The special anniversary was officially celebrated on Monday 12th February, with a multitude of special guests across football in attendance at EFL House in Preston.
Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen hosted the afternoon, and she was joined by former Manchester United Assistant Manager Mike Phelan, EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey and many others, including a number of EFL Trust staff, key partners and participants who went on to share their stories showcasing the successful work of EFL Clubs in their communities.
“To hear some of the stories today of the participants that have benefitted from the EFL Trust programmes has been amazing,” McQueen said.
“Working in football all these years allows you to see the massive impact Clubs can have on communities and individuals. Football clubs are at the heart of the community and that’s why days like today, celebrating the EFL Trust, are hugely important – so you can see the work that goes on behind the scenes to change lives.
“Players on the pitch often create the headlines but there are so many more success stories going on that are helping the greater good.”
Based in the heart of communities up and down the country, EFL Clubs are at the forefront of helping to tackle some of the biggest issues in society from reducing crime, improving health and inspiring education, and they continue to deliver programmes that benefit the lives of hundreds of people, using the magnetism of the Club badge to make a difference.
During the event, four participants shared their inspirational stories about how the EFL Trust network has significantly changed their lives. Their inspirational stories show the massive breath of the Trust’s work – Marek Hyde, a young man getting off drugs and into employment; Carol Bates, a lady that started a movement for older women to play football; Cheyenne Van Den Berg, a teenager who gained the belief to take on a world of opportunities and Darren Davies, father of Corbin Davies, a young boy who found the confidence not to be defined by his disability.
One of the standout stories of the day was Marek Hyde of Derby County’s Active Choices Programme.
Marek endured a turbulent past through substance addiction and after making steps to change his life, got involved with Derby County’s Active Choices Programme – a healthy lifestyle and behavioural change programme.
Marek joined the programme in 2016 and has since turned his life around. With the help and support of the Club, he found full-time employment and completed a Sports Leadership qualification in partnership with the Street Football Association. He also received an England call-up to the Street Football World Cup in Oslo.
Hyde said: “I was in prison when I realised something needed to change, and in a way I was relieved to be there because my life outside of prison was so bad.
“When it had sunk in I sat there and thought ‘do I want this?’ I knew I had an opportunity to make a change. I got in touch with Derby County Community Trust through my rehab programme and once I was involved with them they helped me fill my days with football, activities and positive things. It gave me something to look forward to and really helped sustain my recovery.”
The EFL Trust was established in 2008 to support EFL Clubs and the growing amount of community work that was being carried out. Since its inception, the EFL Trust has secured and distributed a significant amount of funding to help deliver a range of national projects within the 72 EFL Clubs and EFL Trust Director of Operations Mike Evans says the future for EFL Club Community Trusts is exciting:
“As we enter our tenth year, we will shortly be making a distribution that takes us over the one million pound mark, which is a phenomenal amount of money to support the great community work that our Clubs are delivering,” he said.
“We’re excited about the future and with good reason,” he continued.
“Our biggest thank you goes to the Club Trusts themselves, as without them we don’t exist. We now have over 2,400 staff working on community programmes across the country and I never cease to be amazed by the people we have delivering our programmes and wearing their club badge with pride.”