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: http://www.efltrust.com/projects/every-player-counts/

2017 USW / EFL Trust Student Awards

RISING stars from the world of community football have been formally recognised by the University of South Wales (USW) in partnership with the EFL Trust for their efforts in promoting the sport across the UK.

Students and professionals based at Championship and League clubs including Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic have emerged as national winners in the 2017 USW/EFL Trust Student Awards, after nominees were selected from students working towards the USW Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development.

Based at professional clubs nationwide, students are supported in completing their degree qualification remotely via a blended learning platform – an innovative approach that places the learner within the industry setting and enables them to apply their knowledge alongside study accordingly.

Launched in 2014 as a joint venture between USW and EFL Trust to provide a solid theoretical and practical foundation of professional coaching skills, as well as opportunities to acquire nationally recognised United Kingdom Coaching Certificate (UKCC) coaching awards, the degree course also serves to identify up and coming industry talent through its annual awards scheme.

Starting with a shortlist of regionally selected nominees, the national winners in this year’s Academic Student of the Year and Professional Practice Award categories have now been announced*.

Wigan Athletic’s Sean Rowlinson was named Year 1 Student of the Year after impressing judges with outstanding grades and an unprecedented commitment to supporting his fellow students. Colleague Gareth Shaw scored a double whammy for the club by claiming the Year 2 title in recognition of his approach to successfully balancing the delivery of development centre sessions, achieving consistently high grades and full-time work as a Schools Sports PE Co-ordinator.

Sheffield United’s John Caven took the Year 1 Professional Practice Award after successfully combining his academic commitments with those required of him as a school and community-based coach, as well as a father of three, to excel in all areas. His colleague Ash Abbotson also claimed the Year 2 title after contributing 300 hours of voluntary work to support a range of activities for the benefit of players with a disability via extra-curricular sessions provided by the club.

Course leader Jay Probert explained, “These awards serve to highlight the wealth of up and coming talent the professional football environment has to draw on both via the University of South Wales and industry wide.

As a pioneering course provider seeking to provide students with an ‘industry-ready’ approach, the team here at USW are heartened and delighted evidence of such dedication and commitment continues to come to light.”

Selected by a panel of USW academics with a combination of achieved grades and commitment to professional practice such as volunteering, coaching, work placement and other opportunities in mind, winners in the 2017 awards scheme also included the following:

*Regional Winners

Academic Performance Award
Region Year 1 Year 2
North West Sean Rowlinson (Wigan Athletic) Gareth Shaw (Wigan Athletic)
North East Tom Fogg (Sheffield Utd) Josh Blunkett (Sheffield Wed)
Central Myles Cooper (Burton Albion) Niall O’Grady (Derby County)
South James Miller (Portsmouth) Dumi Madhiazi (Brentford)


Professional Practice Award
Region Year 1 Year 2
North West Ewan Mooney (Blackpool) Joe Pym (Wigan Athletic)
North East John Caven (Sheffield Utd) Ash Ibbotson (Sheffield Utd)
Central Bradley Moore (Wolves) Alex Parker (Cheltenham Town)
South Connor Miller (Brentford) Liam Jenkins (Newport County)


Over 1800 females active through Female Fitness Exercise project

Over 1800 women across London have got more physically active thanks to the EFL Trust’s Female Fitness Exercise (FFE) project supported by the Mayor of London.

1287 of those females on the project were previously inactive and by December 2017, the project aims to have engaged at least 2,625 females across London.

The project also targets reducing the number of females who are classed as ‘inactive’; and specifically those who struggle to exercise regularly, such as the over 40’s or those with a disability.

Seven EFL clubs run the project through their community trusts, offering a wide range of activities – in addition to football – to help women keep active and improve their overall health and well-being.

One club in particular, Leyton Orient, have been working with the local Asian Women’s Support group through the FFE project to help ladies lose weight, increase fitness levels and improve their health and fitness knowledge.

Leyton Orient Trust have been working with the group, trying out a range of sport based activities and ran a 12-week football fans in training (FFIT) session alongside ‘soccersise’ – exercise fun using a football and football based techniques.

