Teenagers from Exeter CITY Community Hit the Headlines by Tripling Foodbank Donation

A group of Exeter teenagers have hit the headlines this week thanks to an innovative scheme to drive foodbank donations, that has tripled donations and is now being rolled out nationally  

And they came up with the simple, yet genius, idea when they were taking part in the National Citizen Service with Exeter CITY Community Trust.  This week the group of 13 National Citizen Service (NCS) graduates will see their idea rolled out in Sainsbury’s stores nationwide.

The story really has become a media sensation with the group appearing on Sky Sunrise, BBC Victoria Derbyshire, ITV News and Channel 5 News.  As well seeing their story covered by The Times Independent, Mail Online, BBC Newsbeat, Guardian, AOL, MSN, Big Issue, The Pool.

The idea was developed after the group spoke to their local food bank during the social action phase of the national youth programme for 16 and 17 year olds. NCS graduate, Holly Manning, 17, from Exeter, said:

“After talking to the manager of our local food bank it was clear that shoppers were being reminded too late about donating, with food bank collection points usually being placed at the exit of the store. We also learnt that people were regularly donating similar items, making it difficult for them to get the quantity and variety that they needed to serve the needs of their beneficiaries.”

To combat this, the NCS grads came up with a simple, ingenious idea: pop a branded sticker alongside the items most needed by the local food bank to encourage people to purchase the item and drop it in the existing food bank collection box on their way out.

Holly continued:

“Once we had developed an idea we were confident would help, we set about pitching it to various local retailers. After being turned away by a few we popped into Sainsbury’s and spoke to the store manager who, to our delight, agreed to trial the initiative.”

After two weeks of the labels being in store, the food bank reported the number of donations had increased by 300%.  Mark Richardson, manager of Exeter foodbank, said:

“Teenagers these days often have an unfair reputation for being unengaged with the world around them, so it’s great to see young people being empowered by programmes like NCS to go out into their communities and make a difference.  The results of this initiative just go to show that sometimes you just need a new mind on an old problem, sometimes the most simple ideas have the greatest impact. This campaign has already had fantastic results locally, and I’m excited to see how it can benefit food banks and their clients across the UK.”

The labels – which will appear alongside the top 15 priority food bank items all year round – will be a key driver in Sainsbury’s Supermarket and Sainsbury’s Argos’ festive food and toy donation drive: ‘Help Brighten a Million Christmases’.  Danny Harris, deputy head of community at Exeter CITY Community Trust, said:

‘We are so proud of the young people who developed this project; they threw their hearts and souls into it and it is incredible to think of the impact their idea could have. We have had over 500 teenagers taking part in NCS in Exeter this year and they continue to be inspired by the programme and by each other and are making a real difference in our community.’

CITY Community Trust works in partnership with Exeter City Football Club and provides a range of activities to people of all ages, focused on health, education, wellbeing and physical activity.

Proud to Support Rainbow Laces

The EFL and EFL Trust are proud to support Rainbow Laces. Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign is in support of LGBT equality with a key theme for this year focused on creating more allies to LGBT people in sport.

The EFL’s support for rainbow Laces forms part of its wider LGBT work delivered in conjunction with Clubs through the Equality Code of Practice. This includes delivering activities, setting policies, and advising on recruitment and education at Clubs.

Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive said: “The EFL is once again fully supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, with all 72 Clubs coming together to raise awareness and visibility of an important issue. The EFL continues to be committed to providing a match day experience that is safe and welcoming to all supporters across all of our competitions.

Brentford Legend Kevin O’Connor unites with LGBT+ fan group for Rainbow Laces community match

Brentford’s LGBT+ fan group ‘LGBeeT’s’ laced up their football boots with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and Middlesex FA this week in a bid to raise awareness of LGBT+ equality in football.

The group took part in a unique football match at Middlesex FA’s new home at Rectory Park, Northolt. Along with four Brentford players, Brentford legend Kevin O’Connor attended the event and pledged his stalwart support for the match.

The match coincided with the Rainbow Laces campaign, which encourages fans and athletes to be ‘active allies’ and to play their part in ensuring LGBT+ people feel included in sport. Run by the LGBT+ charity Stonewall, the campaign is now in its fifth consecutive year, and has been credited with tackling discrimination both on and off the football pitch.

Brentford players Jonny Mitchell, Jarvis Edobar, Nicolaj Kirk and Joe Hardy, who all played in the match, joined B-Team Head Coach Kevin O’Connor at Rectory Park. Kevin, who made over 500 appearances for the championship club, felt it was important that Brentford endorsed the Rainbow Laces initiative. Kevin said

 “Our message is clear: football is for everyone. We have to get the message out there and hopefully events like this will highlight Brentford’s commitment to the Rainbow Laces campaign.”

Brentford FC have already cultivated a reputation as a pioneering football club for LGBT+ rights. Back in 2017, Brentford players and officials watched a special screening of the short film WONDERKID, which highlights the problem of homophobia in football, focusing on a young footballer whose sexuality is threatening to alienate him from the game. Gemma Teale, who is the founding member of the LGBT+ fan group, believes such events have an important message for LGBT+ football fans. she said

 “The annual Rainbow Laces campaign has been really important in raising awareness of LGBTphobia in sport – uniting people to become allies over the last few years. It’s great to see the Trust, Club and FA support the campaign with events like this and Brentford’s game against Sheffield– giving the message thatrentford FC and football as a whole is for everyone.”

Bassam Mahfouz, Cabinet Member for Finance and Leisure at Ealing Council, said:

“I am delighted that Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and Middlesex FA have joined forces for Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign. Working together with Middlesex FA, Ealing Council are committed to making Rectory Park a footballing hub that is accessible and enjoyable for all. Community matches like this prove that very goal – making football a catalyst for social change.”


Schools & Colleges Awarded at NCS Champion Schools Event

60 schools and colleges from South Yorkshire and Humber have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the National Citizen Service (NCS).

Read more

Blackburn Rovers Social Action Stars

An inspirational group of young people from Blackburn Rovers have won the NCS Social Action Star Awards for their project supporting Galloways Society for the Blind.   Their project was voted the best social action project from the many 1,000s of projects that were undertaken by young people on NCS this year.  Here Shannon and Kelly explain a bit about their project and why they love to volunteer in their community.


Pre-school aged children in Wigan were joined by Latics’ first team player Nick Powell at the launch of the Kids on the Move programme.

Youngsters aged three and four years old from the Westfield Start Well Family Centre attended the session at Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s base at Montrose Skills Hub near the DW Stadium, and took part in fun activities which were designed to improve their balance and coordination.   Kids on the Move – a project that has received funding of £40,000 for the next three years from BBC Children in Need and £10,000 from Wigan Council – will see coaches from the Community Trust work with young children and their parents from various Start Well family centres across the Wigan Borough to enhance their life chances by making them more school ready.

Nick said: “My little girl has just turned 17 months old and playing with her and seeing how happy she gets is the same as this, so it’s a great programme and the work of the Community Trust in enhancing children’s lives is brilliant.”

A 20-week Kids on the Move pilot scheme was delivered to 12 children by the Trust last year thanks to funding from Wigan Council, and the project had a significant impact on their physical, social and personal skills, with 100% of pupils improving three or more baseline challenges, five pupils made progress on all challenges and one pupil improved a baseline challenge by 150%. 

Cllr Jenny Bullen, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We are delighted to contribute funding to this initiative which will encourage children to be active and help them develop vital skills so they are ready to start primary school. This is all part of our work to ensure children get the best start in life and have access to fantastic opportunities.”

To date the UK public has raised over £950 million for young people facing disadvantage in different parts of the country, with more than £441,000 invested by BBC Children in Need to community groups across Wigan.

Tom Kirk, Regional Officer (North) for BBC Children in Need, said: “We’re committed to improving the lives of children and young people who need it the most by supporting projects such as Kids on the Move, which work locally to make real lasting changes to the lives of participants.”

