Hundreds of people take part in The Brentford Challenge

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, in partnership with Brentford Lock West, Syon House, Ferrero and Enjoy Work, delivered one of Brentford’s biggest sporting events at Syon Park last Sunday.

Runners, families and children basked in the summer sunshine as the Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Samia Chaudhary, was the official starter for the Brentford Challenge.

With temperatures soaring to 24 degrees, more than 300 people – including local MP Ruth Cadbury – took part in the event that included a 10k run, 5k run, 5k Walk and Talk (in association with West London Mental Health Trust) and a 1k children’s race.

Interestingly, all the runners had the unique opportunity to run in the stunning private grounds of Syon Park.

Steve and Jenny who ran the 10k race and live in Brentford said:

“We live in the Brentford Lock West development and we thought the race looked like a great course; I think it’s fantastic to get involved with a local community event.”

“We do quite a lot of running events,” Jenny added. “But it’s great to have a local sporting event that is right on your doorstep.”

This year also marked a special mental health event: a 5k mental health awareness walk in partnership with West London Mental Health Trust. The walk – coined a 5k ‘Walk & Talk’ – aims to tackle the stigma around mental health and encourage more people to get active.

Angela Benjamin, who took part in the 5k mental health awareness walk, said:

“I suffered from depression after the death of my two daughters. I took part in a similar event last year and it was amazing to talk to other people who are in a similar situation to me.

“Talking to people from all backgrounds made me realise I was not alone – raising awareness of mental health is so important.”

Along with highlighting the importance of mental health, the Brentford Challenge also offered a range of activities that encouraged local children to get more active. The event hosted an under 8s football festival, an introduction to paddleboarding at Brentford Lock and a Pilates taster session.

Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said:

“I would like to thank our partners Brentford Lock West, Syon House, Ferrero and Enjoy Work for enabling us to deliver a fantastic event that can be enjoyed by everyone in the local community.

“Sporting events like these highlight the spirit of the local community, which in turn, help more local people to get active and enjoy exercise.”

Michael Auger, Regional Director for Brentford Lock West and Brentford’s official partner for the event, said:

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to the Community Sports Trust and to all of the people who took part in the annual Brentford Challenge on Sunday. Yet again it was a fantastic event that saw the whole community come together to get active and enjoy a fun packed day.

Whether you participated in one of the many organised runs, you took part in the paddleboarding right outside our sales suite, or you enjoyed the various activities on offer in the sports village, we hope you had as much fun as we did! It was great to see so many of our residents taking part and to hear how they are enjoying life here.”

Refugee Week 2018: Barnsley FC’s Reds in the Community host One World Cup

Barnsley FC’s Reds in the Community hosted a One World Cup tournament on Monday (18th June) to celebrate Refugee Week 2018.

The competition, which was organised by RITC alongside British Red Cross and the Refugee Council, brought together 11 teams at Oakwell.

There was a mix of local teams from the Barnsley area alongside refugee and asylum seeker sides in what was a great occasion for bringing different cultures and nationalities together through the power of sport.

After playing a league table-style contest, the top four teams progressed to the semi-finals.

Doncaster United came out on top to seal glory in the final, beating DCC United 2-0.

Muse Jama, who now lives in the UK after originally coming from East Africa, explained how important events like the One World Cup are for integrating refugees into the English culture.

He said: “I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve met a lot of people from different cultures and different countries in the world, it’s been really nice. It’s amazing, I’m really proud to be here and I’ve had a good time. I’ve been in this country for five months. My wife and my kids are here as well. It’s a different country with different people but I’ve met some good friends. The people are really friendly.”

Sarah Sonne of the Refugee Council was delighted with the success of the event and thanks Reds in the Community for it’s backing.

She said: “We’ve got lots of different teams from refugee backgrounds but we’ve also got a job centre team and teams from colleges. It’s been really nice to show that Barnsley is refugee friendly and to start the week’s celebrations. It celebrates diversity. We’re really grateful for Reds in the Community for us in this event. It’s so nice to see so many people involved and people that we’ve not seen before who we can tell them a bit about refugees in Barnsley and what they can bring to the community.”

