HRH Duke of Cambridge lends support to Cambridge United’s ambitious new community strategy – Gameplan 2020

Cambridge United Community Trust received support from His Royal Highness Prince William the Duke of Cambridge as they launched Game Plan 2020, the Club’s new strategy for community work over the next three years.

Game Plan 2020 builds on Cambridge United Community Trust’s work to date and adds a further 12 programmes. The 30 initiatives across the areas of health, education and inclusion all aim to help create a fairer and more prosperous Cambridge for all.  It includes new projects in mental health, literacy and loneliness alongside deepening existing work in disability sports, science in schools and volunteering. Details of all projects can be read here.

In his foreword to the strategy document Game Plan 2020 HRH The Duke of Cambridge said:

“Cambridge United is a very close neighbour of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, where I was a pilot for two years, at the heart of a community to which I have a very strong personal connection. It is encouraging to see how active the Club is in the local area – from running lunch clubs for pensioners through to hosting disability football sessions for all groups. The Club’s new mental health programme for young people is particularly innovative and important.

“Cambridge United is the epitome of a good community-based Club. The ambition of the Cambridge United Community Trust, on behalf of the Club in the local community, is one that many other football clubs – big and small – could learn from across the Country. It is great to see Cambridge United raise this ambition further and look to build on their outstanding community work of recent years. By focusing even more help on those who need it most, the Trust will ensure thousands of local people can benefit from the positive power of football. Good luck with the important work.”

Tracey Crouch, Sports Minister, said “It is great to see Cambridge United using the power of sport to have such a positive impact in their local community. Their new strategy – Gameplan 2020 – will build on the great work of their Community Trust and am sure will be a big success. I am particularly pleased to see the Club starting a new mental health programme in schools next year. I know myself just how sport can make such a difference to a person’s mental well being.”

Martin Glenn, CEO of the Football Association, said: “The work of the Cambridge United Community Trust is a shining example of how a professional football club can be a true force for good in its local community. It is great to see the Trust extending the chance to play the game to every part of society – from people with different disabilities to senior citizens who still love to kick a ball. The Club is now setting out its new ambitions to do even more to tackle inequality and provide opportunity. Everyone at the FA wishes them every success with these exciting plans.”

Graham Daniels, Chair of Cambridge United Community Trust, said: “Everyone associated with Cambridge United is honoured that HRH The Duke of Cambridge has endorsed our community work in this way. We are proud to have such high level support for the important work of our Trust from Government and the Football Association. It is testament to the hard work and passion of all the staff and volunteers who have done so much to drive the Trust’s work since it was formed. The Trust has been an important symbol of the Club’s desire to become a genuine community club that uses the power of sport to help every part of Cambridge wherever we can, 7 days a week.

“Cambridge is a fantastic global city. It is world class in so many different ways. And we are proud that our Club is based here. It is also however a city which is home to some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country – many of whom live very close to our home at the Abbey Stadium. The Abbey Ward has, for example, the highest degree of child poverty in Cambridge.

“The social responsibility to do more for these groups and to help close the inequality gap falls at least in part to organisations such as Cambridge United through the Community Trust. We believe that Gameplan 2020 with its 30 programmes focused on the areas of health, education and inclusion can help create a fairer and more prosperous Cambridge for all.”

– Trust to increase number of community programmes to 30 to help all parts of the City

– Tracey Crouch, Sports Minister, and Martin Glenn, CEO of the FA, also endorse Trust’s work

Disability football project smashes targets

Thousands of people across the country with a wide range of disabilities have benefitted from the first year of the EFL Trusts’ Every Player Counts Disability Football programme.

The Every Player Counts programme started in September 2016 and supports the EFL Trust’s aim of increasing sports participation for all.

In its first year the programme got 3,634 unique participants involved in sport, many for the first time, exceeding its year one target by over 20%.

