“Sport means he is learning without him realising it”

Lockdown has been challenging for Bodhi, aged 9 and his mum Caren. However Bodhi, who has global developmental delay and autism, has been managing the lockdown by taking part in Brentford FC Community Trust’s online Short Breaks activities for children with disabilities.

His mum Caren believes that physical activity for Bodhi is now needed more than ever. She said:

“Bodhi has not had occupational therapy for over a year and this is not the first time we have had such big break sadly. Doing sport activities, which incorporate both gross and fine motor skills, is hugely beneficial. Because of his age, he now wants to do ‘regular’ activities, so sports can mean he is learning without him realising it!”

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s Short Breaks project, commissioned by Hounslow Council, supports children with a disability with their confidence and development through a range of free sporting activities. Over the past year, the project has engaged with more than 150 children in Hounslow.

Under normal circumstances, these sessions are delivered on a weekly basis in Osterley and during the school holidays.

Yet the government lockdown has meant that Brentford FC Community Sports Trust have had to be creative in how they deliver physical activity for children while at home.

Chris Tribe, The Trust’s Disability Manager, said:

“We’ve had to find new and innovative ways to engage with our participants and encourage them to stay active at home. Since the lockdown began, we created and sent out weekly sports challenge videos for families to try at home, which have proved to be really popular.

Caren adds: “Although we home educate, and have lots of resources, we still found it a bit difficult to establish a routine and ensure a balance between education and fun. It is also difficult for us parents to constantly look after the house and kids – I honestly don’t sit down!”


Traineeship with Fulham FC Foundation pushes Richard to reach career aspirations

Richard got his dream career off to a flying start after completing a 12-week Traineeship with Fulham FC Foundation.

The 12-week traineeship helped the 26-year-old take his first step onto his dream career pathway, after spending a year out of work and searching for a new job.

Previously, Richard worked in retail and despite enjoying it at times, feels it just wasn’t for him. He always had a keen interest in computer science and believes the opportunities on the traineeship and the support from the Fulham FC Foundation staff helped him reach his potential.

He is now flourishing in his current full-time role as an ICT Support Engineer at ALRA (The Academy of Live & Recording Arts) after completing the traineeship in 2019.

He told the EFL Trust: “I was without a job for a year and so keen to work in ICT, I just needed guidance and support and the traineeship with Fulham FC Foundation really gave me that.

“The great thing about the traineeship is that it is tailored towards you and your career goals, so mine specifically focused on computer science.

“Everyone on the traineeship was great, I made friends I still speak to now and it really opened up my eyes being based at a professional football club. Having the opportunity to work alongside ICT support specialists at the Club stadium helped me gain essential knowledge in the area and land the role I really wanted.”

Ryan Dempsey, Youth Engagement Officer at Fulham FC Foundation believes the environment and approach of the traineeship is what makes it so unique to other education pathways.

He said: “We meet the young people first and gage what they want out of it to really see what part of the journey we can help with the most.

“We work with smaller groups so that it’s easier to maintain and bring out the best potential of our trainees individually to help them in the career goals.

“We also continue to support them even after they have completed the course, staying in touch to offer any further advice or help.”

Richard added: “I’d really recommend the traineeship if someone needs help getting onto their career path.

“It gives you a routine and is a great safety net and guide. You’re around people who will push you and help you achieve your goals, just having someone there to encourage you can really help.”

To find out more about EFL Trust Education & Employability programmes visit:  https://www.efltrust.com/educationandemployability/


Fulham Doctor Supports Efforts to Tackle Homelessness

Back in April, Fulham’s official Club Doctor, Justin Yeoh, signed up as a volunteer to help homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Consultant in Sports & Exercise Medicine (and previous GP), used his medical experience to support vulnerable individuals placed in protective hotel accommodation by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

With all football matches suspended at that time, Fulham supported the community response to COVID-19 by deploying experts like Dr Yeoh and other members of the FFC medical team whose skills are invaluable in difficult times.

Dr Yeoh has been treating rough sleepers who have been put up in hotels across the capital to keep them safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Back in April, Dr Yeoh said: “Fulham and the Fulham FC Foundation have been working with many key local partners and have been keeping in touch with supporters and people from our neighbourhood.

“Whilst football is currently suspended, I’m glad to have been invited to offer my services to Turning Point and work closely with them, St Mungo’s and the local authority to support the tremendous work being carried out with the homeless in the borough.

“The voluntary work I do is very rewarding for both myself and the patients that gives a little bit of help to those in need.”

Dr Mohammed Al-Saidi, Consultant Addictions Psychiatrist at Turning Point, said: “Dr Yeoh’s support on our clinical team is a great opportunity to reach some of the most vulnerable people in society. This is a crucial step for many to get off the streets for good.”


“I have enjoyed every Brentford FC Sports Community Trust class and had the satisfaction of knowing I am investing in my health for now and the future.”

Brentford fan Jennie Sibley never knew that her football club could offer her the support she needed during the lockdown – especially when she first found the lockdown a daunting experience.

“We did not know much about the virus and being over 70 I was aware that if I caught COVID-19 it may be quite or very serious for me.  I have usually gone out most days so being restricted within the confines of my home was alien to me,” Jennie said.

Yet Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s Pilates, Yoga and chair-based exercises classes proved a welcome distraction during the COVID-19 crisis and ensured Jennie stayed healthy at home.

“My regular exercise classes had been cancelled due to lockdown (I do these with Age UK, and Hounslow over 60s programme),” Jennie explained. “But I saw an advert in Brentford FC’s newsletter for the online health and fitness classes.”

Back in March – at the height of the government’s lockdown – the Trust launched its #BeeatHome campaign that encouraged children and adults to remain active within their homes.

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s online fitness classes are delivered in partnership with Hounslow Council, and include yoga, Pilates, Bootcamp and Boxercise, ensuring adults across the borough of Hounslow could still remain active.

And Jennie has certainly been impressed with the quality of teaching she has received from the classes, she said:

“Each teacher I have tuned into seems to be at the top of their game: very clear with instructions, clear demonstration of exercise, clear explanation of what/why we are doing an exercise.  They all seem to have been very thoughtful and empathetic teachers.

“I have enjoyed every class I have been to and had the satisfaction of knowing I am investing in my health for now and the future.”

Jennie hasn’t been the only Hounslow resident who has benefited from Brentford FC Community Sports Trust health classes during this period: roughly 100 local adults have been benefiting from these classes every week.

“I’m passionate about growing as a Youth Leader”

“I’m passionate about further growing as a youth leader and being able to empower other young people to be the start of change.” says Emmanuel Essien, one of three NCS graduates who has been accepted out of hundreds of applications of young people, to join The FA Leadership Academy.

Three EFL Trust NCS graduates have been accepted onto The FA Leadership Academy (FALA) after successfully navigating a competitive application process. Emmanuel Essien from Sheffield, Ellie-Ja Goddard and Josh Newbold, both from Rotherham, were all accepted on the FALA.

The FALA takes young people on a journey through developing themselves, others and their communities. The Academy equips young people with the skills and tools to become youth leaders, concluding with each young person delivering a social action project to positively impact their local communities through football.

Their 12-month journey begins today with a four-day event. The event usually takes place at St George’s Park, but due to COVID-19, will be held virtually. During the event, young people will be introduced to the academy, learn how to become a leader and hear from football icons and other workshops to develop their skills.

Ellie is delighted to have been accepted onto the FALA. She said:

“I have always loved helping people and I am looking forward to FALA as I think it is the perfect platform for me to develop my skills and help people in my community, alongside a sport that I love.”

The opportunity to apply for the FALA was made available to Emmanuel, Ellie and Josh through the EFL Trust’s Regional Youth Board, a Board they are all a part of having done NCS in their local area. As part of the Youth Board they have been involved in supporting local charities such as Hull Homeless Community Projects and food banks across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Emmanuel, who completed his NCS experience with Sheffield Wednesday, believes the FALA is a great step for his development

“I’m looking forward to the FALA programme because I’m passionate about further growing as a youth leader and being able to empower other young people to be the start of change.

“I know the FALA programme is a step up to make a greater impact for the lives of people in the wider football community.”

Following the four-day event, the youth leaders will take part in a 12-month development plan of which they are required to create and implement a project within their local community that aids the growth and development of other young people, youth leaders and football as a whole.

Thousands of teenagers pledge to volunteer this summer

“We want young people to feel more confident and meet new people, as well as feel more connected with their community. ‘Keep Doing Good’ can offer this to them.”

Instead of struggling to know what to do with their spare time this summer, teenagers aged 15-17, will respond to the impact COVID-19 has had in their local area by volunteering thousands of hours, to help rebuild their local community with ‘Keep Doing Good’ from NCS (National Citizen Service).

