsea Football Club Foundation since 2009 on community projects close to Cargill’s offices. Together with the Foundation, Cargill has previously run similar football initiatives in Russia, South Africa, Ghana and Romania. That’s hundreds of employees engaged and thousands of children impacted in our local operating communities over the years.
And there in that movie theater in Sofia, the Chelsea Foundation, together with Cargill, kicked off an exciting week in Bulgaria, with activities to support local employee engagement, coaching sessions at local schools, and a master class at Bulgaria’s National Sports Academy.
Imagine walking onto a school’s football field. It isn’t perfectly manicured, or particularly glamorous. It might not be like the vast expanse that is Chelsea’s training grounds in Cobham, UK, but there is just as much passion on that field. And there’s little that can prepare you for the unbridled enthusiasm of the onrush of a group of Bulgarian youngsters as they started chanting: “Chelsea! Chelsea! Chelsea!”
“We were so excited to bring this event to Bulgaria and to our employees,” said Metodi Georgiev of Cargill Bulgaria. “It has boosted employee engagement and helped us feel part of one Cargill team. It has also helped us demonstrate our commitment to supporting and enriching the communities around where we operate. With one of our focus areas being around nutrition, promoting healthy, active lifestyles through this event has been a win-win as this also encourages positive nutritional outcomes for both our employees and communities.”
Over at Bulgaria’s National Sports Academy, players from the women’s football team (who are national champions, by the way!) were met with new perspectives on their game through a hands-on session with the Chelsea trainers. These inspiring young women expressed their gratitude at the unique partnership between Cargill and the Chelsea Foundation that enabled this event to come to Bulgaria, a country where a love of football runs deep but resources are often limited for young people to play professionally.
Away from the football field, the coaches applied the Chelsea philosophy to a leadership coaching session for Cargill managers in Sofia. The coaches also visited various community sites where Cargill is working. One of these was “Colourful House,” a homeless refuge for 18 to 22 year olds in the hills above Sofia, where conversations were held and friendships formed, based around helping young people transition into gainful employment. This was followed by an impromptu kickabout in the grounds of the home.
So there we have it. Football: it’s definitely more than just a game. It brings people together, including for Cargill in Bulgaria, where it has helped engage our employees and enrich our communities.