Cambridge United establish school mental health project ‘Mind Your Head’

Cambridge United Community Trust (CUCT) have established a new secondary school mental health project to improve well-being and help young people deal better with stress and anxiety.

The ‘Mind Your Head’ pilot has been running since January 2018 in five central Cambridge secondary schools and will have reached over 600 young people by the end of this summer term.

The project was announced to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week and is part of Cambridge United’s wider commitment to promoting positive mental health at the club and in the community.

‘Mind Your Head’ is delivered through CUCT in partnership with Cambridge youth mental health charity ‘Centre 33’. The programme provides lessons that destigmatize mental health, educate young people about how to deal with stress and also encourage young people to discuss how social media can both positively and negatively affect their well-being.

Josh Turner, one of the pupils taking part from Trumpington Community College said: “Footballers coming in to tell us about mental health is actually quite profound because they are people that young people look up to as their idols.

“The footballers telling us that they sometimes struggle with mental health is good to listen to and good for our own understanding.”

Sam Squire, a Cambridge United scholar who has been actively involved at schools said: “It’s important for Cambridge United to focus on mental health in schools as that’s when issues such as social media can challenge a young person’s confidence and resilience.

“As a football club we can hopefully use our respected position in society to help promote positive mental health.”

Graham Daniels, Director of Football at Cambridge United and Chair of Cambridge United Community Trust said: “We want Cambridge United to take a leadership position on mental health within the game and within our community.

“Everyone has mental health, we can have our ups and downs. We believe it’s particularly important to help equip young people with the skills to deal with the challenges they inevitably face as they grow up.

“It all forms a part of our wider effort as a club to show the positive power of football throughout our community.”


Deaf Awareness Week 2018 (14th-20th May)

Between the 14th-20th May, it is Deaf Awareness Week, a unique campaign in that so many different organisations participate, each able to promote their own work within the broad spectrum of deafness.

In the UK there are around 9 million people who are deaf and hard of hearing, yet each day we continually put one of our most important senses at risk. Loss of hearing can cause people to become isolated and lonely, having a tremendous affect on both their social and working life.

EFL Trust supports #DeafAwarenessWeek, as our clubs do fantastic work in this area using the power of football to break down barriers and increase sports participation for all.

Through Every Player Counts, our landmark project formed in September 2016 thanks to a 1.1M donation from Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST), a number of clubs offer individual programmes covering a wide range of disabilities including hearing and visual impairment, learning difficulties, amputees and autism, giving many disabled people access to football for the first time.

Reading FC are a prime example, after forming a Deaf Football team in 2013 with the help of Total Communication, one of the leading British Sign Language (BSL) agencies.

After an initial 10 weeks of taster sessions, Reading FC Deaf were integrated into local 7 aside football festivals and began competing in the BOBi League – a pan-disability league that operates across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Since then, the team has attracted more players and has developed into an 11 a-side squad, playing in competitions such as the South English Deaf League, The FA Disability Cup, and The FA County Cup.

After a few successful years on the pitch, Reading FC Deaf have won 7 trophies and finished runners-up after making their debut in the FA People’s Cup finals this this year at St George’s Park.

Due to the success, the team have been able to develop a number of talented players who have gone on to represent England and Great Britain Deaf Football teams.

Daniel Rook, Reading FC Community Trust’s My Ability Programme Manager said: “It’s fantastic that we have had so much success in attracting the deaf community in Berkshire to be a part of the Reading FC Deaf team.

“The strength of this provision shows that disability football is a growing sport not only in Berkshire but across the whole country.”

JOB VACANCY: NCS Programme Manager (National Pilot Programme)

Post Title: NCS Programme Manager (National Pilot Programme)

Role Status: Full time (35 hours), Monday to Friday. Fixed term 6 month contract with potential to extend.                                                                                

Organisational Base: Home Based – regular national travel is a feature of this role and will involve occasional evening and weekend working, including some overnight stays.

Due to the nature of the role, the successful candidate must have the following:

  • a full UK driving license and access to a vehicle.
  • a suitable home office with broadband access


Reporting To: Operations Manager (Community Engagement)

Salary:  £30,000 to £37,000

Formed in 1888 by its twelve founder members, the English Football League is the world’s original league football competition and is the template for leagues the world over. With 72 member clubs, it is also the largest single body of professional clubs in European football and is responsible for administering and regulating the Sky Bet EFL, Carabao Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, as well as reserve and youth football.

EFL Trust oversees the inspiring work of the 72 EFL clubs’ community organisations, which engages with more than 1.5million people every season. The key themes of the EFL Trust are Sport, Education, Health and Community Engagement.

The EFL Trust is the charitable arm of The EFL, and is responsible for the contract delivery of the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme managed by The NCS Trust. The NCS is a government funded national programme for 16 and 17 year olds designed to help young people on their transition to adulthood and the roles they can play in their community.

In addition to having a prime contract for delivery of the NCS Programme in Yorkshire and Humber, EFL Trust hold 7 regional sub-contracts with 6 prime contractors across England and a Pilot Project with the NCS Trust managing delivery providers across various regions in England.

This is an opportunity for a project manager with NCS experience to steer and influence the success of the NCS National Pilot Programme. The successful candidate will be a member of an effective and supportive team in an organisation which is ambitious for growth and development.

Immediate start available. Further opportunities are likely if the pilot programme is successful.

Benefits Package:

  • Generous Company Pension Scheme, with an EFL Trust contribution of 10% of basic salary.
  • Opt-in private healthcare.
  • 23 days holiday (plus 8 bank holidays), rising to 25 days after 5 years. Holiday year commences 1st January. (Holiday purchase scheme in operation).

To apply please request an Application Form and Information Pack from Jessica Dexter, HR & Payroll Officer at

Closing Date:                                    10am on 11th June 2018

Interview Date(s):                    20th June 2018 – (EFL House, 10 – 12 West Cliff, Preston, PR1 8HU)

Preston North End students take in the Portugal experience

Students of Preston North End headed overseas for an educational sports visit to Lisbon, taking on foreign opposition whilst enjoying the Portugal culture.

Playing in different stadiums and training in first class facilities, it gave students on the education programme a unique experience as representatives of Preston North End in foreign territory as Education Tutor and coach Zach Clarke explained.

“The team spent five days in Portugal taking part in various activities,” said Zach.

“They were able to enjoy the opportunity of taking on two local Portuguese sides in recognised stadiums venues, whilst taking part in adaptable training sessions, as well as sampling the culture and bonding as a team.

“A huge thanks to Easy Sports Solutions for looking after us whilst we were there and providing students the experience of a lifetime.”

The team stayed at Rio Maior Training Centre, a National Olympic Centre; here facilities were varied and of a highly professional standard. The team were allowed use of all facilities such as the gym and the ice baths for recovery – and were as impressive as you’d expect as Brendan Burke and Luke Harrison, students from PNE testified.

“It was all very professional” said Brendan. “From the facilities, right the way through to the coaches. On the pitch, we learned more about formations and tactics which was adapted to our training. It wasn’t just playing football however, we got to sample the culture whilst we were there and enjoyed visits to the Stadium of Light, home of FC Benfica, played beach football and enjoyed the local lagoon.

Luke added: “Even now, we keep discussing the great memories we had and it’s 100 percent made us more of a team. A massive way of developing as a footballer is by taking on different styles of football, and playing against a completely different kind of opposition, it was a huge learning curve for us all and such a unique experience.”

Meanwhile, other members of the education programme enjoyed a trip to Kepplewray Residential Park in Cumbria where they took part in a number of team bonding exercise with both trips looking at heightening the experience of the course whilst building on team spirit amongst the camp.

Both trips proved hugely successful with students finding both trips educational and fun.

Find out more about the Preston North End’s education provision to post 16-year-olds; call 01772 693309 or email The course hosts a level two and three diploma in sport and exercise and are actively recruiting for this September’s intake.

Register your interest now and you could be donning the PNE colours abroad next season!

Photography by student, Jack Carysforth.

Studying at Cardiff FC Foundation turns Cheyenne’s life around after dropping school aged 12

Cheyenne Flowers, aged 20, struggled to settle in to mainstream education and suffered with social anxiety. After attending three different high schools and being home schooled for a period, her Mum decided maybe school wasn’t the path for her.

After speaking to Careers Wales, Cheyenne enrolled onto Cardiff FC Foundation’s Strikers Traineeship Programme – a 24-week course designed to engage with disadvantaged young people, gain vocational experiences and relevant qualifications – during this time Chey learnt about the range of educational courses on offer with the Bluebirds.

She said: “I didn’t want to go on the course initially as I was four stone heavier at the time and not particularly into sport.

“The Foundation staff convinced me that the course offered lots of opportunities and that they would support me to achieve what I wanted academically.”

Cheyenne has been studying with the Foundation ever since. She is currently in her second and final year of the BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport and was named Head Girl in 2017.

As part of her development, Chey represented the Foundation at a number of events.

“Speaking in front of people used to be really hard for me, but I’ve been to Foundation Days, the Cardiff Lifestyle Awards and a charity ball in aid of the Foundation.

“I’ve spoken at all of these events so that’s helped me with my anxiety, I feel more confident.”

Cheyenne has now been with the foundation for three years, has a BTEC level 1 and 2 and is just finishing BTEC Level 3 sport, which is equivalent to three A levels.

The qualification includes sports psychology, event management, physiology, current issues and fitness.

With that, Cheyenne has a place to read criminology at Swansea University this September and hopes to work with young people when she graduates.

Following her experiences studying with the Foundation and the influence of the Foundation tutors, Chey would like to one day guide other young people through the Strikers Traineeship.

“When I finish my studies, I’d enjoy teaching the traineeship side of things because I was on the engagement course, so I’ve come all the way since then. I’d use my experiences help people who are in the same situation.”

To find out more about Cardiff City FC Foundation visit:

Simon Carnall Wins Derby County’s Brian Clough Award

Simon Carnall, Head of Community at Derby County Community Trust, claimed the Brian Clough award at Derby County’s End of Season Awards Dinner, sponsored by McAndrew Utilities, on Tuesday evening.

The award, sponsored by EXEVE, marks the club’s employee of the year and comes just weeks after the Derby County Community Trust were named Checkatrade ‘Community Club of the Year’ at the EFL Awards.

With 24 years of experience under his belt, Simon Carnall claimed the prize following the incredible work he has completed as Head of Community at the Derby County Community Trust.

Having started working in 1994 with “three members of staff, three bags of balls and three stacks of cones” as he puts it himself. Simon has overseen the growth of Derby County’s work in the community to now having 59 staff members, running 35 different programme and turning over £2.5million as one of the region’s biggest and most influential charities.

2017 alone saw the Derby County Community Trust work with over 17000 people on a regular basis and 2018 sees the Trust celebrate ten years as a charity using the power of Derby County Football Club to improve lives through sport, physical activity and education.

Following the announcement, and in his typical style, Simon was quick to credit everyone at the Derby County Community Trust for their involvement. He wrote:

“You can’t win an award like this without the most stunning set of staff. This is a great achievement for everyone at the Derby County Community Trust and I’m proud of you all.”


Community Manager Paul Newman was full of praise for Simon:

“Tonight, I had the pleasure of attending the DCFC end of season awards and seeing our Head of Community, and my friend, Simon Carnall, named The Brian Clough Employee of the Year. Whilst unashamedly biased, I firmly believe that no one deserves it more than Si. He’s built the Community Trust up from 3 staff to 59, from a £75k turnover to a £2.5 million turnover but far, far more important has led the Trust with dignity, expertise and drive and has had a positive effective on literally thousands of local people.”

CHASING DREAMS: Former EFL Trust Futsal student signs professional contract with Newport County AFC

Momodou Touray, an 18-year-old striker who took part in the EFL Trust Futsal programme, has signed a professional football contract at Newport County AFC.

Ask anyone close to Momodou to describe what makes him stand out from the rest, they would reply ‘it’s his ambitious and never say die attitude.’

Born in Gambia and raised in Wales, Momodou was attracted to football through the influence of his Father who played at a good standard.

He said: “I used to watch my Dad play at a decent level and I wanted to get into football because I thought if I followed in his footsteps hopefully I’d have a chance to go further than he did.”

At the age of 16, he joined the EFL Trust Futsal programme after being recommended by a friend and watching videos of Rico Zulkarnain, the first Welsh professional futsal player.

“I looked it [futsal] up online and started to follow a player called Rico Zulkarnain on Youtube and Instagram.

“I found him really inspiring so decided to sign up to the County in the Community Futsal and Education programme.”

The youngster believes his time on the Futsal programme was invaluable on his way to signing a professional contract with Newport County AFC.

“Futsal is a fantastic game, and even though some people may look at it differently to football because it’s indoors, you learn so much.

“It really helped me to develop as a player, particularly the technical side, while getting to travel to different places and gain an education was an added bonus.’’

