It was an afternoon to remember for a group of Wigan Youngsters at Standish High School on Thursday as Latic’s first team stars Antonee Robinson and Callum Connolly made a surprise visit to the Community Trust’s summer soccer school.

The pair, who joined Wigan Athletic on season-long-loan deals from Everton earlier this month, helped to improve the football skills of over 60 youngsters on what was an unforgettable day for some of the club’s junior supporters.

For Callum, who scored for Latics in last weekend’s game against Aston Villa and was a member of England’s Under 20′ World Cup winning squad, it was his second community appearance for the club having visited Orrell Holgate Primary School with Will Grigg two seasons ago, while Antonee was making his first in Latics colours.

Speaking at the event, USA international Antonee, said: “It was a real good laugh and the kids were so enthusiastic to meet us. We had lots of fun and it was amazing to be able to take some time out of our day to make their day.

He added: “I’ve had a fantastic welcome from the Wigan supporters since I’ve joined the club, and to meet so many young fans at the soccer school was really good.”

EFL Clubs across the country have been running soccer schools and sports camps throughout the summer, take place in a friendly environment, ideal for boys and girls aged 6-14 years old to develop their skills and make new friends

To book a place on any of the Community Trust’s soccer schools or dance camps, please complete the online booking system by clicking here.

Jay’s story: “I can’t thank Brentford FC Community Sports Trust enough for the support and career pathway they have given me.”

Jay Reza, Finance Officer for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, believes the support he has received from the Bees has been crucial in helping him to overcome depression and discover a new sporting passion in cycling.

After finishing College at 18 and due to his interest in football, Jay decided to do an apprenticeship with the Trust, with his preference being to gain real life work experience while studying.

It would be a move that would prove life-changing for the 22-year-old.

He said: “It was fantastic doing the apprenticeship as it gave me the opportunity to specialise in my dream job in finance while also dipping my toes into other areas such as media and marketing.”

Through training provided by the Trust, he became a qualified AAT Accountant and was offered a full-time position as Finance Officer.

“From day one the staff at Brentford have given me the freedom to express myself and a platform to move up the career ladder.

“This is my first full-time job and I’m really enjoying it, particularly the fundraising part and helping young people to work within a safe and comfortable environment.”

Despite his stellar achievements, it hasn’t always been a smooth journey for Jay having suffered with depression.

Discussing his experience of the illness, he said: “Depression was nothing to do with my job, it was something that just happened at the time.

“I didn’t really understand what was going on. It was just a sinking feeling where I felt trapped and as if I was going in a downward spiral.”

According to Mind, the EFL’s new official charity partner, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, with Jay describing the support offered to him by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust as vital in helping him to get back on his feet.

“My line manager Jacky noticed that I seemed different to my usual self and spoke to me about it, she encouraged me to see a doctor.

“The staff were really understanding and gave me time to go to therapy regularly as well as managing the pressure on me during busier times at work.

“I’ll forever be grateful for the support they have given me. It helped me to understand what was going on and believe that it really does get better.”

Alongside staff and fans at Brentford Football Club, Jay will be taking part in Ride London this Sunday, one of the world’s leading cycling festivals.

It will be his fourth experience of the event, which he claims triggered a passion for the sport.

“After my first year of taking part in Ride London, I fell in love with cycling and it’s become a big hobby of mine ever since. Our CEO, Lee Doyle, helped ignite my passion for cycling and I want to thank him for that.

“The event is brilliant, you get to recreate the Olympic route from 2012 and the atmosphere is amazing. There’s thousands of people out of their houses supporting and cheering you on.”

Looking to the future, Jay hopes to develop his career with the Trust even further.

“I am hoping to get my Chartered Accountant qualification next, which would help to put me on the highest position I can be in accountancy.

“I always try and look towards the next goal. Brentford FC Community Sports Trust have been absolutely fantastic in supporting that.”

To support Jay and make a donation ahead of his Ride London event, visit:

To get involved with fundraising opportunities at Brentford FC Community Sports Trust please contact:

Blackpool FC Community Trust host first ‘Kicks on the beach’ event

Last month, local authorities and partners from across the Fylde peninsular came together to launch LOVEmyBEACH Active Coast; a programme that highlights the range of sports and activities taking place throughout the summer on the Fylde’s coastline.

The launch was also an opportunity to showcase the cleaner beaches and seas on the coast; all of which are rated Good or Excellent for water quality, and encourage other partners to see this as a space which can be used and enjoyed.

A video from the launch event can be found here:

An active supporter from the start, Blackpool Football Club Community Trust hosted walking football and a 5 a-side kick around at the launch event and returned to the beach on Thursday 26th July with their first public community event; Kicks on the Beach.

Kicks are free football sessions delivered by Blackpool FC Community Trust that take place across Blackpool for children and young people aged 7-19. This special event replaces their regular Kicks sessions and provides an opportunity for the community to come together and play football on the beach. The event was supported by the Blackpool FC Youth Squad as part of a Social Action project that they are involved in through the National Citizen Service.

Ashley Hackett, Chief Executive of Blackpool FC Community Trust added,
“Blackpool FC Community Trust provides a range of health and well being benefits for the local and wider Blackpool community for people of all ages. As a town, Blackpool are fortunate to have a fantastic beach along the promenade where thousands of people attend each year, The Trust in partnership with LOVEmyBEACH Active Coast, hope to inspire people to enjoy the local beach.”

Dr Arif Rajpura, Director of Public Health for Blackpool commented,
“The beach shouldn’t just be seen as a place for visitors; it’s a clean and safe environment where a healthy lifestyle can be enjoyed year round. The Beach Kicks event is a great example of how the beach can be used if it’s looked at in a different way. I’m sure the children will have a great time!”

For more information and for the full LOVEmyBEACH Active Coast programme, please visit: 

For further information please contact Jason White on 01253 348691.

Teens from Hull look to break the stigma

In Hull, 15 teenagers that have recently taken part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme with Tigers Trust have raised enough money to support 72 people that suffer with mental health.

As part of NCS, a flagship youth programme aimed at 15-17 year olds, participants deliver a social action project that will have a positive impact on their local community.

Due to personal reasons and recognising a national issue, the group of teens from Hull chose to support Mind, a national mental health charity that was recently announced as EFL’s (English Football League) new charity partner.

In the space of a week, the group wanted to raise funds and awareness of mental health. Their week started off with a bucket collection at local shopping centre St Stephens which was also an opportunity to raise awareness of Mind. The group then did a sponsored walk over the Humber Bridge which was chosen as a result of the high suicide rate on the bridge.

In total, the group raised an amazing £720 which will support 72 people in Hull with group support. As a momentum of their week, the group presented Mind with a mural which now sits in the headquarters of the charities offices.

Jasmine Russell, who was a member of the group from Hull, commented on their choice of charity: “We chose Mind due to mental health being very close to many people’s hearts within our group.

“Many of us either suffer from a mental health issue or know someone who does. The aim of our project was to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health as well as raising money through the sponsored walk across the Humber Bridge and the bucket collection in St Stephens.”

Keegan Hoyle, another member of the group, was delighted to be able to support Mind: “I think Mind is a great charity as they offer a wide range of help and advice for people that suffer from mental health which is becoming such a prominent issue in today’s society.”

The group’s hard work was recognised by David Smith, Chief Executive of Mind, who wrote a letter of thanks to the youngsters, commending their work in the space of a week.

Thousands of teenagers from Yorkshire and Humber will be taking part in NCS this summer through EFL Trust and will be having a positive impact on their local community.

For further information about NCS visit

NCS Teens Godsends for homeless charity

30 teenagers from Hull that have taken part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) with Tigers Trust have been labelled ‘godsends’ by a local homeless charity, Hull Homeless Community Project (HHCP).

Autistic Pride Day 2018: QPR’s football sessions key to Keishin’s development

QPR in the Community Trust’s Early Years Programme has made a significant impact to the life of five-year-old Keishin.

Keishin, who was diagnosed with Social Communication Disorder (part of the autistic spectrum), started attending sessions at the age of three, whilst at 4 Street Nursery in September 2016.

Elaine Caffrey, manager of 4 Street Nursery, has had a first-hand view on the impact that sessions have had on Keishin from day one.

She said: ”When Keishin first started at the nursery he spent the first four months laying on the floor pushing a train backwards and forwards, not engaging or making just fleeting eye contact with a child or adult.

”When I met with his family a couple of weeks later after a few sessions on the Early Years Programme with QPR, they could not speak highly enough of the role football was having on their son’s development.

”Keishin has moved on fantastically since he first started with us. When his mum asks him about how his day at the nursery went she gets little to no information, but if she asks about football he will recount every part of the session to them in great detail.

”He will even instigate a coaching session at home instructing his little brother and parents in elephant kicks and mouse kicks!”

The Early Years Programme engaged with over 400 toddlers last year, delivering sessions to youngsters focusing on key core skills called the A,B,C’s (Agility, Balance and Coordination) as well as introducing basic football skills and hand eye coordination games.

This year, QPR in the Community Trust have been delivering the programme at 9 schools and nurseries across the West London and surrounding boroughs.

Michael Spencer, Early Years Programme Manager at QPR in the Community Trust, who has also delivered the majority of the programme over the last two years, said: “It is a great feeling to become a positive role model for the toddlers.

“They love the sessions, I have received many pictures and hand made gifts from the children, which is such a lovely thing. It lets you know the work you are doing is very much appreciated.

“The work we have done with Keishin in particular has brought so much fulfillment to us. I speak regularly to his parents, who are very happy with the progress he has made and continues to make.”

For more information regarding the Early Years Programme of weekly toddler football sessions, contact Michael Spencer at:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How football clubs across Europe can improve social inclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlton Athletic to have a float at Pride in London

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

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

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

CACT Invicta FC said:

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

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

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

Rob Harris, Proud Valiants’ Chair, said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can watch the video here: