The future of Bealonians FC, a cherished grassroots football club with deep roots in the London Borough of Redbridge, hangs in the balance as the council announces its plans to lease Oakfield Playing Fields, where 600 members have been since 2004 alongside five cricket clubs, to West Ham United.
In need of an urgent, quick turnaround PR campaign, Bealonians FC contacted BIG little LDN after being recommended to them following the successful PR of the Jumpers for Goalposts Festival in 2018.
Leasing the ground to West Ham United would leave Bealonians FC and its 29 youth teams (including two girls teams) and ten adult men’s teams, without a place big enough in the borough to relocate to.
The playing fields are also home to Aztecs, Bardoli, Spartans, Scintilla and Essex Panthers cricket clubs as well as being a well-maintained, safe and convenient location for the Hainault & Chigwell Muslim Association, London Seaward FC and the number of locals who hire the pavilion for private functions.
The aim of the campaign, put pressure on the council to reconsider their decision which was due to be discussed at committee on 12th October 2023.
With less than 2-weeks from our initial conversation to the committee meeting, the team at BIG little LDN had to work around the clock – starting with a complete immersion in all the facts and background to the story before writing copy for the Change.org petition, drafting the press release and planning its distribution across the media and influencers in the sports industry.
A detailed day-by-day timing schedule was set, ensuring both the BIG little LDN team and key stakeholders at Bealonians FC knew what the key dates and times were needed for copy deadlines, reviews and sign-offs. The looming committee meeting meant there was no room for delays.
Following the brand immersion, BIG little LDN drafted a copy for the Change.org petition, quickly followed by a draft of the press release. Turning both around in less than 48 hours.
The Change.org petition went live on Friday 6th October and by Monday 9th, had received over 4,500 signatures. As of mid-November, it has over 10,000 signatures.
The BBC visited Oakfield Playing Fields after learning of the club’s uncertain future. BIG little LDN secured a rare three-minute broadcast slot on the evening BBC London News.
Coverage secured in, The BBC, BBC London News, The Evening Standard, Ilford Recorder, The West Ham Way, Yahoo, The Athletic, Romford Recorder, CPRE London, West Ham Til I Die, Team Grassroots, This is Local London, Daily Motion, Claret & Hugh, Six Foot Two, West Ham Football Club and KUMB.