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 Hull and East Yorkshire, 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

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Blades over 60’s win EFL Trust Walking Football Cup at the home of football

Sheffield United retained their National EFL Trust Walking Football Cup last week at the home of England Football Team’s St George’s Park.

The Blades, one of ten teams representing EFL clubs to make it to the finals day, beat Norwich City 1-0 in a tight final.

Walking football, as the name suggests, is a slow-paced version of the beautiful game which is aimed specifically at the over 50’s. Through their Community Trusts, most EFL Clubs run regular walking football sessions.

The sessions have proved a popular week for older adults to stay active, with many reporting massive improvements in their health since taking part.

Rochdale player Steve Colesby, aged 71 said: “It is difficult, in a few words, to describe how much life has improved for me and many of my friends due to walking football with Rochdale AFC Community Sports Trust.

“My health and weight has improved due entirely to my involvement in walking football.”

The EFL Trust Walking Football Cup has been running since 2015. Around 5,000 men and women aged over 50 have taken part in the EFL Walking Football Cup since it began in 2015.

Representatives from the 72 EFL Clubs either nominate a representative or hold a qualifying competition to find their champion. The club champions then compete in five regional finals with the top two in each region qualifying for the finals.

Grimsby Town team captain, Peter Cribbs, commented: “For our generation to get to play at St George’s Park is amazing.

“We have one participant who lost his wife and went into a very deep depression, doing nothing but looking at pictures of her.

“We persuaded him to come and join the group and he has now got a new lease of life thanks to walking football.

“We also have members suffering with cancer, or in remission, and walking football gives them hope and purpose, by meeting and socialising with friends old and new.”

Mike Evans, EFL Trust Director of Operations, said: “The social and health benefits that walking football has for participants are massive; 82% of participants believe that their health has improved by playing walking football.

“We want to use the power of professional clubs to help grow the game and ensure these benefits are spread far and wide.”

Derby County Player Frank Woodward commented: “You can get forgotten about when you retire, so this is great.

“I would like to emphasise without all the support from Derby County Community Trust staff and the friendships I have made with my involvement in the Trust, my life would be very different.

“I would have gone on a downward spiral by losing all confidence, but instead I am really grateful for all the help and support I have received and look forward to everything that is coming up in the future.”

The 2018 National Walking Football finalists:

• Bradford City
• Grimsby Town
• Bolton Wanderers
• AFC Rochdale
• Barnet
• Portsmouth
• Derby County
• Sheffield United
• Luton Town
• Norwich City

Football and Tennis Join to Get More Children Playing Sport

In a high profile week for both tennis and football, the Tennis Foundation and the EFL Trust have announced a new partnership that will see both sports work together to change lives. The two national sports charities are joining forces to expand the delivery of the Tennis Foundation’s SERVES project through the EFL Trust’s Football Club Community Organisation network.

SERVES is the Tennis Foundation’s ground breaking sport for development programme that takes tennis and its benefits to young people in urban and disadvantaged communities. Supported with funding from Sport England, the programme opens up the sport to new people and new places, recruiting ‘activators’ from those communities to deliver the sessions to their peers. It has been running for just 18 months but SERVES courts now ‘pop-up’ at over 130 sites every week in places as diverse as mosques, church halls and youth centres.

View image on TwitterThe partnership will see theEFL Trust use the power of football to engage new communities with the project across the Midlands and South West, with 15 of their dedicated network of Football Club Community Organisations associated to the 72 EFL clubs involved. Those that have already signed up are Aston Villa, Bristol Rovers, Burton Albion, Derby County, Exeter City, Plymouth Argyle and Notts County.

Meeting GB star Jay Clarke

To celebrate the new partnership, a group of young people from a Burton Albion Community Trust project were in attendance at Wimbledon this week, alongside representatives of both charities and Derbyshire tennis star Jay Clarke, who spent time meeting the future young tennis players from his home county.

View image on Twitter

Joanna Farquharson, Interim Executive Director of the Tennis Foundation, said

“As Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, we are delighted to be working with a like minded organisation such as the EFL Trust that truly understands the impact sport can have in changing lives. The partnership will enable us to leverage the renowned power football clubs have in their local communities to bring tennis and its benefits to a genuinely new audience – young people who may never otherwise have even picked up a racket.

“Our SERVES project is already delivering fantastic results, and in adding the EFL Trust to our outstanding group of national partner organisations we are looking forward to seeing this success continue.”

Mike Evans, Director of Operations at the EFL Trust, added

“The EFL Trust are delighted to partner with Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, to take the SERVES project into EFL communities across the country. Our Football Club Trusts use the power of sport to improve and change people’s lives through a range of projects designed to tackle community specific challenges in their area. We look forward to seeing the positive benefits of participation in tennis within our communities.”

View image on Twitter
Changing the face of British tennis

The SERVES project was shortlisted for Community Programme of the Year at the 2018 Sport Industry Awards in recognition of the impact it is having in changing the face of British tennis with a greater diversity of both participants in the sport and the tennis workforce.