The landmark project was made possible thanks to a £1.1m donation from the Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST). The funding represented WNST’s largest single donation to date and its first England-wide grants programme.

Mike Evans, EFL Trust Director of Operations said: “The first year of the programme has been a tremendous success, giving thousands of people access to sport regardless of their background or abilities.

”The partnership with Wembley National Stadium Trust has enabled our network to reach even further into their communities and use the power of football to make a real difference to people’s lives. We are pleased that the success of year one means we can continue to reach more people in year two.”

The programme covers a wide range of disabilities with the simple aim of getting more people involved in sport. 25 EFL clubs run the Every Player Counts programmes that are tailored to the specific needs of their local community.

Stewart Goshawk, WNST Chief Executive added “We all understand the power that sport has to change lives for the better.  These opportunities to play football through “Every Player Counts” are having such a positive impact on the lives of so many disabled people, both young and old, right across the country.

“The chance to be involved in a project at their local professional football club is a great attraction for many of the participants and the quality of the programmes on offer are a testament to the excellent work undertaken by the club community trusts within their local neighbourhoods.  We look forward to Year 2 being just as successful.”

The 25 EFL Club Trusts 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.

Rhys Swift, a participant of Leeds United Foundation’s Every Player Counts sessions, is visually impaired and finds playing football with other visually impaired kids better for him as they share similar experiences.

His dad, David, said: ”Leeds United Foundation has been most helpful. Rhys has gained his confidence back and his love for plating football. Playing with other VI kids has really helped him as they share relatable experiences.

”As a parent I have seen how much these sessions have meant to Rhys, it is like he has found his element. Playing football is so important to him and Leeds United Foundation coaches have given him hope for the future.”

Although individual programmes will differ from club to club, the emphasis is always on increasing participation, improving health and championing the social benefits of taking part in football.   The over- riding aim of the scheme is to increase the amount of disabled people participating in football reaching out to over 3000 people per year, breaking down the barriers that have prevented them from doing so.

To find out more about Every Player Counts visit:

“It was an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience”

10 NCS graduates from EFL Trust’s network attended the Passchendaele commemoration event.

The event marked 100 years since the World War One ‘Battle of Passchendaele’, which led to an estimated 250,000 British and Commonwealth casualties. Our graduates involved were;

Max Barnett (Grimsby)
Edward Ross (Beverley) 
Michael Hoodless (Hull) 
Sarah Newsome (Barnsley)
Libby Smith (Doncaster)
Cheyenne Van Den Berg (Sheffield)
Emily Coulter (Huddersfield)
Annie Caddle (Portsmouth)
Marley Callway (Portsmouth) 
Aaron Metcalfe (Hartlepool)

They were part of 100 NCS grads that were invited by the DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) to attend the UK ceremony of remembrance in Belgium on the 30th and 31st July. The event was attended by over 4,000 people which included members of the Royal Family, Prince Charles, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) and Prime Minister Theresa May.

During the two days of commemoration, our grads took on important roles at the four main events; Menin Gate, Cloth Hall, Passchendaele Memorial Park and Tyne Cot Cemetery.

NCS graduate Edward, had the honour of passing the wreath over to the country’s ambassador, whilst graudates Cheyenne and Sarah had the opportunity of meeting and greeting the Prime Minister and William and Kate.

Max from Grimsby and Libby from Doncaster, had exciting roles escorting descendants and forming a guard of honour for the Royal Family. They also had time in front of the camera and other media duties such as interviews live on BBC News and BBC Radio Sheffield.

Max had his own family connection with the event after finding out that his Great, Great Grandma’s cousin, Earnest Cooper, died in the Battle of Passchendaele.

He said, “It’s been very warming to hear everyone’s story, I have my own story but it doesn’t compare to some of the people I have met.’”

Libby described her experience as unforgettable, “It was just an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience. It was so much better than I expected and I was unaware of how big the event really was, and how essential the role NCS graduates had to support the event.

“In my role over the weekend I was able to meet the royals and speak with the ministry of defence. We had the opportunity of visiting the front line and walking through no man’s land, which was spectacular. It’s something I will never forget.”

This fantastic experience was only available to NCS graduates. They were able to carry skills from their time on NCS and thereafter feel confident about representing their generation at such an important national event.

Michael Lynas, CEO of NCS Trust, said: “100 NCS graduates were honoured to serve our country at the Centenary of Passchendaele events. I am proud of how these young people represented their generation as they met descendants, the Royal Family and the Prime Minister.

“I know that these young NCS graduates will help ensure that the sacrifice of the fallen will be remembered for generations to come.”

To find out more about the National Citizen Service visit:

Blades over 50’s win the EFL Trust Walking Football Cup 2017

Sheffield United took the first trophy of the EFL season by winning the 2017 EFL Trust Walking Football Cup.  A stunning strike from Blades’ Paul Stacey saw Sheffield beat Kidderminster Harriers 1-0, in a pulsating final after a thrilling day of walking football.

In the impressive surroundings of Aston Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground, 12 teams from around the country came together to contest in the finals. To reach this stage, finalists had already won their local competition which was held by over 70 EFL and conference clubs.

The competition gives players the opportunity to represent their club, wearing official club colours in the regional finals, with the winners and runners up progressing to Saturday’s national finals.

Year after year, the competition is growing in stature with an increase in participation. Over 1,500 men and women from a record breaking 200 teams have taken part this year – a 17% increase from last year.

EFL Trust’s Walking Football Cup organiser Aiden Couch commented, “Walking Football has grown enormously over the last few years and we’ve had more men and women take part this year than ever before.

“ Once you get to 50 the opportunities to take part in competitive sport really decreases and so people tend to become inactive, which can create numerous health problems. The Walking Football Cup is one way EFL clubs and their community trusts are tackling this issue.

“A survey completed during last year’s competition showed that 82% of participants believe their physical health has improved by playing walking football, with 79% of those competing in last year’s competition saying their level of exercise has increased.”

The closely fought group stages

Reigning champions Blackpool looked on course to retain their title going unbeaten through the group stages and topping group two.  Behind them the contest for second spot and a place in the semi-final was wide open with Colchester, Notts County, Luton Town and Cheltenham separated by just one point going into the final group game.  Colchester’s fifth draw of the day against Bradford saw them finish the tournament unbeaten on five points but out of contention.  With Cheltenham playing Blackpool and County and Luton playing each other, a win for any team would put them in pole position.  With both games finishing 0-0, it was Luton who progressed on goal difference by just one goal.

Group One was just as close; eventual winners Sheffield United got off to a slow start losing to 2015 champions Plymouth Argyle.  Whilst the Blades went from strength to strength that proved to be the Green Army’s only win. Going into the last round of group fixtures Blackburn Rovers, Dagenham and Redbridge, Sheffield United and Kidderminster Harriers could all qualify for the semi-finals – with intriguingly Blackburn playing Kidderminster and Sheffield United playing the Daggers.  The Blades quickly went into a 2-0 lead whilst the Rovers, Kidderminster game was incredibly tight and could have gone either way. Eventually the game finished 1-1 which meant the Harriers edged out Rovers by just a point.

Semi Final Drama

Sheffield United faced Luton in the semi-final and this time more clinical finishing saw them take a 2-0 win. The other semi-final between Kidderminster and reigning champions Blackpool proved to be dramatic. After a cagey game finished 0-0, it opened up in extra time with Blackpool creating a string of chances, which the Harriers gallantly defended to set up a suspenseful penalty shoot out. Amazingly, the first 14 penalties were all converted before the Kidderminster keeper pulled off a brave save – only for the Blackpool stopper to cancel out the advantage with a spectacular save.  The champions’ reign ended however, in the next round of penalties when Kidderminster cooly slotted home to take them to the final.

Legends raise awareness of prostate cancer

Before the final, a team of Aston Villa legends including Ian Taylor, Shaun Teale and Bryan Small took on a PCUK (Prostate Cancer UK) team featuring former Stoke, Notts County and Southend striker Dave Regis. Although the Villa team ran out 3-1 winners, the game proved a vital opportunity to raise awareness of prostate cancer which is a key issue for men aged over 50.

The Blades Victorious

The eagerly anticipated 2017 Walking Football Final between Sheffield United and Kidderminster Harriers was incredibly close, with hardly anything to chose between them having previously drawn 0-0 in the group stages. It was Paul Stacey’s stunning strike that separated the teams in the end and sealed victory on the day for Sheffield United.

Regional Checkatrade Community Clubs of the Year announced

The EFL is delighted to announce that six member clubs are to be recognised at Parliament for their outstanding work in the community.

The six regional winners – Wigan Athletic, Rotherham United, Burton Albion, Fulham, Brighton & Hove Albion and Portsmouth – will be honoured on Monday 6th March at Parliament as the best performing club community trusts in the UK, with EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey, Communities Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth and event sponsor Andrew Griffiths MP all confirmed to speak at the event.

The clubs were recognised for positive work in areas such as education, community engagement, health and inclusion. The six clubs will be put forward for the 2017 Checkatrade Community Club Year Award, which will be announced on Sunday 9th April in central London at the 2017 EFL Awards.

Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive, said: “The announcement of the Regional Award winners, provides a fitting tribute to the work that takes place to transform local communities through the power of football.

“All clubs, not just the winners, work tirelessly to connect with local supporters and I am delighted to see such innovative and effective ideas recognised in this way.”

The EFL received numerous strong applications and clubs were marked on their education, health, community engagement, sports, impact and showcase projects.

The six regional winners were selected by an independent judging panel including The Times’ Chief Football Writer Henry Winter, Football Policy Advisor at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Sam Haylen, Director of CSR at The PFA John Hudson and Sport England’s Strategic Lead for Relationships, Greg Clements.

EFL Trust Director of Operations, Mike Evans, praised the fantastic work completed by all six clubs via the work of their community trusts. He said: “Without question this was the strongest year we have ever had in terms of quality of Community Club of the Year applications, giving the judging panel some really tough decisions.

“All of our club trusts should be rightly proud of their efforts, and for the six selected clubs it’s a tremendous honour to be recognised by Parliament and to be showcased in the House of Commons.

“They are deserving winners and great ambassadors for the work of all EFL clubs in their communities across the country.”

For more information regarding the 2017 EFL Awards, visit the website by clicking here.

England manager opens £1M facility at Burton Albion Community Trust

Burton Albion Community Trust’s (BACT’s) new floodlit all-weather pitch was officially unveiled by England Senior Manager Gareth Southgate today. 

The new facility was made possible thanks to a £843,510 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

BACT worked alongside the Football Foundation and Staffordshire FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision of how sport will be played at the new facility.

As set out in this FDP, BACT will raise multisport participation through its Health and Wellbeing, Education and Learning, School Sport, and Inclusive Sports and Football Development departments, which aim to get more people physically active through a number of different sports.

BACT’s mission statement as with all 72 EFL community trusts is to use the power of sport and the brand of the football club to make a difference in the community.

Gareth Southgate, the former England defender, who has been an Ambassador for the Football Foundation since 2005, was also given a tour of the new changing room pavilion and clubhouse, which is expected to be completed before Easter.

The new state-of-the-art football hub, which replaces a previously undeveloped area of the Brewers’ Pirelli Stadium, will house a huge range of sporting, educational and community programmes delivered by Burton Albion Community Trust.

A number of local grassroots clubs will also call the new pitch ‘home’, with Stretton Eagles FC, Outwoods FC and Burton Ladies helping to contribute to the projected 127 new teams who will be using the new pitch over five years.

DEIH20170214A-020_C.JPG Picture: Ian Hodgkinson England manager Gareth Southgate has formally opening the new BACT community pitch at the Pirelli stadium

England Manager and Football Foundation Ambassador, Gareth Southgate, said: “Throughout my career I’ve always been a big supporter of the grassroots game, and state-of-the-art facilities like this one are its lifeblood. Floodlit all-weather pitches allow football to be played all-year-round, irrespective of the weather. This means more people, more often, taking part in the sport.

“As a professional, I have been lucky enough to train, play and coach on some of the best facilities in the country. I believe that those who train, play or coach at the grassroots level should be afforded the same experience. That means building facilities like this one right across the country, something the Football Foundation continues to do, expertly.

“The Small Sided Game, which was helped by a £1.5m commitment delivered by the Football Foundation, was something I helped to drive when I was The FA’s Head of Elite Development. That scheme, which I’m delighted to see being catered for here, allows younger players to play on smaller pitches, with smaller goals. It is designed to develop an individual’s skills, rather than reward children based on their physical strength.

“It makes a massive difference in driving up participation in our national game. And ultimately all future England players – whether it is the women’s teams, disability teams, youth teams or indeed in the senior men’s team – all of them will start out and develop their skills in the grassroots game, and on grassroots facilities. So whether for pure enjoyment or for supporting the development of home-grown talent, the more of these fantastic sites we see built, the better.”

BACT Chief Executive, Andy Taylor, said: “This facility has only been made possible by the commitment and hard work of all our partners – starting with Burton Albion Football Club for allowing the development of this important new community facility at the Pirelli Stadium.

“As well as the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund providing the major funding we also need to thank all of our local funders who have helped make this happen.

To find out more about Burton Albion Community Trust visit –

Girls enjoy an action packed day with Wigan Athletic

As a prize for winning Wigan Athletic’s  Girls Cup competition, year eight pupils from Golborne High School visited the club’s training ground on Tuesday to meet the first team players and enjoyed a training session with Latics academy coach Jay Cochrane at Wigan Youth Zone.


The pupils will represent Wigan Athletic at the Area Finals of the Kinder + Sport EFL Girls Cup tomorrow, a national tournament for junior footballers which offers children a once in a lifetime opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium before the Checkatrade Trophy.

Golborne High School were victorious against Hawkley Hall in the 18 team local competition at Wigan Soccerdome at the start of November, and they will now travel to Preston North End’s Community Training Centre, Play Football, for the next stage of the competition tomorrow.

The Kinder + Sport EFL Girls Cup is a six a side competition for U13 girls which culminates in a grand final prior to the EFL Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium in March. Each of the 72 EFL clubs organise a local competition for all schools in their area, with the winners of that competition going on to represent the club in the Area, Regional and National phases of the competition.


John Woods, P.E Teacher at Golborne High School, said: “The girls and ourselves as staff had a fantastic time with Wigan Athletic. The visit to the training ground was a brilliant insight into the daily routine of a footballer while the training session with Jay was great preparation for the girls as they managed to improve on a few things ahead of Thursday’s competition.

He added: “We really appreciate everything the club do for us. We’ve got a fantastic link with Wigan Athletic Community Trust, and it’s not all just about football because we’ve got coaches coming in to do sports such as badminton and basketball as well, so it’s a really fabulous relationship.”

The girls, who were the first school to visit Latics’ new training centre in Euxton, met the club’s first team players who signed autographs before their training session.



Steph Greensill, Girls Football Officer for Wigan Athletic Community Trust, said: “We know Golborne will represent the club well in the area finals, and we hope they can continue their run for form into the next stage.

She added: “We deliver 12 sessions of girls’ football a week, and have seen a significant rise in the number of females who attend. Tournaments such as the Kinder + Sport EFL Girls Cup help to get more girls involved in the game and are a great way for them to showcase their talents on national level.”