For more information about the Kids on the Move programme, please email Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Community Development Manager Wes Partington on w.partington@wiganathletic.com or call 01942 318090

Inspirational Bristol Youth Are Transforming Their Community

Bristol City’s Youth Council are a group of young people taking practical action in their community in order to create positive social change that is of benefit to the wider community as well as to the youth council themselves. They have designed and delivered some brilliant projects addressing issues that are relevant to their community. They shine as individuals and as a group. They were instrumental in City’s holiday camp success and this year they have delivered 5 ground-breaking projects.  They really are the voice of their community and are constantly coming up with new community issues to overcome.


They were involved in the Bristol clean up, hosted a girls event which saw over 100 girls attended, developed and delivered an anti-poverty free football camp, a free disability holiday camp-over 50 in attendance, F3 girls session, Luke 5s League to combat Anti- Social Behaviour, developed a Mumball session, weekly youth disability session and recorded all of their achievements by writing a Social Impact report.

The programmes they have run have addressed a number of issues in society and in only a year have completely transformed perceptions, attitudes and behaviour.   There was a problem within the community, people didn’t have confidence, were subject to anti-social behaviour and didn’t feel they could afford activities or be would be heard within their own community.

Now people are able to access affordable sessions, which in turn is giving people greater confidence, which is leading to more people accessing education and qualifications and less people witnessing anti-social behaviour and substance misuse. The most important result is that for the first time young people are feeling As if their voices are being heard and they are actually making their community a better place.

They have won a number of awards already and have been invited to talk in front of hundreds of people. As well as all of the above they have all had their own journeys documented. They were all chosen or referred to the organisation for their own specific reasons.

This is Lauren who helped start Bristol City’s first girls team, she was also instrumental in developing and running the F3 Girl’s mini soccer hubs,  which are fun session that to give girls aged 8-11 the opportunity to play football. The sessions are structured to raise self-esteem and build confidence. Lauren  is very much a role model for these girls helping to run the session she designs.   84 girls in total have come along to the F3 sessions with 18 girls going on to join a football team for the first time. Having the Youth Council help run these sessions really does make a huge difference, they are link between the coach and the girls. They are amazing positive role models for the younger girls.


I want to help other young carers realise that they are not alone and there is support out there.

Seven years ago, Ali Umar was struggling to manage as a young carer for his mum. Joining  the Young Carers Project run by Brentford FC community Trust meant Ali could receive much-needed respite – joining a supportive network of young carers and taking part in fun educational activities. Now, aged 19, Ali has decided to give back. He has started working for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust as a support worker for the Young Carers project – mentoring other young carers who are going through a similar situation to Ali. Too often, young carers feel socially isolated and invisible members of society, Ali Umar is hoping to change that.

How did you get involved with the Young Carers project? 

From what I remember, it started off when I was visited by a member of the Brentford Team about the Ealing Young Carers project. At first, I was really quiet and unsure about how the project could help. However, after seven years being involved in the project I feel like it has been life-changing for me. I have enormous gratitude to the extraordinary people who made a difference in my life.

What impact did the Young Carers project have on you? 

After ten years on the Young Carers project, I feel like everyone on the project has become like my family. For me, the sense of security and knowing I have other young carers I can turn to has been the biggest impact for me.

Why do you think it is important that Young Carers receive support from organisations such as Brentford FC Community Sports Trust? 

Having support from the Young Carers project has been extremely beneficial: it allows you to be yourself. Through fun activities and educational games, the project helps extracts all your  worries and stress – helping to distance carers from their ‘caring’ environment.

Why did you decide to help other young Carers struggling? 

When I was a young carer, I felt really trapped and confused. I think it is human nature to help anyone in need, and from my own experiences, I want to help other young carers realise that they are not alone and there is support out there. I want to make sure other young carers have the same positive experience I had during Brentford’s Young Carers Project.

If you know someone who might benefit from our Young Carers project, please email Kathryn at ksobczak@brentfordfccst.com or on 020 8326 7044

Walking football has helped improve Stu’s health!

On World Diabetes Day, find out how Tranmere Rovers in the Community are making an importance difference…

 TRFC season ticket holder Stuart Pierce, who has been a regular at Prenton Park for more than 50 years, has type two diabetes but has made sure he has stayed fit and active by participating in the Club’s walking football sessions.  Stu, aged 66, has been a participant on the walking football programme at the Recreational Centre for more than three years after his diagnosis with diabetes.

Stuart said: “I first started watching Tranmere Rovers in 1966 just before England won the World Cup. I have had a number of health problems including diabetes and as part of the regime to try and help my diabetes primarily, I was looking for some form of exercise.“I saw Tranmere Rovers in the Community’s walking football sessions advertised in 2015 and I have been coming ever since.“Having diabetes means that I have had to restructure my diet and I have to eat a lot healthier. However, I feel a lot better and all my food apart from a couple of things is scratch built. I do have the odd bacon sandwich, but I am well behaved!“It is essential to raise awareness for diabetes. People need to get themselves checked to see if they are ok. It is so important to exercise even if it is only going for a walk or come down to Prenton Park and take part in the sessions at Tranmere Rovers in the Community. Many little things will help you.”

Walking football is a regular fixture at Prenton Park and features four days a week. Stu is proud of the work his Club do in order to help people improve their health and admitted everyone is welcome.

He continued: “The walking football sessions are brilliant, and everyone is welcome. They run three sessions a week and it is a smashing friendly group who take part. The sessions take place on Monday afternoon, Wednesday morning and for the elderly gentlemen, there is one on a Friday as well at 11am. The staff at Tranmere work hard and they must be doing something right as the participation numbers are increasing. Even if you only want to take part for an hour or if you have never played football before, it doesn’t matter, as long as you can walk you will soon learn and have fun. We will help everybody. If you have diabetes or any other health problems, there are lots of other groups at Tranmere Rovers that will help your needs. I recommend it to anyone, come and enjoy yourself.”

If you are interested in attending a walking football session at Tranmere Rovers in the Community at the Recreation Centre, please see below…

Monday: Over 50s (2-3pm)

Tuesday: Females over 40 (11-12pm)

Wednesday: Over 50s (11-12pm)
Friday: Over 65s (11-12pm)

To find out more information about our walking football sessions, please email SteveW@tranmererovers.co.uk.





Max: Aged 13 and Changing the World

Despite his tender years Max is a young person that has made massive difference to a community on another continent.  Max, despite being only 13, has been on two trips to Kenya as part of Derby County Community Trust’s, ‘Rams in Kenya’ . 

Derby County Community Trust has been taking part in the Rams in Kenya trip for the past seven years.  Since its first trip in 2012, the initiative has grown from 13 volunteers on the first visit to 73 on the latest. Over 300 volunteers have now taken part across the seven trips.

Max , was one of the volunteers at village called Mama Kerry, he says,

“My Dad has always promised me that I could join the Rams in Kenya trip when I reached year 7 and in 2017 I visited the slums in Nakuru for the first time.  We had to fundraise to get there and to buy material for the projects, so last April me, my brother and my Dad ran the Derby 3K and raised over £800 for our trip!  I have since been lucky enough to return again in 2018 and I can’t wait to go back again next year.  My younger brother Fynn will be coming this time too and I’m so excited to introduce him to my friends in Mama Kerry school and for him to help us build more classrooms and play football with the children. On this year’s trip we managed to install running water, build a new classroom which included guttering to a new water tank. We also build a brand new kitchen including work surfaces, a clay over, serving hatch and chimney.


The Ram’s volunteers also worked year at other location in Kenya. At Jubilee, a new secure library was built with enlarged windows to ensure a more comfortable learning environment, whilst all existing classrooms and the kitchen were repainted. As well as this, foundations were dug for five new classrooms and books were supplied for all six of the year groups. Work began on an outer classroom at Ungana on the sixth Rams in Kenya trip last year and this was completed this time around, whilst the school gates were repaired and painted, as well as being supplied with two stronger locks. Guttering was also added to two classrooms, with the pipes feeding into a 500-litre tank.  Food was also provided to cater for 109 kids for over two months, whilst building began on two new classrooms. A block of seven toilets was also funded and work also began on a new water tank that will allow children to wash their hands properly after use.  Clothing, shoes and stationary were distributed to the children and a talk was delivered on female hygiene, with girls being provided with sanitary products.