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: [email protected]

Wigan clubs team up to tackle male obesity

Wigan’s great sporting institutions have teamed up to kick start the fight against excess weight and obesity.

Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors have come together as part of the Wigan Council and Inspiring healthy lifestyles ‘Lose Weight, Feel Great FOR MEN’ campaign to support weight loss through a selection of free 12 week fitness and nutrition programmes.

Latics legend Emmerson Boyce and Warriors’ director Kris Radlinski trained alongside participants to launch the programme on Friday (15 June), which offered a taste of the sessions that will be hosted each week at the DW Stadium.

Radlinski said: “The Men’s Weight Management service has provided a fantastic opportunity for Wigan Warriors to work alongside Wigan Athletic Community Trust, Wigan Council and Inspiring healthy lifestyles in what I’m sure will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of men in the borough.

“The offer is the first of its kind in terms of the two major sports clubs in the borough working alongside public sector partners to deliver a joint outcome, and hopefully this partnership can continue to develop into a broad offer that is of great benefit to the health and wellbeing of the community”.

Boyce added: “This unique partnership between Latics and the Warriors is huge for the town of Wigan. The link will inspire men to take part and lose weight and also motivate them to lead healthier lifestyles by working with their two favourite sports clubs.”

Overweight men who live or work in Wigan can fight the fat through a selection of offerings, focusing on football, rugby, tracking technology, group fitness and nutrition.

The programmes are being offered by Wigan Council and Inspiring healthy lifestyles in partnership with Wigan Warriors Community Foundation and Wigan Athletic Community Trust, with options also coming from Leigh Centurions, Slimming World and MAN v FAT.

Wigan Council’s Director of Public Health, Professor Kate Ardern said: “Lose Weight, Feel Great FOR MEN is a unique weight management service, delivered by key local partners, which offers choice and support for local men to lose weight in a way that suits them and ultimately improve their health.

“The service is part of the wider ‘Lose Weight, Feel Great’ pathway which offers a range of support options for local people to take charge of their health.”

For more information text ‘FIT’ and your name to 87800, call 01942 496 496 or visit

Coaching Week 2018: Chris McGrail brings a wealth of experience to Blackburn Rovers Community Trust

“I have found working within the community and coaching extremely rewarding and for me it was the only way forward after retiring from playing football.”

Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s head of NCS and BTEC recruitment Chris McGrail has been involved in football since the age of 12.

McGrail, now aged 29, played professionally for neighbours Preston North End, before having to retire due to an injury.

He explained: “I went all the way through to the first team at Preston which also included a loan spell at Accrington Stanley. I was lucky enough to sign a professional contract in 2007 at Preston and earned a place on the substitutes bench the same year.

“Unfortunately, I suffered a serious injury and I had to retire but I carried on working in football and started working for Preston North End Community Trust as a coach.

“I loved my new role and now I am head of BTEC recruitment and NCS at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust. Personally, for me, it has been the perfect way to move forward in my career.”

The summer months will be busy for McGrail, alongside planning for the NCS summer programme, which starts next month, he is also getting ready for the new academic BTEC academic year, which starts in September.

For the first time, Blackburn Rovers Community Trust will have three BTEC teams for the new season, which will face off against their equivalents from other EFL clubs in the region.

The teams will be split, with two male and one female team and McGrail will be overseeing the entire coaching operation.

“I have FA coaching badges and, in the future, I hope to gain my UEFA B Licence. The students are all very passionate about playing football and they are a pleasure to coach.

“I am fortunate enough to be able to share my footballing experiences with the students. I want to pass on my knowledge to all the students on the BTEC in Sport programme at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust.

“They want to play football and they need stability and professionalism to move forward, and that is what we can provide.

“We have students leaving the BTEC course with coaching qualifications and it is a pleasure to see that some of them have opted to start coaching and sharing their own knowledge and experiences.”

For further information about the NCS and BTEC programmes at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, please email [email protected]

Volunteers’ Week: Brentford fan tackes more than football

Kirsty Turner – an avid Brentford fan – has volunteered hundreds of hours for the club’s community trust.

As Volunteers’ Week gets underway, Kirsty Turner is just one of 28 volunteers who go that extra mile to support the Championship club’s community projects.

The former teacher and mum-of-two has been a Brentford season-ticket holder for ten years and has volunteered more than 200 volunteer hours for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Her volunteering focuses largely on projects that support children with disabilities and young carers who are struggling to get respite.

“For me, seeing the joy on the faces of children who benefit from the sports sessions gives me a great sense of wellbeing – it feels like I am making a difference and that you’re doing something worthwhile,” said Kirsty.

“I think some people are put off being volunteers because of the commitment and how much time it will take. Yet it doesn’t matter if you do one hour or ten hours: you’re still making an impact to young people.”

And Kirsty certainly believes that Brentford FC is a place that could nurture Brentford fans volunteering talents.

She said: “We’re so much more than a football club: it’s a family, it’s a community.”

Brentford, who work mainly across the three London boroughs of Ealing, Richmond and Hounslow, engage with about 500 disabled participants, and overall the Sports Trust is involved with more than 11,000 children and adults each year.

The work they do is diverse and ranges from delivering athletics and kayaking sessions, helping students through an extensive network in local schools and delivering programmes on estates to linking in with people connected to youth offending services and those on the edge of social care.

The Trust also has a ‘learning zone’ connected to it and is branching out with specialist teams looking at obesity and weight loss with children and adults.

“Sport is a great way of unlocking hidden talents,” added Kirsty.

“Not everyone is academic, yet sport can help with young people’s confidence – helping them develop important life skills.”

Head Coach at Brentford FC, Dean Smith, certainly knows the benefits of Kirsty’s volunteering and the Community Trust’s work in local communities.

He said: “Our Community Sports Trust is a big part of what we are and who we are at Brentford FC. Our ties with the community are through the Trust and in my experience, it is one of the best that’s out there.”

About Brentford FC CST:

With community work spanning three decades, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust has established itself as a pioneering organisation for the local community. It uses the power of sport to educate, motivate and inspire people from all walks of life.

Working in partnership with Brentford FC, the Trust offers a portfolio of programmes in education, health, sports participation and community engagement.

The Trust has won the ‘Football League Community Club of the Year’ award four times and now employs more than 100 members of staff.


Jade a shining example for Blackburn Rovers Community Trust on Volunteers Week

A number of volunteers dedicate their time to support Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, so the football club’s official charity can continue to make a positive impact in the community.

To recognise Volunteers’ Week, the UK’s biggest celebration of volunteering, the Trust wants to say thank you to all of those that have or still offer their services in different ways, from coaching to photography.

Jade Elliott, who is now a full-time member of staff at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust as NCS recruitment and graduation officer, started off as a volunteer in 2014 and has had numerous roles during her four years at Ewood Park.

She said: “I started off volunteering at the Trust on the NCS programme which seems a very long time ago. I moved on to a be an NCS team leader and helped set up the graduation programme which is still growing to this day.

“I also volunteered by supporting the coaching team when they took sessions either at local primary schools or the half-term football camps at the Indoor Centre.”

Jade’s commitment and hard work for the Trust earned her a full-time role earlier this year as part of the NCS team, and she be one of the senior members of staff when this summer’s programme begins on Monday 16th July with a visit to Culmington Manor, Shropshire.

However, her busy year doesn’t end when the summer NCS programme finishes. In September, Jade will begin her UEFA B Licence to add to her further football qualification, which have all been supported by the Trust.

She continued: “I am really looking forward to it and it will be a huge challenge but a fantastic opportunity.

“I have completed both my FA Level One and Two when I was a student on the BTEC programme, which was all funded by Blackburn Rovers Community Trust.

“Next season, I am going to be coaching the first ever BTEC girls team, so the UEFA B will help aid that role and hopefully help the players too.”

To find out more about how to sign up for the NCS programme this summer at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust or if you would like details on the BTEC programme please email [email protected]