From there, his impressive performances on the Futsal programme led to a call-up to the Welsh U18 futsal team, where he played in fixtures against England, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Discussing the experience, he said: “It was a fantastic moment and made me realise that this could just be the beginning.”

After representing his country in futsal for the first time, Momodou signed a two-year scholarship with County’s football Academy.

Impressing Academy Manager Byron Anthony, his performances caught the eye of Wales’ U19 football team.

Byron said: “It was great to see Paul Bodin [Wales U19 Manager] come down and watch Momodou.

“When I went up to see him represent Wales’ U19’s against Switzerland in Rhyl, UEFA delegates were saying, ‘Where has this player been hiding, he’s unbelievable, where is he from?’

“It’s a fantastic feeling for everyone at the club, from the Community Trust to the Academy, to see a player come through the system.”


In April 2018, Momodou’s childhood dream came true after signing his first professional contract with The Exiles.

He said: “I was over the moon to sign a professional contract. My family and the staff at the Community Trust and Academy have always believed in me.

“My aim now is to hopefully make my debut in the first team. If I do that then I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to as a kid, and then from there I just want to get better and better.

“I came from the very bottom but it shows that if you work hard you can achieve anything.’’

Dave Lewis, College Programme Co-ordinator at County in the Community, added: “Momodou is a credit to the club.

“The EFL is a very demanding league, but I think his attitude will go far and the attributes he picked up from futsal working in tight areas and holding the ball up will really help him.

“Hopefully the fans will get to see that he thrives in that aspect of the game.”

To find out more about the EFL Trust Futsal programme visit:

How football clubs across Europe can improve social inclusion

The English Football League Trust are please to be able to share the results of Pan-European project sharing best practice on how football clubs can improve social inclusion in their communities.  

The EPMIMT project was developed through support and co-funding from the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

The aims of the project were to create a set of freely accessible online resources for anyone involved in sport-based social inclusion activities.  The project specifically looked at the development and impact of ‘street leagues’  in various European countries including Spain, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.  Street leagues involve taking football into locations in the heart of communities suffering from a range of social issues and working with young people in danger of being involved in anti-social behaviour.    

The project was delivered in partnership with the Bundesliga-Stiftung (Germany), The Football Association of Ireland, the European Football for Development Network, the Fundación del Fútbol Profesional (Spain), Gargzdu futbolas (Lithuania), the Scottish Professional Football League Trust and with additional support from Substance.

The results of the EPMIMT project are intended to be of value to organisations across Europe who use sports development programmes to improve their communities.  

The learning resources and case studies are free to use by anyone and are the available online at:

Charlton Athletic to have a float at Pride in London

Charlton Athletic are to become one of the first professional football clubs to participate in Pride in London. 120 people linked to CACT, the club and associated groups will join a Charlton-themed float at this year’s Pride in London parade on Saturday 7 July. Up to now football teams have been represented in the march by their fan groups.

CACT Invicta FC, the first LGBTQI+ friendly football team affiliated to a professional club’s community trust, will join Charlton’s LGBTQI+ supporters’ group, the Proud Valiants, at the procession in Central London, which first took place in 1972.

Participation in the event will celebrate CACT Invicta winning the London Unity League title in their first season affiliated to Charlton, and also CACT’s wider commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

CACT Invicta FC said:

“Wow, what can we say, we are just blown away that we can be involved in the first ever Pride in London march that Charlton Athletic have ever been a part of. As the first ever LGBTQI+ friendly football club to be formally affiliated to a professional club’s community trust, we get to show the whole of London on 7 July that CACT reaches out to so many people across the South East, the club is one big family, and side by side we support one another – a sign of unity.

“It’s a huge step for the LGBTQI+ community and football as a whole, it allows us to stand united by breaking down barriers and shaking off stereotypes. It’s allowing the next generation within the LGBTQI+ community to believe in football and that football is a sport for all which nobody should ever feel excluded from.

“We are making history and we are delighted to be the start of that”.

Rob Harris, Proud Valiants’ Chair, said:

“Charlton Athletic and CACT have become champions in the fight against homophobia. We are very proud to be taking part in this event and celebrating not only with CACT Invicta but the whole Charlton Family. To make such a visible statement is historic and I hope that anybody in the crowd who has doubts about their sexuality or feels uneasy going to watch football as they fear the atmosphere may realise that football is a sport for all and that Charlton will not accept any form of prejudice.

“Pride tops off an amazing season of events that the Proud Valiants have worked on with the club, CACT and CACT Invicta including a dedicated first-team match in February, the third Charlton v Homophobia Tournament on 22 May and an upcoming conference for other professional clubs around homophobia and setting up supporter groups. All this goes to show how we all here at CAFC are setting the bar for all teams up and down the country.”

Charlton were recently named EFL London Checkatrade Community Club of the Year, with CACT Invicta the club’s showcase project.

Dr Michael Seeraj, CACT’s Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, said:

“This has been a remarkable first season for CACT Invicta, not only winning the London Unity League, but also being commended by the EFL, as part of CACT’s award for winning this season’s EFL London Community Club of the Year. We are committed to tackling discrimination and promoting inclusion, and are extremely proud that CACT Invicta now form an integral part of our wider equality programme. Pride in London will be a fitting finale to what has been a truly incredible year”.

The 120 wristbands that organisers have allocated will be distributed to CACT Invicta, Proud Valiants, and a number of CACT service users from across South East London and Kent, where the organisation’s work takes place.

Other events taking place this year to tackle homophobic abuse in sport include the Charlton v Homophobia football tournament on Tuesday 22 May, jointly hosted by the club and their official LGBTQI+ supporters group the Proud Valiants, which sees four LGBTQI+ friendly teams play 11-a-side matches at The Valley to raise awareness about the importance of creating an inclusive environment on and off the pitch.

CACT Invicta were formed as Bexley Invicta in 2011. Player-Manager Gary Ginnaw didn’t play football competitively for more than 12 years because he felt uncomfortable about the atmosphere. CACT Invicta train and play home matches at the club’s Sparrows Lane training ground, and their model has since been replicated by Norwich City’s Proud Canaries FC.

Proud Valiants were formed four years ago, when a LGBTQ fan approached the club and asked if they would be willing to endorse a supporters’ group for fans who identified as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer, loved football – but may feel isolated. The club welcomed the suggestion and the Proud Valiants were born and have since seen their membership soar. Their members have taken part in debates both here and overseas, and been invited to Parliament – as well as being covered in a wide range of media as front-runners in the battle against homophobia in the game.

National Citizen Service (NCS) Graduates profiled in new BBC social integration series: Crossing Divides

Two local Rotherham Teenagers, Casey and Waj, have been profiled in the BBC Crossing Divides Series, which looks at the ways in which people connect across the fractures that divide societies.

Casey and Waj, both from Rotherham, live in different parts of the town: Casey in the predominantly white area and Waj in the more diverse community. They were handpicked by the BBC to showcase how they overcame certain social divides in the area to become firm friends.

Casey, 17 said: “Looking back to before I did NCS and met Waj, it was quite incredible how segregated I was from people different to me – without ever really realising it! I didn’t feel any prejudice towards people different to me, but I also didn’t know anything about their faith or culture, as I’d just never been given the opportunity to learn more about it.”

Last summer both participated in National Citizen Service (NCS), a national youth programme which brings together 16-17 year olds in small groups which reflect the social mix of the community they live in.

NCS is delivered in Yorkshire and Humber by a number of professional football clubs through EFL Trust because they have an understanding of the makeup of the areas they serve: in this case, Rotherham United Community Sports Trust. To date 2,248 have participated in NCS in Rotherham since 2013. Casey and Waj’s experience included outdoor team-building exercises in Castleton, a residential at Sheffield University for them to learn ‘life skills’, and a community-based social action project.

Waj, 17 said: “I was nervous on the first day of NCS due to seeing plenty of people all very different to me. I was anxious of how well we could all get along and what perceptions they might already have of me. However, I was completely wrong, the group came together quickly and we all got on really well. The whole experience fed my confidence to be more ambitious with my aims and with myself; meeting some wonderful people like Casey definitely made me glad I took the opportunity to take part in NCS that summer.

Carole Foster at Rotherham United Community Sports Trust said: “The programme is a great opportunity to show the positive outcomes of NCS and how it brings together communities creating cohesion and uniting them through common interests and goals.”

The BBC interviewed the two girls about their differences growing up and filmed the reunion of the entire 2017 summer group at Jump Inc Trampoline Park. Both Casey and Waj spoke honestly in the piece about their different upbringings and their limited interaction with people from other backgrounds – but by coming together with a shared endeavour they developed a much greater understanding and respect to those different to them.

You can watch the video here: