Wigan Athletic duo Nathan Byrne and Jamie Jones celebrate EFL Day of Disabilities at Hope School

Wigan Athletic first team players Nathan Byrne and Jamie Jones joined 20 pupils at Hope School on Monday afternoon for an Every Player Counts disability sports session.

The visit was part of the first ever EFL Day of Disabilities, an event designed to showcase the positive work of EFL clubs in ensuring an inclusive environment for disabled fans, with Nathan and Jamie taking part in a number of football activities with youngsters.

Funded by Wembley National Stadium Trust and administered by EFL Trust, the Every Player Counts scheme aims to get more young people with disabilities across the UK involved in football and sport.

Nathan said: “It’s a great feeling for the club and for me personally that you can come out into the community and do these sort of things that bring so much joy to the kids. They were really getting involved in the session and it’s amazing to be in a position to be able to give something back.”

As part of the Every Player Counts programme, coaches from Wigan Athletic Community Trust deliver sports sessions in schools, colleges and at Wigan Youth Zone on a weekly basis and have worked with more than 600 people with disabilities across the Borough.

Pauline Lynch, Deputy Head Teacher at Hope School, said: “The children will remember this visit and will talk about the time players from Wigan Athletic came to their school for a very long time. It was a day to remember for us and I’d like to thank Latics and the players for the opportunity.”

Every Player Counts

25 EFL Clubs deliver activity covering a wide range of disability programmes including wheelchair football, football for visual impairment, learning difficulties, amputees and autism, giving many disabled people access to football for the first time.

The over-riding aim of the scheme is to increase the amount of disabled people participating in football reaching out to over 5000 people per year, breaking down the barriers that have prevented them from doing so.

Find out more by visiting: https://www.efltrust.com/projects/every-player-counts/

Young Londoners funding to address street violence

Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) will be part of the biggest round of funding yet from the Mayor of London’s Young Londoners Fund.

CACT will be leading on the delivery of the Connect project with its partners the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Peabody and the London Borough of Bexley.

The Young Londoners’ grant awarded by Mayor Sadiq Khan is £150k over three years. CACT, RBG and Peabody are supplying match funding which equates to a further £90k.

Connect will enhance the existing youth service offer at The Link – run by Peabody – Woolwich Common Youth Hub and Hawksmoor Youth Hub – both run by Young Greenwich, the youth service CACT delivers on behalf of RBG by providing enhanced training to youth workers. This will help youth workers deal with the effects of trauma on young people and identify young people at risk of being drawn into youth violence who require more intensive intervention.

The additional delivery strands of Connect will then provide intensive one-on-one mentoring to build resilience and also provide a programme of positive diversionary activity.

Charlie Macdonald, CACT’s Director of Youth & Inclusion, said:

“CACT is delighted to be asked to deliver the programme alongside key partners.

“This is a major project that will support the aims of CACT’s refreshed Street Violence Ruins Lives strategy which will see CACT continue its commitment to working towards reducing youth violence.”

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said:

“The Mayor’s Fund will further enhance the support the Council is already giving to a wide range of children and young people’s groups across the Borough.

“In particular, the Council is investing £30,000 of its own funds into the Connect Project, alongside Charlton Athletic Community Trust and Peabody to mentor young people in Thamesmead Moorings and Woolwich Common who have been excluded from school and might end up turning to crime.”

The £45m Young Londoners Fund was created to fund local projects that provide young people with the support they need to fulfil their potential and avoid getting caught up in crime.

This funding aims to show young people a positive way forward through a range of education, sport and cultural activities. It is part of the public health approach to fighting violent crime that the Mayor is taking.

Connect is one of the first projects to receive the Young Londoners Fund. The projects that have received this funding so far include everything from theatre groups and employability training, to football clubs and art sessions.

CACT will be holding a launch event of its refreshed Street Violence Ruins lives strategy in January 2019 and will be inviting key stakeholders in the near future.

EFL Day of Disabilities: “Many of the young people involved have never attended a football match before.”

To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust gave a special task to children from our disability projects.

With the Community Trust engaging with 250 children and adults with disabilities each year, it is no surprise that we marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in a special way.

Children from our Short Breaks project, which supports children with disabilities through sporting activities, joined our deaf volunteers for the Guard of Honour at our Sheffield United Game last Tuesday. And Brentford players Emiliano Marcondes, Rico Henry and Moses Odubajo congratulated the youngsters on their important matchday role.

More importantly, for many of the young people involved, this was the first time they had ever watched a professional football match. Sherrie Carrington, whose son took part in the Guard of Honour, said:

“He has been non-stop talking about it – you have certainly made him a happy boy tonight! He was actually really nervous about being a flag bearer, in case he did it wrong in front of all those people, but in the end he really enjoyed himself.”

Established in 1992 by the UN, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to promote the welfare of people with disabilities and raise awareness of the difficulties they often face.

And the EFL, along with the 72 Clubs it represents, aims to highlight how football matches is an inclusive environment for disabled people.  Chris Tribe, Disability Project Manager at Brentford’s Community Sports Trust, said:

 “We thought it was really important to mark the EFL Day of Disabilities, and we wanted to invite some young people who have never attended a football match before, which made the occasion even more special. It was fantastic to see how much they all enjoyed the experience; not many people get the opportunity to step onto the hallowed turf of Griffin Park!”

Ryan’s Story: How Shrewsbury Town Transformed His Life Through The Power Of Football.

With the Day of Disabilities well underway, we want to bring you a story about how Shrewsbury Town’s work in the community has totally transformed his life through the power of football.

Ryan Thomas is 15-years-old who suffers from Chronic Pain Syndrome as well as severe anxiety and is a selective mute, Ryan’s family found out about the ShrewsAbility PAN Football sessions. Although Ryan was extremely nervous about attending the session when he first began, they have become the highlight of his week, he has now started talking at the sessions to both participants and coaches and says it has made him feel safe. he said

“PAN football is great fun, well organised and I feel safe, I wish that I could play every day,”

Ryan has slowly built great friendships within the group and has even met up with other members of the sessions, the other participants of the group have made him feel welcome and he can now attend the sessions with no feelings of anxiety, only excitement. The ShrewsAbility sessions are part of EFL Trust’s Every Player Counts programme, which is funded by the Wembley National Stadium Trust

The EFL have committed to a programme of continual improvement to make football more inclusive with all 72 clubs and Level Playing Field.  Which includes delivering a brand new educational seminar for clubs, publishing a new guidance document called ‘The Accessible Supporters Guide’ covering the entire matchday experience from ticket purchase to leaving the ground, and much more.

Swindon Town’s Holiday Camps Give Parents Respite

Thanks to Swindon Town holiday camps parents of youngsters with a disability are getting a much needed respite.

Swindon recently extended their Multi Sports Holiday course to include activities for children with Special Educational Needs and Physical Disabilities.  These courses not only are delivered to enable parents a respite facility during school holiday periods, they also enable the children to attend the courses with their siblings.

One parent is delighted that her son Hayden, along with his younger brother Josh has. Hayden’s mum Kirsty stated,

 “I am at times very over protective of Hayden. These courses have given him the opportunity to take part in various activities with his younger brother Josh, who is just about to start mainstream school. It has been wonderful to see the excitement in both my boys, and for them to enjoy a wide range of sports together as brothers, as it is something I never thought was going to be possible. Their independence and self-worth, particularly in Hayden, has been a joy to see. When we have tea together Hayden continuously talks about the sessions and the exciting activities they have engaged in during the day.

Hayden states,

“I have made friends with other children from other schools and I can’t wait for the next course. On the last day we have a presentation with our families and we all get presented a goodie bag and a medal, along with a photograph of our group”

We couldn’t believe the change in our daughter, her energy and enthusiasm to be more active is amazing

As part of the Every Player Counts programme Southend United run special PE sessions that allow all children to benefit from taking an active part in sport.

Funded by the Wembley National Stadium Trust, the sessions are are tailored to meet specific needs of the participants.   One pupil whose benefited from United session is Emily

Emily has always struggled with her physical ability. She attend PE sessions with the rest of her class mates, however she not the most active pupil. She often sat out or refused to play at lunch as she would prefer to read or draw. Emily has learning difficulties and cerebral palsy which means she struggles with communication and struggles to lift and hold objects.  The coaches noticed that Emily wouldn’t get involved with her class mates. She would often get distracted easily and walk around the sports hall and read off the posters on the wall. Emily would prefer to watch the session instead of taking part.

The coaches therefore started delivering in smaller groups to help those, like Emily,   who are shy and lack confidence to be part of the session. This worked well with Emily and we noticed a huge change in her confidence after week four, this is when Emily started to join in. We found out that by promoting prizes that linked to her hobbies encouraged her to join in and socialise with the new students and staff.

Within the last session Emily joined in for the whole session.  Jason who is head of PE at Emily’s school said

 “We spoke to Emily’s parents and they couldn’t believe the change in Emily, they said that her energy and enthusiasm to be more active is amazing!”

Teenagers from Exeter CITY Community Hit the Headlines by Tripling Foodbank Donation

A group of Exeter teenagers have hit the headlines this week thanks to an innovative scheme to drive foodbank donations, that has tripled donations and is now being rolled out nationally  

And they came up with the simple, yet genius, idea when they were taking part in the National Citizen Service with Exeter CITY Community Trust.  This week the group of 13 National Citizen Service (NCS) graduates will see their idea rolled out in Sainsbury’s stores nationwide.

The story really has become a media sensation with the group appearing on Sky Sunrise, BBC Victoria Derbyshire, ITV News and Channel 5 News.  As well seeing their story covered by The Times Independent, Mail Online, BBC Newsbeat, Guardian, AOL, MSN, Big Issue, The Pool.