Last year saw 5,569 young people who otherwise may never have even picked up a tennis racket take part in SERVES sessions across the county, with over a third of these from BAME groups. There is also a 50:50 gender split in the tennis activators trained as part of the project, with 70% living in areas of deprivation and a third from BAME backgrounds.

Beyond participation, the innovative SERVES social change programme then uses tennis as a tool to positively impact the lives of the young people participating through a series of fun and informal on-court modules that influence them to lead active and healthy lives.

The EFL Trust becomes the seventh organisation to join the SERVES project as a National Partner, alongside Active Communities Network, London Youth, Sported, Sporting Equals, StreetGames and London Youth.

To find out more about SERVES, or the wider work of the Tennis foundation to help change lives through tennis, click here.


Pride brings Charlton family together

More than 75 people joined a Charlton Athletic group at the Pride in London parade on Saturday 7 July, marching through Central London for the annual celebration of LGBTQI+ rights.

Pride in London saw Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) celebrate the success of LGBTQI+ friendly football team CACT Invicta FC and LGBTQI+ supporters’ group Proud Valiants. It was a historic event, with Charlton Athletic becoming the first professional club to have its own float in the parade. Previously, clubs had solely been represented by fan groups.

Participants walked behind CACT’s professionally designed LGBTQI+ themed minibus, while students from the University of Greenwich and young people from Woolwich Common Youth Hub showcased the banners they had made to crowds lining Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and other London landmarks. Students were also joined by University of Greenwich staff and Students’ Union sabbatical officers. Additionally, there were a number of trainees and graduates from the National Citizen Service programme CACT delivers.

Around 500 LGBTQI+ groups and more than 30,000 people took part in the parade, while hundreds of thousands lined the streets.

The Charlton group danced, waved flags, kicked around inflatable footballs and also shared goal updates from England’s 2-0 World Cup win against Sweden with cheering crowds, really embracing and reflecting the theme: All Together, All Proud, All Charlton.


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

“It was fantastic to see so many people in our Pride in London group during the parade on Saturday! “There was a brilliant atmosphere throughout the day, and the overwhelmingly positive response from crowds underlines just how much desire there is for football to break down barriers for LGBTQI+ people.”


Gary Ginnaw, CACT Invicta FC’s Player-Manager, said: “CACT Invicta FC were very proud to be part of the first ever Charlton Pride in London float. “To have so many participants involved on the day with so much diversity across the group was a fantastic sight. I’d like to take time to thank every member of the steering group that spent so many hours making the event such a huge success. “So many people on the day were congratulating us for taking part with such a huge group making a massive impact in front of the whole of London and beyond – football is for everyone.”

Rob Harris, Proud Valiants’ Chair, said:“Proud Valiants were so proud to be part of the Charlton Family on such a wonderful day, a great day for diversity everywhere!

“Homophobia has no place in today’s society anywhere and it was a brilliant day with an awesome win for England which we shared with a really enthusiastic crowd. “To see so many red Charlton t-shirts was an amazing spectacle, and we owe a real thanks to all the people who joined us on such a hot day and made a huge sacrifice by not watching the match.”

A representative from the University of Greenwich said:

“We are and always will be a proud supporter of the LGBTQI+ movement and it’s great to be able to publicly demonstrate our commitment to the cause alongside Charlton Athletic, our partner and local football club.

“Whilst there has been phenomenal progress in LGBTQI+ rights, there is still a long way to go, and events like London Pride not only celebrate inclusivity and diversity, but also the progress we continue to make towards a more accepting world.”

The Charlton group’s participation in Pride in London was also supported by the Charlton Athletic Race & Equality Partnership, the University of Greenwich, the FA, the EFL Trust, the Professional Footballers’ Association, Fans For Diversity, Kick it Out, Whitecode Design, Norton Rose Fulbright and ITRM.


RIP Sam Tonge – 1988-2018

We are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Scunthorpe United’s Sam Tonge at his home on the morning of Friday 29th June, at the age of just 30.

Sam was a key member of the club’s Community Sport & Education Trust, managing the highly successful National Citizen Service scheme as well as being involved in a wide variety of community projects during his eight years working for the charitable organisation.

The Trust’s Community Manager, Scott Maxfield, said: “Sam was a well-loved colleague and friend to everyone at the Trust. His generosity, compassion and thoughtfulness were evident on a day-to-day basis. He always had time for everyone and he was proud of the NCS scheme which has grown from 60 participants to 405 this year under his management.

“Everyone connected with the Trust will miss him greatly and the Trust is a lesser place without him.”

The football club’s Chief Executive Officer, James Rodwell, added: “Losing someone so young is heart breaking for the family and our sincere condolences go out to them. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sam’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.”

Mike Evans, Director of Operations, EFL Trust said: “We were deeply saddened to hear the news and our thoughts and prayers are with Sam’s family at this difficult time. Our team have been sharing fond memories of Sam as a compassionate, committed individual who will be sadly missed. Sam made a significant positive difference to the many young people he introduced to NCS in Scunthorpe.”