Walking football helping heroes in Plymouth

Plymouth Argyle Football Club Community Trust’s successful walking football programme is making a real difference to the lives of men rediscovering their love of the game.

Staged every Monday at the Goals Soccer Centre in Plymouth and with Walking Football also running at two Cornwall centres, this new sport is ideally suited to men over the age of 35 who want to stay fit with the game they love.

Military veteran Tony Wills was introduced to Walking Football through a Help for Heroes scheme and it has proven to be a valuable tool in his battle against a debilitating condition.

“The H4H Walking Football Programme has been very beneficial to me personally as it reintroduced me back into a competitive sport that I’ve always loved but, through injury, wasn’t able to play regularly,” said Tony.

“I’m diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress disorder with symptoms like flashbacks, memory loss, depression, lack of self worth etc etc. The list goes on but one of the best things to help is exercise, as it gets rid of unwanted aggression and it also helps remind you that you were good at something once.

“Veterans love being part of a team and tend to operate better within that kind of environment, so that is another massive plus for the walking football programme. “The fortnightly sessions introduced me to walking football outside of H4H and under the guidance of Josh and Mickey, who are very approachable and are a credit to the Argyle Community Trust.”

For more information about Walking Football, please contact Health and Disability Officer Josh Grant on [email protected] or call 01752 562561 ext.4

Every Player Counts: Aaron’s story

After taking part in a Sporting Chances disability engagement taster session at Wolves Community Trust (WCT), Aaron has now become a regular attendee at the club having done a weekly placement with WCT since September.

At the start of his placement with Wolves Community Trust, he had very little knowledge or experience of working in a professional environment. His ability to forge relationships was poor and he was very nervous.

WCT then paired Aaron with their Sporting Chances Team Leader, Gavin Jones, who was able to mentor Aaron out on sessions equipping him with the skills to engage participants and how to act professionally when interacting with partners.

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Gavin was able to give Aaron training whilst in an office environment. This involved giving him guidance around his conduct in the office, including his interpersonal skills and organisation techniques. At first, Aaron would interrupt staff when on the phone and talk very loud, he would also lose things he had put down in the office and would call a member of staff constantly on the way into his placement to check he was doing the right thing.

Aaron, who also attends Wolverhampton Vocational Training Centre, a unique learning environment that aims to offer students with Special Educational Needs the chance to gain vital employability skills, is now able to organise himself to get to Molineux without needing any support, constantly checks he has everything and his manner in the office is to the standard of any other member of staff. He has become a very popular person around the office interacting with everyone.

Aaron 2

Aaron said: ‘’I love coming in and helping Gavin on sessions. I was very nervous and shy in the office but now I love to speak to new people. Doing the placement has inspired me to become a coach like Gavin.’’  

Claire Millington, from Wolverhampton Vocational Training Centre said: ‘’Since Aaron has been on work placement at Wolves Community Trust he has developed into a mature young man.

His confidence has grown, when asked to do a task he is able to stay focused and retail the relevant information. He demonstrates a good work ethic, follows instructions and meets deadlines.

He is very keen to better himself. Each week he is keen to inform us of activities he has participated in, and is excited to return to his placement.’’

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Sporting Chances work with community groups, schools and disability organisations across the city, delivering a range of activity to a variety of different groups each week.

WCT also run Wolves Sporting Chances FC, who play in the West Midlands Ability Counts League. They currently have teams at U11’s, U16’s and Adult.

To find out more about Wolves Community Trust and Sporting Chances visit: Wolvescommunitytrust.org.uk


The Every Player Counts project was made possible thanks to a £1.1m donation from the Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST).

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.

To find out more about Every Player Counts visit: www.efltrust.com/projects/every-player-counts/


Girls Cup Area Finals Round-Up

The Kinder + Sport Girls Cup Area Finals have taken place over the last month, with each school representing their local football club in a bid to go one step closer to Wembley and make the Regional Finals of the competition.

Here’s a look back on some key moments during the Area Finals…


BIG WINS: Haslingden High School PE Faculty (representatives of Blackburn Rovers FC Community Trust) pulled off some fantastic results in the Area Finals, they won 6-1 and 7-1 in their first two matches and held their nerve to beat Wigan Athletic 4-2 in the final!

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UNLUCKY: Wigan Athletic were incredibly unfortunate to miss out on a Regional Finals place. Despite winning all of their group matches including their fixture against Blackburn in the build up to the final, they lost 4-2 against Rovers in the decider!

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UNBEATEN AND PROLIFIC: Holy Trinity School representing Barnsley FC Community remained undefeated throughout the whole of the Area Finals and their top goalscorer Lucy goes into the Regional Finals having already bagged 14 goals so far in the competition!

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TEAM SPIRIT: Peterborough’s final at Nottingham was incredibly tense against Derby County. It seems as though their close team spirit got them through to secure a 1-0 win and go one step closer to Wembley.


REIGNING CHAMPIONS: Last year’s EFL Girls Cup winners Shrewsbury Town, represented by Thomas Telford School, remained unbeaten throughout their Area Finals tournament with 5 wins and 1 draw.



GORDANO SCHOOL DO IT AGAIN: Dan White, Bristol City Community Trust’s head of operations said: “It was great to see representation from all the professional clubs in the region and I am delighted Gordano Secondary School have managed to progress to the next stage and will be again representing Bristol City.”


ON FORM: Top scorers Thompson and Gordon of Waingels PE department representing Reading FC play a key part in securing their place in the Regional Finals.


TALENTED: Waldegrave School representing Brentford FC’s coach Jamie Tompkins was full of praise for his players as they progress into the next round on the road to Wembley.


LAST GIRLS STANDING: A late goal seals it for Luton Town representatives Queensbury Academy, as they win 1-0 against Cambridge United in the final and claim the last spot in the Regional Finals.


Teams through to the North Regional Finals to be played in Sheffield on 3rd March 2017:





Teams through to the South Regional Finals to be played in Swindon on 1st March 2017:

Bristol City


Luton Town


The two teams who are victorious in the North and South Regional Finals will proceed to play at the Grand Final at Wembley on 2nd April 2017.

NUFC Foundation top Kicks participation table!

Newcastle United Foundation has been praised for getting more young people into sport after their Kicks project topped the Sport England ‘sustained’ participation figures table, putting it ahead of 63 other football club charities delivering the same programme.

The ratings show Newcastle United Kicks has the most young people in the country attending ten sessions or more within a four month period, showing a long term commitment to playing football.

The Foundation also came in the top three of the ‘engaged’ list, which recognizes a young person attending a session at least once.

The Foundation’s Kicks project is delivered at 11 venues across Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead and North Tyneside 48 weeks of the year. In 2015/16 1918 young people turned up to play football with Foundation Coaches.

The aim is to involve young people in constructive activities, increase playing and coaching opportunities, break down barriers between the police and young people and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the target area.

Players at Westgate Kicks received a surprise visit from Newcastle United Manager Rafa Benitez and Captain Jamaal Lascelles earlier in the season.

Rafa Benitez, said: “I saw for myself how much of an impact Kicks has in the Community – I can still remember my visit to Westgate very clearly! The Foundation does a great job and this recognition is deserved.  It takes a committed and ambitious team to achieve things like this so well done.”

Helen Richardson, from Blakelaw Ward Committee, said: “Kicks has a huge impact on the young people in communities and provides amazing opportunities for them to develop themselves. High attendance on a regular basis reflects the quality of engagement from the Foundation coaches, we can see the difference this has on our young people in our community and are proud to support it.”

Kicks is funded across the region by the Premier League via Sport England, Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, Postcode Community Trust, Byker Community Trust, Four Housing and Blakelaw Ward Committee.

Newcastle United Foundation Community Project Co-ordinator, Laura Wilson, added: “Newcastle Kicks has grown massively over the years and it is fantastic to see so many young people playing football every week.  From Kicks we can signpost young people on to other Foundation programmes, such as NCS and Employability, which continue to encourage positive life changes over a period of time.”

Kate Bradley, Head of Newcastle United Foundation, commented: “I’m so proud of our team. All the staff and volunteers work very hard to engage young people in the programme and to keep them coming back week after week. I would also like to thank our Partners and Funders for their incredible support, without them we wouldn’t be able to have such an impact across the region.”

Courtney and Nicole Dack, two twins from Newcastle were inspired through Kicks to become role models for young people and inspirational leaders within their community. Watch the video below:

For more information on Newcastle United Foundation email [email protected]

Crawley Old Girls growing in numbers

COGs (Crawley Old Girls) only started playing football in April 2015 when Carol Bates, 50, set up the team with the help of the Crawley Town Community Foundation with funding from the EFL Trust Female Football Development scheme.

The sessions were developed specifically for older ladies, who have an interest and passion for football, but who may not have had the opportunity to participate before. Many of the group are Crawley Town season ticket holders, members of Crawley Town Supporters Alliance, or mums of players from local grassroots clubs.

The club started with 10 women who had never played before. They decided to enter the team into the women’s veteran category in the 2016 FA People’s Cup just to have fun.

“There was so much excitement and a few nerves,” remembers Carol. “The People’s Cup had an amazing impact on everyone who played in it.

“There was a lot of pride in what we had achieved in a short space of time and the sense of camaraderie from everyone made it so enjoyable.

“It wasn’t even about the winning, it was about a group of ‘old girls’ getting the opportunity to play football together, build confidence and burn a few calories.”


The COGs now have more than 50 members and have two weekly sessions (Wednesday for beginners and Thursdays for regulars) to fit everyone in.

This year the club is entering three veteran teams and one under-35s team into the 2017 FA People’s Cup, which gives Carol great pride.

“My mission in life now is to give older women the opportunity to learn to play football,” she says. “The People’s Cup is an ideal place to enjoy it.

“Last year there were only six teams in the veterans category, so we need to get all the older ladies out there to join in the fun. There are great health benefits to playing, as well as gaining fitness, confidence and new friends.”

Crawley Old Girls sessions run every Thursday, 6:15pm till 7:15pm at the Checkatrade.com Stadium Ball Court.

For more information and to get involved please contact Crawley Town: [email protected]



#2ndHalf: Walking football gathers pace!

Walking Football, as the name suggests, is a slow-paced version of the beautiful game which is aimed specifically at the over 50’s and is part of our play the #2ndHalf campaign. The game is a great way for the older generation to continue to enjoy sport, stay active and keep fit. 

Accrington Stanley are one of many EFL clubs who run walking football sessions and participants come from all backgrounds of the local community to take part. Sessions are held by Accrington Stanley Community Trust at Hyndburn Leisure Centre every Friday at 1.30pm to 3pm.

Alongside the physical aspects, the sessions also have psychological and social benefits, an impact on improving self-esteem and confidence, as well as forming new friendships.

Walking footballer participant Philip Lewis said: ”It takes me back to my youth as well as giving me social enjoyment while being something that is good for me.”

”I have played football all my life and as time went on there were many younger players to keep up with, walking football has given me the opportunity to play the sport I have loved all my life as well as keeping healthy and meeting new people.” commented Mark Duckett.

The physical benefits of walking football that have been noticed include weight loss, lowered blood pressure, heart rate and better stability.

The club also offers an ‘Up and active’ scheme that runs throughout East Lancashire, providing all participants a free weigh in service so that they can keep track of their weight on a weekly basis. Playing walking football allows those who are recovering from an injury or have mobility issues, who may have shied away from sport keep healthy and active.

‘’With being nearly 70 I’d never thought I could play again, walking football allows me to get routine vigorous exercise and it’s the best form of exercise that works for me as I love the sport and the competitiveness of the sessions.’’ remarked John Omerod.

Football Development Officer, Matt Parkinson, who takes the sessions said: ”It’s great to see the participants go back to their childhoods, you’d never guess that some of them were over 50! From not knowing anyone who attends, to forming a strong bond as a group and the competiveness is as strong as ever.’’


For more information please visit www.stanleytrust.co.uk or call 01254 304071.


The ‘Power of Football’ transforming lives!

One of the EFL Trust’s key messages of promoting ‘A Football Experience for Everyone’ using the power of the club badge has been portrayed brilliantly through Plymouth Argyle’s ‘Short Breaks’ project.

‘Short Breaks’ is an initiative delivered in partnership between Argyle Community Trust and Plymouth City Council to introduce football to young people with autism, or awaiting diagnosis for autism.

The focus is all about fun and providing a stable environment for the youngsters to enjoy football, while also giving parents and carers some respite.

Every Player Counts

The positive impact of Short Breaks can be seen in this fantastic feedback they have received from one very proud mum.

“Short breaks has been life changing for our son, it has allowed him to join in, grow in confidence and be part of a team, which is something he has been unable to ever do before.

“As a parent, it is so rewarding to see my child take part in activities that I knew he would love, but was too anxious to do in a mainstream setting. The environment of short breaks allows him to be who he is with no-one judging him.”

One young participant on the project added: “I never played football until I was 10 as I was too scared. [Coach] Josh [Grant] always looks after me, especially at the beginning when I didn’t feel confident to join in. Now I train with the team on a Tuesday and I even scored a hat-trick.

“I couldn’t have played football without short breaks running special sessions, so I can play with friends like me.”

To find out more about Short Breaks and all the provisions available with Argyle Community Trust, please contact Health and Disability Officer Josh Grant on [email protected] or call 01752 562561.



Street Violence Ruins Lives Day Celebrated at Charlton

Saturday the 16th of January at The Valley saw a return to the Street Violence Ruins Lives (SVRL) campaign, a dedicated annual fixture to remember and celebrate the life of a devoted Charlton fan, Rob Knox.

Rob lost his life after being fatally stabbed in Sidcup nearly 8 years ago. Ever since, both Charlton Athletic Football Club and Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) have embraced the yearly fixture to raise awareness for an event that could have been avoided, but unfortunately still occurs regularly.

Working closely with the Rob Knox Foundation and Charlton Athletic Football Club, all involved deemed it another successful day for the cause.

Josh Legge, 15 from Bexley, was recognised for his dedication to encouraging other young people to stand up to bullying and violence.

Bexleyheath Academy student Josh regularly volunteers at the Thamesmead youth hub for the London Borough of Bexley and was recognised after being nominated by their Director of Children’s Services, Jacky Tiotto for services to his local community.

Outgoing Crime Reduction Manager Nick Darvill said “It was yet another day to be proud of as we remembered Rob’s life and celebrated the positive choices young people are making to reject violence.”

“It was a special day for me in particular as it is my last SVRL day working for CACT. It’s great to reflect on how far the initiative has come in 9 years. I would like to thank all my colleagues and the Charlton fans for making the day such a success.”

street v

Street Violence Ruins Lives Campaign

The Street Violence Ruins Lives campaign raises awareness of the serious issue of weapons related violence amongst young people through the experiences of the Knox family.

The Trust and the Knox family joined forces shortly after Rob’s death to deliver an education programme throughout Greenwich and Bexley to teach young people of the dangers of carrying a knife and belonging to a gang.

The campaign works at three levels:

  • Through awareness programmes in schools;
  • On estates based programmes where young people are identified as being involved in crime or are at risk of being so; and
  • Through targeted specialist work with repeat offenders who are at risk of custodial sentences or who have served a sentence but have been released on licence

The programme has also seen significant numbers of young people getting back into school and gain employment opportunities. This has been capable through effective intervention by using diversionary activity in not just football and sport, but mentoring to promote positive change.

For more information, please contact: [email protected]

Social Action Star Of The Year Award: Team Welly Wagners Needs Your Vote

A local group of young people known as Team Welly Wagners from Rotherham United Community Sports Trust are hoping to be crowned NCS Social Action Stars of the year after being named regional finalists in the prestigious award presented by Santander.

The 17-strong team of young people from Rotherham beat hundreds of NCS youth social action projects from across England and Northern Ireland to be shortlisted as regional finalists for their social action project aimed at raising money and awareness of homelessness. Shocked to find out 100,000 young people run away from home each year, Team Welly Wagners wrote, produced and recorded their own song, ‘Teary Skies’. Proceeds for the song, available on iTunes, go to Sheffield based teen homeless charity [email protected]

The Social Action Star Awards is a unique chance to celebrate young people’s incredible achievements on NCS, the country’s flagship youth empowerment programme and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity open to 15-17 year olds across England. In 2016 alone, NCS participants dedicated more than 2.3 million hours to social action.

Rotherham’s Team Welly Wagners now face four other regional finalists in a public vote closing at midnight on Tuesday 24 January 2017. The team, comprising Poppy, Rhiannon, Sam, Bethany, Janel, Niamh, Elizabeth, Ellie, Kaleb, Dave, Georgia, Charlotte, Owen, Holly, Maria, Anika and Gabi, are hoping to secure the most votes to be crowned national champions.

The regional finalists were judged by a high-profile panel of judges including YouTube star, entrepreneur and NCS Patron, Jamal Edwards MBE; NCS CEO, Michael Lynas; Craig Baines, Divisional Change Manager, Santander, and last year’s Social Action Star winners, Team Brah.

Jamal Edwards, YouTube star, entrepreneur and NCS Patron, said: “I’m always amazed and inspired when I hear about the social action projects that NCS grads have been delivering in their communities. They’ve clocked up millions of hours doing incredible work, making a difference to the lives of others right across the country. Teenagers today are more socially aware than ever and they also know that helping and caring about others makes them feel great too! For me, all of the young people nominated this year are stars.”

Dominic Stigas-Packzo, NCS Manager for EFL Trust said, “We are delighted that Team Welly Wagners have been shortlisted for the Social Action Star Awards. The Social Action Star Awards are an opportunity to shine a light on them and inspire other teenagers to get involved. I would urge anyone to take look at the video they have written and produced, it really is fantastic and testament to both Rotherham United Community Sports Trust and each member of the group for going well beyond expectations”.

Poppy, Team Welly Wagners member, said: “People should vote for us because we have worked so hard over the course of the project. It has brought a group of 15 young people together from different walks of life to produce something amazing and taught us to think creatively, work as a team and thrive under pressure.”

To vote for Team Welly Wagners to be crowned winners of the NCS Social Action Star Award, visit www.ncsyes.co.uk/social-action-star-awards.


Social Action Star of The Year Award: Pathfields SGT Needs Your Vote

ARGYLE Community Trust has been shortlisted for a Social Action Star of the Year Award in the National Citizen Service (NCS) 2016 ceremony.

The awards are staged to recognise and celebrate the hard work and achievements young people have made through their time on NCS, with Argyle Community Trust’s specification nomination focussing on a project that has shown terrific dedication and left a lasting legacy.

After a summer packed full of superb Social Action Projects, one particular initiative stood out from all those enjoying NCS with Argyle Community Trust.

Working in partnership with Plymouth City Council, the NCS participants planned, fundraised and created a sensory garden at Pathfields, Plympton. The significance of this is that Pathfields is a local green space and borders a residential home for the blind.

The team created a garden full of different smells, textures and noises, so that local residents who struggle with full or partial blindness could use the garden as an outdoor space to relax, keep fit or socialise. We are very grateful to Homebase, who donated trees, plants and resources. The garden was created to offer scents and noises to stimulate local residents. Starting completely from scratch on a disused, overgrown patch of land, the garden was transformed in to a beautiful chill-out spot.

The group are passionate for this garden to be a symbol of NCS legacy, which can be further developed by Summer 2017 NCS participants.

Click here to vote for the Argyle project and to find out more about NCS 2017, please contact [email protected]