Month-Long Ramadan Celebrations Taking Place At Deepdale

Preston North End will be celebrating the month of Ramadan by providing free fresh fruit, water and dates for those who are fasting, with a gazebo to be stationed at Deepdale each evening throughout the holy month of Islamic celebrations.

Preston North End Community and Education Trust will be working in partnership with Preston United, Preston City Council, Deepdale councillors Zafar Coupland, Siraz Natha and Ismail Bax, Lancashire County Councillor Frank de Molfetta, KGN Food Store, and the Community Gateway Association to deliver the project.

A gazebo, which will allow those who are fasting to access free, culturally appropriate goods, will operate outside the community offices on Alan Kelly Walk at Deepdale. There will be an additional stall in the Deepdale area at the junction between Holmrook Road and Castleton Road – across from the MOT garage.

Members of the community will be able to access goods from 6pm to 7.30pm every evening from Tuesday 12th April until Friday 7th May, allowing them to open their nightly fast with culturally appropriate foods. The fast of Ramadan typically sees Muslims abstaining from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset every day throughout the holy month. Members of staff from each organisation will be on site at the stalls each evening too, and will be able to signpost those who access the stall to relevant organisations and support services if required.

All Covid-19 protocols will be strictly followed to ensure that the stall can be accessed safely by all members of the community and staff amid the ongoing pandemic.

Head of Community Engagement Rebecca Robertson said:

“We have been working closely with Preston United, our local councillors and the Community Gateway Association on several projects in recent months, and we are pleased to be continuing that partnership to mark the month of Ramadan. We have an ethnically diverse community surrounding Deepdale, which includes a significant number of people of a Muslim faith who live in the immediate vicinity of our stadium.

“Ramadan is an incredibly important time for the Islamic community and we hope that by providing fresh water, fruit and dates, we can support those celebrating Ramadan through the challenges of fasting. We’re thankful to KGN Food Store for their support in helping us to source the culturally appropriate foods for the benefit of the wider community. Some of our non-Muslim staff members will also be taking part in the fast over this period of time to show our support and acknowledgment of this important month. Our staff members will be sharing their experiences of fasting on social media, where we will also be sharing educational resources around Ramadan. We’re looking forward to engaging with our local community throughout the month of Ramadan and welcoming people to Preston North End in a safe capacity to support them as they fast.”

Omar Khan of Preston United explained the importance of Ramadan and why those of an Islamic faith fast throughout the holy month. He said,

“This Ramadan will be a continuation of the projects that we’ve been running with Preston North End in partnership with the Community and Education Trust. This year, we are celebrating the beginning of Ramadan by providing Iftar packs, which is food to open the fast. “Preston North End, working alongside Community Gateway, Preston United and local councillors Coupland, Bax and Natha, have come together to put food packs together and get funding to secure food packs for everybody in Deepdale. We will have three stations in Deepdale where people can come, take some food, and talk to the PNE staff. It’s an expansion of what the Trust is trying to do, to get out in the community and understand its community.

“Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and is a time to reflect on how we lead our daily lives. It’s a very spiritual time. We fast on average 16-and-a-half hours each day, from sunrise to sunset. It’s a great time for us as individuals to reconnect with God and it is also a celebration of love and harmony within the community. It is also the month where the holy book, the Qur’an, was revealed to our Prophet Muhammad by God.”

For more information, please email

NCS Graduate, Josh, awarded for his work in the community

Josh Newbold, 17, from Rotherham has been awarded The High Sheriff Award after being recognised by The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit for his work in the community whilst on NCS (National Citizen Service) with Rotherham United Community Sports Trust (RUCST). Read more

Megan Rooney finds her confidence whilst helping her community on NCS

The traditional NCS programme in summer 2020 was replaced with ‘Keep Doing Good’ giving young people the opportunity to be at the forefront of the response to the pandemic supporting their local community and the people within it. Whilst doing so, young people on NCS developed a number of important life changing skills.

This was the case for Megan Rooney who took part in Bradford City Community Trust’s NCS programme. Before NCS, although having a bubbly personality, Megan was very quiet and shy but this was all due to change. Megan signed up to NCS hoping to make a difference in her community during the pandemic but was unaware of the impact the programme would have on herself.

Whilst a little nervous, Megan was excited by the opportunity to meet new people and take part in activities she had never done before. Due to lockdown restrictions, part of the programme took place online which Megan found challenging at first, not speaking on camera preferring to type in the chat. Her confidence began to increase though during her first week when she took part with other teens in online activities around business enterprise, mental health and discovering more about Bradford.

Megan said:

NCS helped me to become more confident when working within a group and with people that I did not know. Having the opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone helped as I would not have done any of these things without NCS.

Once restrictions had been lifted, her group were able to start planning their social action project and the team were keen to celebrate the City of Bradford; the different cultures, landmarks and play homage to the Key Workers. The team created mural which now features in key locations around the city including Valley Parade and Bradford’s train station. Megan was part of a design team for a mural which allowed her to come out of her shell and improve her confidence. Recognising how far Megan had come Bradford City awarded Megan with the ‘Most Improved Confidence Award’.

Megan is part of a network of 600,000 teenagers aged 16-17 that have done NCS.  The opportunity to do NCS this Summer is now available.


Demi Tackles Loneliness whilst on NCS

Demi, 17, from Doncaster was one of thousands of teens in Yorkshire and Humber to take part in NCS during the pandemic.

COVID-19 has impacted all ages, non-more so than Young People and before starting the NCS programme Demi admitted that she felt mentally drained and had lost track of where she was on her life journey. When the opportunity of doing NCS with Club Doncaster Foundation came along she was desperate to get involved; not only to set her mind at something but to help people in her local community that had been affected by the pandemic.

Demi would describe herself as outgoing but the thought of meeting new people during the pandemic was daunting and made her anxious. She was however really looking forward to connecting with people once again and building her confidence back up. All this was made easy by Club Doncaster Foundation who put on a number of activities such as mental health awareness and the challenges surrounding mental health in Doncaster, Befriending training, and learning more about her local community and volunteering opportunities available.

Demi and her group put the befriending training into practice on their social action project as they all took time to ring elderly people in Doncaster as part of EFL Trust’s ‘Tackling Loneliness Together’ initiative.
Demi continues to be part of NCS as part of Club Doncaster’s Local Action Group. She said: “NCS has taught me a lot of skills and helped with my confidence, I have really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to anyone considering it!”

Demi’s Mother said:

“We saw Demi grow day by day during the programme, it was a real pleasure to see her putting her name forward to come on this programme. The amount of effort and hard-work she has put in shows that the young people of today really care about looking after the world and their future.”
Demi’s mother

To read more on the NCS programme visit –

Adrian Tallon: This year has impacted the opportunities and aspirations of our nation’s young people

After such an ‘unprecedented’ year that has impacted the opportunities and aspirations of our nation’s young people, the roadmap out of lockdown was welcome news…with the end of the restrictions hopefully now in sight.

The good news of a ‘way out’ has been offset by some stark data that has been released recently showing that young people are still faring worst, and facing a slow recovery.  With this in mind, it has been great to see the appetite of our network of Club Community Organisations (CCOs) to take this challenge on by offering Kickstart and Traineeship opportunities – key elements of the Government’s ‘Plan For Jobs’ – along with the CCOs offer of study programmes, apprenticeships and Higher Education.

This month’s report by Youth Futures Foundation found that young people have been particularly hard hit by a slowdown in hiring since last year.  The rollout of the Kickstart Scheme, which funds job placements for 16-24 year olds for 6 months, will help combat this issue and EFL Trust are working with over 70 Football Club Community Organisations to offer 650 funded placements across England and Wales through the Scheme.  Earlier this month, we ran workshops with our network of Kickstart employers, and it was great to hear the wide range of roles that are being planned for young people across the Football Clubs and the Community Organisations, including within the media and marketing teams, academy operations, community coaching, grounds keeping, youth work, and much more. Our first Kickstart placements are up and running and already we are hearing about how well-supported the young people feel, and how excited they are for the six months ahead.

To underline our commitment to supporting youth employment, the EFL Trust are proud to have signed the Good Youth Employment Charter; a pledge that we will follow the principles of good youth employment, including providing opportunities and developing talent, and we urge all of our partners on the Kickstart Scheme to do the same. A special mention to Sheffield Wednesday Community Programme for being the first to do so…

While there are some great opportunities for young people closer to the job market, it’s vital that those who were not engaged in education or employment before the pandemic hit are not left further behind due to the growth in youth unemployment numbers. Last week we were delighted to announce our Youth Futures Foundation funded ‘EFL Trust – Training Ground’ programme, which will support these young people to overcome the barriers they are facing, through a programme developing their physical activity, mental health awareness and resilience, and building the skills that they will ultimately need in order to move into good quality, sustained employment or further education.