The idea was developed after the group spoke to their local food bank during the social action phase of the national youth programme for 16 and 17 year olds. NCS graduate, Holly Manning, 17, from Exeter, said:

“After talking to the manager of our local food bank it was clear that shoppers were being reminded too late about donating, with food bank collection points usually being placed at the exit of the store. We also learnt that people were regularly donating similar items, making it difficult for them to get the quantity and variety that they needed to serve the needs of their beneficiaries.”

To combat this, the NCS grads came up with a simple, ingenious idea: pop a branded sticker alongside the items most needed by the local food bank to encourage people to purchase the item and drop it in the existing food bank collection box on their way out.

Holly continued:

“Once we had developed an idea we were confident would help, we set about pitching it to various local retailers. After being turned away by a few we popped into Sainsbury’s and spoke to the store manager who, to our delight, agreed to trial the initiative.”

After two weeks of the labels being in store, the food bank reported the number of donations had increased by 300%.  Mark Richardson, manager of Exeter foodbank, said:

“Teenagers these days often have an unfair reputation for being unengaged with the world around them, so it’s great to see young people being empowered by programmes like NCS to go out into their communities and make a difference.  The results of this initiative just go to show that sometimes you just need a new mind on an old problem, sometimes the most simple ideas have the greatest impact. This campaign has already had fantastic results locally, and I’m excited to see how it can benefit food banks and their clients across the UK.”

The labels – which will appear alongside the top 15 priority food bank items all year round – will be a key driver in Sainsbury’s Supermarket and Sainsbury’s Argos’ festive food and toy donation drive: ‘Help Brighten a Million Christmases’.  Danny Harris, deputy head of community at Exeter CITY Community Trust, said:

‘We are so proud of the young people who developed this project; they threw their hearts and souls into it and it is incredible to think of the impact their idea could have. We have had over 500 teenagers taking part in NCS in Exeter this year and they continue to be inspired by the programme and by each other and are making a real difference in our community.’

CITY Community Trust works in partnership with Exeter City Football Club and provides a range of activities to people of all ages, focused on health, education, wellbeing and physical activity.

To find out more about NCS: www.ncsyes.co.uk

Proud to Support Rainbow Laces

The EFL and EFL Trust are proud to support Rainbow Laces. Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign is in support of LGBT equality with a key theme for this year focused on creating more allies to LGBT people in sport.

The EFL’s support for rainbow Laces forms part of its wider LGBT work delivered in conjunction with Clubs through the Equality Code of Practice. This includes delivering activities, setting policies, and advising on recruitment and education at Clubs.

Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive said: “The EFL is once again fully supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, with all 72 Clubs coming together to raise awareness and visibility of an important issue. The EFL continues to be committed to providing a match day experience that is safe and welcoming to all supporters across all of our competitions.

Brentford Legend Kevin O’Connor unites with LGBT+ fan group for Rainbow Laces community match

Brentford’s LGBT+ fan group ‘LGBeeT’s’ laced up their football boots with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and Middlesex FA this week in a bid to raise awareness of LGBT+ equality in football.

The group took part in a unique football match at Middlesex FA’s new home at Rectory Park, Northolt. Along with four Brentford players, Brentford legend Kevin O’Connor attended the event and pledged his stalwart support for the match.

The match coincided with the Rainbow Laces campaign, which encourages fans and athletes to be ‘active allies’ and to play their part in ensuring LGBT+ people feel included in sport. Run by the LGBT+ charity Stonewall, the campaign is now in its fifth consecutive year, and has been credited with tackling discrimination both on and off the football pitch.

Brentford players Jonny Mitchell, Jarvis Edobar, Nicolaj Kirk and Joe Hardy, who all played in the match, joined B-Team Head Coach Kevin O’Connor at Rectory Park. Kevin, who made over 500 appearances for the championship club, felt it was important that Brentford endorsed the Rainbow Laces initiative. Kevin said

 “Our message is clear: football is for everyone. We have to get the message out there and hopefully events like this will highlight Brentford’s commitment to the Rainbow Laces campaign.”

Brentford FC have already cultivated a reputation as a pioneering football club for LGBT+ rights. Back in 2017, Brentford players and officials watched a special screening of the short film WONDERKID, which highlights the problem of homophobia in football, focusing on a young footballer whose sexuality is threatening to alienate him from the game. Gemma Teale, who is the founding member of the LGBT+ fan group, believes such events have an important message for LGBT+ football fans. she said

 “The annual Rainbow Laces campaign has been really important in raising awareness of LGBTphobia in sport – uniting people to become allies over the last few years. It’s great to see the Trust, Club and FA support the campaign with events like this and Brentford’s game against Sheffield– giving the message thatrentford FC and football as a whole is for everyone.”

Bassam Mahfouz, Cabinet Member for Finance and Leisure at Ealing Council, said:

“I am delighted that Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and Middlesex FA have joined forces for Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign. Working together with Middlesex FA, Ealing Council are committed to making Rectory Park a footballing hub that is accessible and enjoyable for all. Community matches like this prove that very goal – making football a catalyst for social change.”


Schools & Colleges Awarded at NCS Champion Schools Event

60 schools and colleges from South Yorkshire and Humber have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the National Citizen Service (NCS).

Read more