Two of Bournemouth’s largest organisations have renewed their partnership into its 11th year.
Bournemouth University (BU) and AFC Bournemouth have been working together since the 2013-14 season, when AFC Bournemouth were competing in their first season back in the Championship, following promotion from League One.
The partnership between the university and the Cherries works for the benefit of staff, students, supporters and the local community. Both organisations have grown in stature since the partnership was first signed, with AFC Bournemouth now competing in the Premier League and BU ranked 41st in the world in the Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings 2023.
BU’s partnership with the football club includes support of the women’s and girls’ programmes, with BU the principal partner of the teams, appearing on the front of the women’s and girls’ shirts. The university works to support the women’s and girls’ programmes through fitness testing, student involvement off the pitch and promotion of joint activities.
AFC Bournemouth women’s team manager Steve Cuss said, “We've got a really strong partnership with BU that we're really proud of and, through our partnership we're able to offer recreational sessions for girls, that leads through into our pathway of development where, if they show a little bit of desire and that little bit of talent, they get selected to go through to the next stage of our development pathway.
“The pathway has provided a number of players that have go on to play for the women's first team, so we're exceptionally proud of the pathway and the partnership.”
Each year one women’s game and one men’s game is designated a ‘BU Big Match’ a chance to celebrate the partnership between BU and AFC Bournemouth. AFC Bournemouth provide coaching for BU’s men’s and women’s football teams and the partnership also offers the opportunity for staff and students to engage with first team players. Through the 11 years of partnership, players and managers like Eddie Howe, Nathan Ake, Lewis Cook and Tyrone Mings have spoken to staff and students.
BU students work in key roles at the Club, such as working on matchday entertainment, in the ticketing office, and supporting the matchday experience for supporters. BU’s journalism students can report on games for student media channels.
Jim Andrews, Chief Operating Officer at Bournemouth University, said, “The longevity of this partnership has allowed us to work together to provide real impact for our staff and students, and the local community, over time. The partnership working has created opportunities for students to develop their skills and support their future careers, and I’m proud of the way we have been able to support the women’s and girls’ teams as the women’s game has grown and developed over the life of the partnership. I am looking forward to cheering the AFC Bournemouth teams on again this season.”
For more information about the partnership between BU and AFC Bournemouth, visit the partnership pages.