February’s Labour Market Statistics briefing note from IES identified growth in employment in the Health and Care sector, and the EFL Trust have been working closely with NHS Employers and a number of individual NHS Trusts to create employability programmes focussed towards roles where there will be vacancies, preparing young people to work in the sector. Although in its infancy, this partnership work has the potential to be really powerful, with the EFL Trust and its partner Club Community Organisation engaging with stakeholders across the community to recruit participants on to an employability programme with jobs in mind. With programme delivery launching in March and April, I’m looking forward to seeing some impactful provision and powerful individual success stories.

While the challenges are clear to see, we are grateful to partner organisations that are supporting our plans over the coming months, including DWP and Youth Futures Foundation and most of all to the delivery staff within Education & Employability departments at our CCOs who are going to be delivering these programmes at as high a quality as ever.

We believe, more than ever, that our network have a key role to play in the ‘roadmap’ back to normal – remember that? – and tackling the youth unemployment challenge head-on is first on our list.


The English Football League (EFL) has delivered its one millionth food parcel as part of its ongoing community work supporting those in need during the global pandemic.  

A year to the day since football was forced to stop during the first national lockdown, the delivery of the one millionth food parcel is testament that football never went away, with all 72 EFL Clubs continuing to provide community outreach schemes over the last 12 months.  Nottingham Forest Football Club’s First-Team player, Ryan Yates, made the delivery to a local resident who has been relying on food parcel donations throughout the pandemic. The initiative is part of the EFL’s community response work to help some of the most vulnerable people in communities up and down the country since the outbreak of COVID-19. EFL players and staff are among those who have donated food and everyday essentials which have been packed and distributed to families facing food poverty or unable to leave their homes while shielding from Coronavirus. With fans absent from stadiums, vacant concourses have been used to store food donations while closed catering facilities re-opened to prepare hot meals and sandwiches to deliver to local disadvantaged people.

Nottingham Forest Community Trust, the charitable arm of Nottingham Forest FC, is one of many EFL Clubs working alongside local authorities and food charities to ensure that no one goes hungry in these difficult times. Speaking about making the one millionth food parcel delivery,

Ryan Yates of Nottingham Forest delivers the one millionth EFL food parcel to Sandie Gee – Husbands.

Ryan Yates said:

“It’s been a tough year for all of us, especially being separated from loved ones, but made harder for people struggling to put food on their table. At Nottingham Forest, we’ve been doing so much to help those in need – players and staff have been rolling up their sleeves and doing their bit in any way they can. It’s an inspiration to meet everyone today and deliver the one millionth food parcel on behalf of all of the Clubs in the EFL.”

Over 36.6million people live within a 10 mile radius of an EFL Club – a radius that encompasses one in four people falling in to the most deprived population. EFL’s community work has never been more important with already deprived communities now facing additional issues brought on by the pandemic.

EFL Chair, Rick Parry, said:

“One year ago this week, stadiums around the country shut down, signalling the start of an unprecedented year for the game – but off the pitch football has never gone away. Despite facing significant financial challenges in an uncertain economic landscape, all 72 EFL Clubs and Club Community Organisations stepped up to help frontline services without hesitation. I congratulate each and every one of them for the resilience and determination they have demonstrated by continuing to deliver vital community work – this has provided a lifeline for so many during the challenges of the last 12 months.”

EFL’s community response to COVID-19 – Key Numbers:  

  • Delivered one million food parcels, sandwiches and hot meals
  • Delivered over 179,000 items of PPE
  • Delivered more than 22,000 prescriptions
  • Had in excess of 526,000 outgoing and incoming conversations with fans and vulnerable people
  • Stadia is being used as mass vaccination and testing sites to support the NHS
  • Providing over 600 job opportunities for young unemployed people through the Kickstart programme
  • The EFL is spreading awareness about mental health support and provision through its On Your Side charity partnership with Mind


A group of  students studying our USW Foundation degree with Wolverhampton Wanderers have been part of the big team effort in supporting the Clubs Feed Our Pack initiative to try and help alleviate food poverty in their city.

Jeevan Kang, Richard Lewis, Taylor Sankey, Sofi Makarounas and Louis Guttridge spent a day during February half term as part of Feed Our Pack’s first major distribution of food parcels with over 1,500 meals delivered to families across the local community. The five students joined Foundation staff as well as Wolves captain Conor Coady and several Academy Under-18 players in what will prove valuable experience in studying for the degree in conjunction with the University of South Wales.

Jeevan Said

“As a student at Wolves Foundation I had the opportunity to join in and get involved and it was a really good experience. It was a really good day for a really good cause, helping children within the community who are struggling in terms of finance and food. I think as a human being the best thing you can do is give rather than take – the vulnerable need it more than we do. And it’s just that feeling you get again with giving, it’s just the best feeling you can have.”