Philip Smith, Head of Health and Wellbeing at Leyton Orient Trust said: “It’s been great to work with the Asian Women’s Support Group to set up these sessions. Over the 12 weeks the group got to try out a range of activities, helping to build an enjoyable and positive experience around physical activity along with an understanding and deeper knowledge of how to make healthier lifestyle choices.

“It’s been lovely to see the group develop and see the impact it has made on their health. We are always keen to explore ways we can work with local groups to achieve positive outcomes for the community and this project is an excellent example of the impact partnership working can make.”

Many participants on the project had a chance to try out sports for the first time and after reaching their 12 week goal as a group, losing over 3 and half stone in weight, the ladies were invited to attend their first ever football match, enjoying a day out as guests of the club.

Manjit, one of the participants, commented: “The sessions were excellent. It was really interesting learning how to make healthier good choices and doing it together in a group made it lots of fun. I really enjoyed playing football and tennis; two sports I’d never tried out before. It was also great to attend my first ever football match too.”

Parm, another participant said: “I have become more active, lost weight and improved my diet. I still have some bad habits to get over in consuming food but I know they are bad now through the knowledge I have gained doing the course! I’ve also made lots of new friends through the programme too.”

To find out more about the Female Fitness Exercise programme visit: http://www.efltrust.com/female-fitness-exercise/

Time To Be Active!

EFL Trust supports the European Week of Sport, encouraging people across Europe to #BeActive.

Tomorrow (23rd September) sees the start of the third European Week of Sport, which is being celebrated across Europe. EFL Trust are helping the UK lead from the front in encouraging people from all over Europe to #BeActive.

Sport can emotionally be uplifting and contributes significantly to a sense of of togetherness and wellbeing.

Aiming to promote sport and physical activity across Europe, the overarching theme remains #BeActive and should encourage everyone to be active during the Week but also stay active all year long, regardless of age, background, gender or ability.

With sports participation a core focus of the EFL Trust, EFL clubs up and down the country will continue their work in providing sporting opportunities for people of all ages and ability through European Week of Sport, and throughout the year via their own community trust schemes.

Using the power of sport to make a difference to people’s lives the EFL’s 72 Trusts engage with over 1 million people in sports participation projects each year.

The Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) is supporting the 2017 EWoS campaign and as an official EWoS partner, the European Leagues will contribute to raising awareness of the initiatives and help share the key messages that sport not only provides many health benefits, but can bring people together and positively contribute to our society.

Led by the European Commission, organisations are inviting sports clubs, schools, community groups and individuals to get involved and promote sporting events and activities in their communities using #BeActive.

EFL Trust is excited to be actively participating and supporting the European Week of Sport campaign again in 2017 and with the help of the 72 EFL Club Community Trust’s through a variety of programmes, will help promote the key messages and encourage all citizens to engage in a healthy and active lifestyle.


Argyle Community Trust’s major development plans to reach over 17,000 users

After 20 years as the charitable arm of Plymouth Argyle Football Club, Argyle Community Trust is set to make its biggest step forward in development.

A natural progression for Argyle Community Trust has now arrived in the form of a proposed state-of-the-art sporting hub based at the former Ministry of Defence all-weather pitches in Manadon.

The project is being put together in partnership with Plymouth City Council, the Football Foundation and the England and Wales Cricket Board, with the overall objective of building a lasting sporting legacy for the community to enjoy, reaching 17,000 to 30,000 users.

Proposed facilities include office space for the Trust, an education suite, function rooms, grass and 3G pitches and a full cricket wicket.

“We have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to participate in a major development and it will allow us to deliver a new level of services to the people of Plymouth, and the surrounding areas,” said Argyle Chief Executive Martyn Starnes.

“It is a wonderfully diverse service we provide through the Trust and we consider it to be the jewel in the crown of Plymouth Argyle.

‘’The Manadon project will enable us to offer even better provisions and opportunities for everyone to access sport in our community.”

Argyle Community Trust has grown immeasurably from the humble beginnings of just a couple of coaches delivering soccer courses in the holidays or at after-school clubs.

The Trust now boasts over 40 full-time staff, based at Home Park, Carn Brea in Cornwall and North Devon, providing a full spectrum of programmes in sports participation, education, inclusion and health.

In the past year alone, the Trust has delivered over 9,000 sessions to people across Devon and Cornwall, and an age range from three to 89.

Council Leader and local ward councillor Ian Bowyer said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside the Argyle Community Trust and other partners to create what will be Plymouth’s first cricket and football development hub.

‘’This will significantly improve one of the priority sites in our Playing Pitch Plan and make a big difference to clubs, groups and the local community.’’

To find out more about Argyle Community Trust visit: https://argylecommunitytrust.co.uk/

Kinder +Sport Move and Learn project enters its fourth year

EFL Trust’s +Sport Move and Learn Project, a specially designed primary schools programme encouraging children to take part in physical activity, has embarked on its fourth year running.

The programme that is run in partnership with Ferrero, EFL Trust’s network of 26 EFL Club Community Trusts and The Irish FA helps young people understand the importance of a balanced diet and active lifestyle.

The +Sport Move and Learn Project is part of Ferrero’s global Kinder +Sport CSR initiative that has already encouraged 15 million children across the world to follow an active lifestyle.

Locally, over the course of six weeks, children from year 5 spend time in the classroom learning about the body, nutrition and the importance of exercise, through participating in interactive activities. This is then followed by a session dedicated to playing football, dodgeball or handball, with two weeks spent on each sport.

Jo Reed, St John’s Primary School, from Brentford FC has said “The children have absolutely loved every session.

‘’They keep talking about what they’ve learnt after they have had a Move and Learn session and it has definitely impacted on them – they are scanning food with the food smart app and loads of them have the flavour infuser water bottles in class.

‘’The teachers have learnt lots too and it will help us be better role models.’’

To date, the programme has been delivered locally by football club trusts in 1,495 schools, with 81,476 children impacted. This Year, EFL Trust welcomes 4 new Club Trusts; Bristol Rovers, Millwall, QPR and Stevenage.

To build on this success, this year 660 schools and approximately 39,600 children will be reached.

A spokesperson from Ferrero said: “Our partnership with the EFL Trust and all our member clubs has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and we are proud that together we have inspired thousands of children to discover new ways to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle.”

“Since launching Kinder + Sport in the UK two years ago, we have moved over 100,000 children as a result. Active children are more likely to grow into active adults, so we are passionate about inspiring future generations in communities across the UK to get active and live well.

‘’The EFL Trust is the perfect partner; football clubs are at the heart of their communities and engage and inspire people from all generations – and this is exactly what we want to do with Kinder + Sport in the UK.”

Mike Evans, Director of Operations at the EFL Trust said: “The +Sport Move and Learn Project and our partnership with Ferrero is growing from strength to strength.

‘’The power of sport and the club badge allows our network of community trusts to deliver key messages, such as tackling obesity, to reach out to the wider community.

‘’We are committed to helping the next generation discover the joy of moving and we look forward to continuing to work with Ferrero and our own network to achieve this.”

To find out more about the +Sport Move and Learn programme visit:  http://www.kinderplussport.co.uk/en_GB/

EXTRA TIME: ‘It takes years off you! I always claim I’m 29. I’m 87 and I love it.’

Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s ‘Extra Time’ programme is offering people over the age of 50 in Shrewsbury a new lease of life, and you have to look no further than participant Alan Bowers to see the impact the sessions are having on those in the community.

Alan, 69, is a season ticket holder at Shrewsbury Town, but also an active member of the Extra Time programme.

Alan has been a regular participant at the club since it started five years ago, and up until recently was also a part of the Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s walking football team.

Extra Time, is aimed at getting those over the age of 50 involved in sporting activities and socialising, with sessions run every Thursday.

It’s not just limited to football, either. Alan and co find themselves doing a range of different activities each week, and whether it’s hockey, rounders, basketball, walking football or ten pin bowling, there’s something for everyone to get stuck into.

Speaking of the programme, Alan said: ”It’s such a good group of people, and they all get on with one another.

”It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, they just get out there, get some air in their lungs and just do something a bit different.”

When asked how much he has gained since joining Extra Time, he added: ”So much. Making friends, keeping healthy, keeping fit. When you retire, you get to a point of, ‘what do I do next?’

”You can’t go to a pub every day, can you?…Well maybe you can!

”But you don’t want to do that, you want to do something different. We want to do visits, we go to the pantomime every year at Theatre Severn and we have  a trip every year.”

Joining Alan at Shrewsbury Powerleague every Thursday is Irene, 87, who has been part of Extra Time for four years.

Like Alan, Irene can’t speak highly enough of the sessions, and the group that she has become so close and friendly with.

”It’s the best club I’ve ever been to, it really is.” Irene said. ”It’s a laugh from the time you go in, to the time you go out, and everybody joins in.

”It doesn’t matter if you’re any good at it. I am no good at hitting the ball in rounders, the ball goes the wrong way!

”Everybody cares for one another, it’s great! If anybody is off colour or ill, we’ve got out phone numbers.”

For a healthy and youthful lifestyle, Irene insists Extra Time is the programme for you.

”It takes years off you! I always claim I’m 29! I’m 87 and I love it.

”The laughs you have, and the friends you make…A laugh a day makes all the difference.”

To find our more about Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s Extra Time sessions visit: https://www.shrewsburytowninthecommunity.com/activities/extra-time/

USW: A once reluctant Foundation Degree student speaks of endless opportunities

Chanelle McManus, a USW (University of South Wales) Foundation Degree student at Preston North End, discusses the benefits of the education programme and how it’s opened new opportunities to her.

Known as ‘Nel’, the PNE student is a familiar face when Preston North End are out in the community; she is a regular deliverer of a variety of sessions – to providing national curriculum PE lessons in schools to primary school children, to overseeing walking football sessions to the over 50s, and it’s the natural variation and diversity of the job that saw Nel catch the ‘coaching bug’.

“I originally wasn’t going to carry on with education, just look to work my way through working as a casual coach,” said Nel.

“But having heard about the degree and how different it is to other courses with more practical modules, I decided to put myself forward. I’m obviously reaping the benefits now as I’ll hopefully have an extra qualification whilst doing the work in schools I would have been doing anyway.’’

The Foundation Degree that Nel fulfils, ‘Community Football Coaching and Development’ is delivered alongside the University of South Wales in partnership with the EFL Trust.

On the course, students like Nel are predominantly based at the football club’s facilities but will also attend a yearly residential at USW.

The course focuses on all aspects of children’s and youth coaching, football coaching, football development, social inclusion and sports management skills, allowing the student to study all sub-disciplines of coaching and football development.

The two-year course welcomes those who have completed the Level Three programme, as well as those who studied elsewhere such as a BTEC level three or three A Levels.

“Every day is different,” said Nel on working with the Preston North End Community and Education Trust.

“I’ve just come back from a school now and I had 20 kids in the entire school and I’ve never done that before, and later on I will go into a bigger school with more challenging children – every day is different.

“You can work in all sorts here; I do a nursery on a Wednesday then I’ll do walking football on a Friday so I’m literally involved in everything.

“I’ve always played football; I played for Preston North End WJFC up until open age so I’ve always played but it was when I did my work experience with Mel (Brown, Inclusion Manager) in high school where I got the bug for coaching.

“Now, I actually prefer coaching and developing players then playing it myself and I’ve actually given up playing now to concentrate on coaching as I didn’t have the time to do both.”

Nel’s roots of working in the community stem from working with Mel at an early age, but it was working with the Preston North End Community and Education Trust that saw her find out about the education opportunities that Preston North End provides to post-16 students.

She added: “I’ve enjoyed it after my first year so far. It’s very independent which is what I like as I like to go away and do it all in my own time and base it around my practical work.

“I’d certainly recommend the course but you’ve got to be committed and have a love of football to make the most of it.

“Because the course is independent, it’s easy for students to come onto the course and just not bother and not take the wonderful opportunities on offer, so you have to be committed.

“I make sure I go out of my way to take advantage of all the experience offered here. I do the walking football, I don’t need to do that but I took it upon myself to do that so I think you should just go for it and take advantage of the opportunities available.”

Nel is now looking at progressing from a casual coach into a full-time role at PNE or a similar capacity at another football club, a typical exit route that the degree provides.

“Hopefully there will be an opening here, told Nel – “Just so that I can continue working here, but in a full-time capacity and just keep doing what I’m doing. I love what I’m doing now, but I want to do it full-time eventually.

“I’ve always been a PNE fan so that’s always been a bonus. I’ve been given the opportunity to work match days and I’ve met the players and the manager whilst doing the birthday parties so that’s always a bonus for me.”

To find out more about Preston North End Community and Education Trust visit: https://www.pnefc.net/PNECET/

To find out more about the USW ‘Community Football Coaching and Development’ course visit: http://www.efltrust.com/communityfootballdegree/

NCS Grads at EFL Trust National Conference

The annual EFL Trust Conference was held at The Oxford Belfry Hotel between 10th – 12th September 2017. As well as delegates from the 72 football community trusts under our umbrella, we were delighted to be able to invite 3 NCS graduates from our network to the event.

Cara Harrison (SWFCCP – Sheffield Wednesday) & Libby Smith (Club Doncaster) co-delivered a workshop with EFL Trust staff on youth participation. They were both able to share how their experience of the NCS graduate programme has given them opportunities to lead and influence future improvements to the NCS programmes, to ensure the content of the timetables are endorsed by young people that have completed the programme.

Cara & Libby were supported in their workshop by Katie Aris who is also an NCS graduate, now employed full time as part of the Portsmouth NCS staff team. Katie epitomises everything that NCS is about and it was fantastic to have her in attendance in the capacity of compere. All the graduates did an incredible job in their respective role and added something very special to this years conference.

Libby, who is about to begin her degree in International Events Management said: “The whole experience was amazing and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it! It has given me a real insight in the events industry so it’s helped me in many ways!”

Mike Evans, Director of Operations at EFL Trust added: “Katie, Cara and Libby were a key part of our conference this year and really show how NCS is able to produce confident, skilled young adults that are able to take on this challenge with such professionalism”.

 The conference also welcomed NCS Trust’s Chair of the Board of Directors, Stephen Greene, who addressed the 72 football club trusts on the first day.

To find out more about NCS EFL Trust, visit: https://www.ncsefltrust.co.uk/

Doncaster’s Fit Rovers shed over 41 stone

Club Doncaster Foundation’s Fit Rovers course has so far engaged with 86 men, losing an astonishing collective total of 41 stone and 13 pounds.

The eight-week healthy lifestyle course, currently undertaking it’s fourth group, provides men across Doncaster the chance to make dramatic changes with weekly interactive workshops and exercise sessions tailored to the needs of every individual.

Participants on the third and most recent course combined a weight loss of eight stone, four pounds with all 16 participants collectively dropping 103cm from their waist circumference.

Scott Copeland, programme leader, who is proud of the groups continual hard work, said: ‘’Once again the graduates from our last Fit Rovers programme achieved and surpassed the goals they set themselves in week one.

Every single person has their own story and reasons for attending Fit Rovers and the incredible weight loss they have achieved is not where the transformation ends.

“All 16 members that completed the course showed an increase in their wellbeing as measured by the WHO 5 wellbeing index, 13 of these were deemed significant improvements.

“Other changes include increased consumption of fruit and veg, increased exercise levels and an increase in self-confidence.’’

Scott added: “We’re delighted with how well the community has responded to the course; the fourth course had been filled for some time with some participants waiting a couple of months for their opportunity.

“We hope that we can continue to emulate the results from previous courses but most of all that the participants enjoy the course and become Fit Rovers veterans.’’

During the course, the third group also had the opportunity of experiencing a typical match day at Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium as they played an inaugural fixture against Barnsley FC’s counterparts, Fit Reds.

Stepping into the Doncaster Rovers first team dressing room and proudly pulling on the famous red and white stripes was a dream come true for participants.

Course graduate, Peter Norman was delighted with the experience. He said: ‘’It was absolutely amazing to have the full experience of the changing room and facilities.

“The attention to detail and the professionalism that went into the whole day was a real reflection of the course from the beginning.

Since the start of the course, it’s made me appreciate how much effort Nick and Scott [Foundation staff] have put into the sessions; I know the half a stone that I have lost is from what they have had to say about marginal gains and making sure we too emulate their ethos.”

For more information on the course, contact the Club Doncaster Foundation team on 01302 764663 or email fitrovers@clubdoncasterfoundation.co.uk.