For more information about girls’ football sessions, which are supported by the Premier League, please contact Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Girls Football Officer Steph Greensill on


Crawley Old Girls pick up prestigious FA award

Crawley COGS picked up one of the main awards at the FA Women’s Football Awards at Wembley Stadium last week 

Attended by a host of important figures from the women’s game, the evening included a range of awards from Vauxhall England Player of the Year to WSL Player’s Player and Manager of the Year.

The awards also recognised work away from the elite level, with the Contribution to Women’s Football and the #WeCanPlay Grassroots Participation Awards.

ffd post pic 2The #WeCanPlay campaign was developed to help girls realise that football is a sport for them, and to recognise the success of grassroots football development programmes.

Crawley COGS (Crawley Old Girls), is weekly session for ladies aged 40 and over organised by Crawley Town’s Community Foundation.

Carol Bates, who has been an influential figure in the success of the COGS programme, said: “I was incredibly proud to be able to receive the FA’s “We Can Play” Participation Award, with Amy Fazackerley and Marcus Doyle from the club’s Community Foundation, on behalf of the Crawley Old Girls.

“It was an absolute privilege to be in the company of some of the most influential women in English football, including some of the England team who were very interested in the Crawley Old Girls and what we do.

“To be given the award by FA Chairman Greg Clarke shows how far we have come since our first session, with ten ladies, in April 2015. The focus on the “generation that football missed” has led to over 40 women being registered for our Thursday sessions and as it’s been so popular that the Community Foundation have obtained funding to enable a beginners session to be set up, for ladies who want to learn to play football.

“This new session has also been a great success in bringing in more ladies and the knock-on effect, as well as hard work from everyone involved to spread the word, has led to other EFL clubs taking on sessions for “old girls” and a first ever over-30s tournament was held by the EFL Trust last July.

“Not only are the COGS sessions coaching ladies to play, they are also giving them self-confidence, health benefits and increased fitness, which they might not have otherwise had. There are hundreds of thousands of women up and down the country who, I’m sure, would love the chance to learn to play football for fun and we would love to help set up more sessions, as there are so many benefits for ‘old girls!’ It’s great fun and size, shape, ability and age are no barrier, so it’s a win, win situation.”

As well as collecting their trophy at Wembley, the COGS will receive a visit from an England women’s international, as well as a session from a member of the England coaching set-up.

Well done ladies!



THE joy of being active and all the benefits it can bring is certainly not exclusive to the young. Plymouth Argyle Community Trust run a number of programmes that cater for people of all ages and abilities, helping their community to be active, be healthy and be happy.

The Extra Time sessions run every Monday with a dedicated group of Pilgrims aged over 55 who join us at Home Park for an afternoon of Kurling in the Tribute Lounge, which overlooks the hallowed pitch at PL2.

Roger Smith is 77 years-old and attends Extra Time with his wife Heather, enjoying the social side of gentle competition with their peers and using his beloved football club as a motivation to stay active.

“I’m a lifelong Argyle fan and I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of helping out on match-days at Home Park,” said Roger. “I played amateur football as a younger man and also managed teams in local leagues, so being active has been part of my life.

“My wife loves the Extra Time sessions as well and we both enjoy an afternoon here at the club. I’ve had a heart bypass operation in the past and that forces you to learn new things, explore different exercises and I’ve even invested in an exercise bike.

“It’s just nice to have a day out, spend time with people and also some friendly competition. It’s particularly special for me to attend a healthy programme at my hometown football club.”

For more information on Extra Time, please contact our health and disability officer Josh Grant on or call 01752 562561 ext.4


 EFL Trust and Wembley National Stadium Trust announce Every Player Counts project

Disability football in England has received a major boost following the announcement of Every Player Counts, a new £1.1m project from the EFL Trust that aims to attract almost 10,000 new participants into the sport. Read more