Richard was equally positive about being able to do something to make a positive difference to the local community.

“I was brought up in Wolverhampton, and when I was at school this wasn’t around when my friends needed it, so being able to see that aspect is something I’m proud to be part of, We went out to deliver food parcels to the local children who are vulnerable and need it more during this time than they ever would with their parents not being able to get to work as much. Despite going through these troubled times, we’re still able to get some experience. With the Feed Our Pack project, going out and helping out the local community, is still giving us that aspect of learning and how things are run behind the scenes.”

Bradley Moore, Education Officer and course mentor at Wolves Foundation, was delighted that the students were able to play their part in such an important project.

“It was great to see the degree students so keen to help with Feed Our Pack and they were all a credit both to themselves and the course. The degree course is based around blended learning which means the lectures that would normally take place at Molineux are balanced with going out and gaining experience at the same time. That experience might include coaching, taking PE sessions at schools, learning sports management skills, or making a major contribution to other Foundation projects just like Feed Our Pack. It is almost like picking up three years of work experience at the same time of learning via lectures, and as a result the employability rate is really good for students to go into different jobs within football or sport education after they graduate.”

The degree in Football Coaching, Development and Administration is run in partnership with the EFL Trust and the University of South Wales, with large parts of the students’ timetables based at Molineux, along with work placements within the Foundation.

Jeevan adds

“This degree has a really good track record of getting people into full time roles within football and the sporting industry, And studying at Wolves is the best thing you could possibly think of. “You are studying the thing you love, which is football, but it is at a professional football club. So you know that you’re going to get the best support possible and you’re going to interact with the best coaches possible too. And the good thing about this course is, it’s not just straight on lectures and studying. “It’s basically three years of work experience which will really help you further progress into your career.”

Richard admits that even with certain restrictions in place because of the pandemic, the degree has functioned excellently and given students plenty of learning opportunities.

“It was quite worrying at the start, thinking that we would only be doing our lectures. But we have been able to get out there and challenge ourselves as students to see that we can go out and do good things in the community and show how we are as people and what we can do. That’s what makes this course stand out is the fact we can get a huge amount of experience by being part of the club!”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Foundation’s degree course can register an interest by clicking here to complete and submitting an Expression of Interest form.









A Four Generation Game – For Bristol City Ladies

Four generations of women from one family are getting involved in football, thanks to Bristol City Robins Foundation’s innovative ‘F3’ project.

A lack of opportunity for girls to get involved in football was identified by three teenage members of the Robins Foundation’s Youth Council – a body of eight young people who use their in-depth knowledge of the local community to help shape the Foundation’s delivery. Youth Councilors, Lauren, Grace and Mel, came up with the idea of starting free football sessions specifically designed for women and girls, as a means to make the beautiful game more accessible to females. The trio wanted to ensure that the project was accessible to all and therefore setup three separate age specific sessions for females to attend, all of which take place simultaneously at the same venue.

The project has had a particular impact on one family with four generations of women – that’s daughter, mother, grandmother and great grandmother! – all regularly in attendance at the weekly sessions.

Ruby-Lee, the youngest of the four generations at 14 years old, was the first to start attending Free Female Fitness sessions (otherwise known as F3) four years ago. Ruby-Lee was one of the first participants to attend and has since flourished as a footballer, becoming more confident in not only her ability as a player but also in herself as an individual. She now not only takes part in the weekly sessions, but also plays for local girls’ team Stockwood Wanderers.

Word spread of the F3 project from Ruby-Lee to her mother, Alena, and grandmother, Mandy, and with some encouragement from Ruby Lee, three generations of the family all began taking part in the weekly sessions.

However, it did not stop there, as word further spread to Ruby-Lee’s grandmother, Diane, who also began attending the sessions some fifty years since having last played football.

Former Youth Councilor and current F3 coach, Grace Phillips, said,

“It’s great to see so many women and girls coming along to our sessions and getting involved, but to have four generations of one family all in attendance, really is something special. It exemplifies that football is a game for all. A lot of the girls use our sessions as a springboard to go on and get stuck into grassroots football, with many following Ruby-Lee’s example and joining local sides. This is great for the sport as a whole.”

Alena commented,

“I am really enjoying the sessions and am seeing improvements in both my fitness and health. Since starting F3, I have lost more than two and a half stone. “I am now also bringing my friends along to the sessions as well as my mum and gran.”

Diane, the eldest of the four generations, commented,

“it’s really nice to be getting active and playing sports again that I haven’t played for many years.“I’d say to anyone who is thinking of coming along, or to their grandparents, just come and enjoy yourselves.”

F3 has since been recognised on a national level with the project winning the FA Women’s Football Award for Best Participation Initiative.

Lioness skipper pays tribute to Foundation of Light

Steph Houghton thanks Sunderland AFC’s official charity in role they played to kickstart her career.

Steph Houghton became a household name following her exploits in the 2012 Olympics, scoring three goals in Great Britain’s four games. However, the England skipper was already familiar to thousands across the north east, especially those in Sunderland, who had followed her progress with great interest after she kickstarted her career with her hometown club.

Steph joined a Foundation of Light soccer course during her school holidays and was spotted by a coach from Sunderland AFC and invited for a trial.

“It was during the Easter break,” Steph remembers. “I was scouted and joined the Centre of Excellence, where I was lucky enough to play for my hometown club.”

Steph, who now captains Manchester City and has 121 international caps to her name, credits SAFC’s official charity with many of the successes in her career and she’s quick to pay tribute to the career pathway that the Foundation programmes offer.

“The Foundation have played a huge part in everything have done in my career. They allowed me to learn the fundamentals of football, whether that was technical or tactical, but also the importance of having to work hard every day,” she added. “I’ve so many great memories of my time working with the Foundation and the coaches, I used to get so excited for Monday night training at the Raich Carter Centre or Downhill.

“I was so proud to be representing SAFC in tournaments against all the other teams in the country and testing myself against the best in the country. My biggest memory was being put forward to go on a trial for England.”

Steph is now familiar to millions, not just on the pitch but off it too, for her work with charitable organisations, but the 32-year-old remains humble and still keeps a close eye on what’s happening on Wearside, with the Foundation of Light recently announcing that they would be introducing a Women’s Scholarship team.

“I think it’s amazing that girls’ football has grown so much in the last decade. The fact that female scholarship programmes are over-subscribed only bodes well for the future of the game and also for Sunderland itself as a club!”

“The north east has always been passionate about football, to have so many players who I had grown up with, who had played for Sunderland competing in the 2019 World Cup was such an experience and such a proud moment for me, but no doubt the club and coaches too.”

Burton Albion’s Impact In in the Community is Worth Millions

BURTON Albion Community Trust’s impact on the wellbeing of the people of East Staffordshire has never been more needed and an impact study has shown that when it really mattered the charity was there to help.

In any normal year, BACT’s reach into the community, its ability to help and motivate people and its position at the heart of the community is always there to be seen. But add in a pandemic that has had a serious impact on people’s physical and mental health, finances and employment prospects and that help was needed more than ever. Now, the evidence of an independent impact report has showcased all the good work BACT does. As well as supporting the NHS with the Pirelli Stadium acting as a vaccination centre, BACT has notched up more than 1,000 volunteer hours, delivered 4,147 care and activity packs, 752 emergency food parcels and even 23 weekly dog walks.That’s all in addition to BACT’s normal programmes, which reached 6,781 participants in 2019/20, including 4,603 schoolchildren. During the same period BACT’s direct economic impact was measured at £2.6m, £842,000 of which was through employment.

The numbers matter, but it’s the benefits felt by the participants that is BACT’s real reward. Whether that’s physical or mental wellbeing, individual or community development, BACT has delivered.

Head of Community Matt Hancock said: “Back in September 2019, we were excited about what we were going to achieve in the final year of our Inspiring our Communities strategy. The year started brilliantly, and you will see throughout the impact report the difference we have made largely thanks to the efforts of our fantastic staff.

“I am always proud of being involved in Burton Albion Community Trust but from March 2020 onwards I have never been prouder of our achievements. The Board of Trustees, led by John Jackson, and Chairman of the Football Club, Ben Robinson, have completely embedded Burton Albion into the community response when our communities really needed us.

“The pandemic has caused much distress, upset and pain for so many people across our communities but the way both BACT and Burton Albion FC responded from day one has made a huge difference to lives across East Staffordshire and the surrounding areas.”

BACT’S Chairman John Jackson is delighted that the impact report shows just how important the charity is to the area.

He said: It is with great pride we are able to evidence through this report that, despite the devastating impact of Covid-19, we are making a difference in our communities. This report is external evidence that our programmes do change lives and although many programmes were adapted to respond to the rapidly changing circumstances, we have maintained a focus of high quality throughout.”

The report was compiled by EventID Sports Consulting Ltd on behalf of Burton Albion Community Trust. Read the full report here