Thousands of young people were due to go away this summer on NCS with the aim being to live independently, learn new skills, meet new people and volunteer, to make a positive impact in the community. However, due to the impact of COVID-19, the traditional NCS programme can’t go ahead and young people are instead pledging their time by signing up to ‘Keep Doing Good’.

The two-week programme takes place in August and will see young people volunteer over 16 hours each in their local community. In groups, they will plan and deliver a social action project, leaving a positive impact by supporting local food banks, care homes or helping local charities get back up running.

Whatever they decide to do, they will pick up news skills, create positive change and help rebuild their local community.

Tymoteusz Syrytczyk, 17, from Sheffield is an NCS Graduate and a member of EFL Trust’s Regional Youth Board has signed up to ‘Keep Doing Good’ in Sheffield and can’t wait to get involved:

“I loved being a part of NCS last year, so when I saw I could get involved again this summer I was excited to get on board. I’m looking forward to helping my community get back on its feet and using the skills I got from NCS last year to help me do this”.

‘Keep Doing Good’ will be delivered by EFL Trust and its network of local organisations that include Football Clubs, sport charities and youth organisations, all of whom have vast experience and passion to work with young people and give them an opportunity to make positive change.

Mike Evans, Chief Executive at EFL Trust said:

“We’re looking forward to engaging thousands of young people in ‘Keep Doing Good’ this summer. This alternative to NCS is a really exciting opportunity for young people to get involved with and play their part to make positive change in their community.

“Our network of over 60 delivery partners are eager to support young people and offer them an insightful and safe experience that will also help them develop as well as benefit the community.

“We want young people to feel more confident and meet new people, as well as feel more connected with their community. ‘Keep Doing Good’ can offer this to them.”

To find out more information about ‘Keep Doing Good’ or to register interest visit wearencs.com.

North West Clubs awarded COVID-19 funding from Youth Endowment Fund

Blackpool FC Community Trust and Preston North End Community and Education Trust have each been awarded a grant from the Youth Endowment Fund to support young people at-risk of being drawn into violent crime through the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the support of a £41,000 grant, Blackpool FC Community Trust will be launching a new online adaption of the Trust’s ‘Tower Above’ crime prevention programme mentoring and education programme, to prevent vulnerable young people being drawn into violent crime. The move online will help the Trust continue its support of vulnerable young people while COVID-19 social distancing measures remain in place.

Jason White, Head of Community Programmes, said:

“Social distancing measures have meant we’ve had to put much of our face-to-face work with young people on-hold and look for alternative ways of supporting them. This funding will help us to strengthen and build our online mentoring and ensure young people can still access our help even if it’s difficult to physically meet.”

Preston North End’s project focuses on ‘Back on Track’, a 12 week initiative at providing weekly physical activity sessions complemented with interactive educational workshops centred around improving young people’s attitudes and behaviours towards criminal activity, lifestyle and careers. The sessions will run over the summer holidays and also into the first term of the new academic year as we help the targeted young people transition back into education.  

Tom Drake, Head of Community said:

“We are delighted that we have been successful in our application to the Youth Endowment Fund. Our new Back on Track programme will help provide some much needed support through both physical activity and educational based workshops for some of the most vulnerable young people in Preston throughout the summer holiday and as they transition back into education. The COVID period has been extremely challenging for young people, we are hoping the Back on Track programme provides some much needed ‘normality’ whilst also educating them on key life skills.”

The Youth Endowment Fund is an independent charitable trust set up by the Home Office. It funds, supports and evaluates projects in England and Wales which work to prevent children and young people from being drawn into violent crime.

Jon Yates, Executive Director at Youth Endowment Fund, said: “It has been too easy to forget vulnerable young people during this crisis. The pandemic has removed much of the critical support that many of them rely upon – from teachers to youth workers. This funding will help us find the best way to reach and support these young people when they most need it.”

“Football really does help pull communities together and COVID-19 has reaffirmed that EFL Trust Clubs have a huge responsibility to make a real difference.”

During COVID-19, Oxford United in the Community have focused on delivering health, fitness and well-being programmes to support those who have been impacted physically, mentally and financially by the pandemic.

Here are some key highlights:

Homework packs

Oxford United in the Community have been engaging with hundreds of youngsters during lockdown via homework packs. They created a special timetable of homework to support parents who are home schooling their children and to inspire youngsters. More than 500 children took part in the programme. The work was designed to encourage youngsters to think, remain healthy and active.

Daily Challenges

Hundreds of youngsters have taken part in daily challenges and shared their activities via video. The daily challenges were designed to support youngsters during lock down to remain fit and active.


Members of the Oxford United in the Community team joined the Club in helping to distribute over 10,000 face masks to help fans and key workers. Club Manager Karl Robinson also volunteered to pack and despatch masks which were sent to the NHS, local charities, the city and county councils. Additionally, 2,000 masks were sent by post to season ticket holders aged over 55 and some higher risk supporters.

Horrid Henry

Oxford United in the Community teamed up with animated TV star Horrid Henry to help share home-based activity programmes with thousands of families. The collaboration has seen youngsters receive homework packs via Henry Unlocked, a regular lock down podcast.

2.6 Challenge

More than £1,000 was raised via the 2.6 Challenge to help your charity do more in your community. The 2.6 Challenge saw United fans, youngsters on Oxford United in the Community programmes and some Patrons and Trustees take part.

Chris Lowes, Head of Oxford United in the community said:

“We appreciate many people in our community have been impacted in various ways by COVID-19, physically, mentally and financially. As the Club’s charity we have remained committed to supporting as many people as we can throughout the on-going pandemic.

“It has been challenging but we have managed to readjust and deliver some really positive impact. We have focused on delivering health, fitness and well-being programmes designed to keep people active and promote healthy bodies and minds. We have also directly helped with other COVID-19 related activities within the community, including delivering Oxford United face masks to care homes.

“Football really does help pull the communities together and COVID-19 has reaffirmed that EFL Trust Club Community Organisations have a huge responsibility to make a real difference and there have been so many uplifting stories from across the EFL network.

“Oxford United reaching Wembley has given our community an additional big lift at this challenging time and it is another opportunity for the charity to create further ways to engage with people.”

Wycombe Wanderers continue to help community Keep Moving Forward

For the past 14 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic, Wycombe Wanderers Sports and Education Trust (WWSET) have supported hundreds of people with their mental health by adapting their Keep Moving Forward project.

The project, which supports people facing mental health difficulties, has been adapted from face-to-face sessions to conducting online sessions in Indian Clubs (a form of physical exercise) and yoga, as well as weekly online mindfulness sessions in partnership with Bucks Mind.

In addition, the Trust have also been making contact with each and every one of their members weekly to provide a listening ear, ease any worries and provide coping strategies that members can practice and adopt throughout the week and beyond.

The sessions have enabled people to keep connected and provide a sense of routine and normality, as well as much needed support during the COVID-19 crisis.

Sam White, Head of Health at Wycombe Wanderers Sports and Education Trust said:

“Lockdown has been an uncertain and distressing time for all of us. However, for those already living with mental health problems it’s been an even tougher road than normal due to the fact many normal coping mechanisms have been taken away and services stretched.

“It’s for this reason that when the lockdown came into place WWSET knew we had to adapt our normal sessions quickly in order to support our community. We immediately had to stop our physical sessions and quickly learn how to adapt to online versions of two of our courses; Indian Clubs and Yoga, which was challenging.

“WWSET also began providing targeted 1-2-1 calls each week to provide support and advice to those most in need. This has been a really difficult time for a lot of our members however I genuinely feel our method of support has helped people to feel connected.

“We have been fortunate to run an additional two short courses (mindfulness and cooking for one) during this time, and are looking forward to gradually getting back to more face to face interactions.”

Here is what a few members had to say about Keep Moving Forward sessions:

“Having a call with Sam and text exchanges has helped me to feel less isolated during the lockdown -especially living alone. “

“Indian Clubs was an important part of my weekly structure pre-lockdown and I was so relieved that this has been able to continue via Zoom. I enjoy the different exercises and feel like it’s helping my body get stronger and my mind keep active. Plus, it’s lovely seeing everyone and Sam’s friendly energy and encouragement makes all the difference.”

“Being in isolation is tough but being connected to the group via the virtual yoga is a godsend. After the session you feel invigorated but calm and relaxed. It’s the highlight of the week.”

“Speaking to Sam helped me by keeping me positive. It’s good to talk, but also her calming positive attitude helped focus on being in the present. Knowing that they are always available to talk to is so important for my wellbeing”