Preston North End’s Louis Moult Visits Foxton Centre

Preston North End’s Louis Moult was able to relate in more ways than one during his recent visit to the Foxton Centre.

Fresh from his winner against Nottingham Forest the weekend before, Moult spent an afternoon at the Foxton Centre, a cause which works with those who face problems with poverty, addiction and mental health.

The centre is one of two charities that North End collected items for this year alongside Rock FM’s Cash for Kids, and the 26-year-old spoke about the impact people’s donations can have with members of Moult’s family also suffering similar situations.

“However small or large your contribution, it’s important that we try and help others,” said Moult at the Foxton Centre which celebrated their 50th Anniversary recently.

“We’re very lucky to be in the situations that we are and to have a roof over our heads for one, and to be fit and healthy and if we can help in any kind of way it’s massively appreciated.”

The six day donation centre hosted at Deepdale welcomed an array of items donated by supporters and the general public.

From non-perishable foods to toiletries, clothing and gifts for children, the community flocked to Deepdale throughout the week right up until the Millwall game on the Saturday at Deepdale.

Moult spoke emotively on a subject which he knows all too well after losing his mother in tragic circumstances at the age of just 15.

“These kinds of places are close to my heart” Moult added. “I’ve seen people suffer with these issues.

“My mum was an alcoholic and was just 43 when she died which is such a young age and it’s a horrible thing to go through.

“That’s why I want to help people in similar situations and people that were in my situation that have been left with not knowing where they’re going to go in life. I was 15 at the time and I had a couple of dark years but always tried to stay positive and I was lucky I had people around me who helped me.

“Everything I do, I do it for my mum, my dad, my brother and now, my wife and my kids who mean so much to me and It’s made me the person I am today.

“I had to grow up fast; people say you’re the most mature 26-year-old I’ve ever met, but that may be because I’ve had to go through that hardship. Time’s a healer and talking about it has helped me and if me talking about it helps other people, I’m more than willing to do that.”

Moult visited the Foxton Centre armed with selection boxes that had been donated by local company HGS and PNE hats, and took time out of his schedule to play pool and table tennis before making everybody a cup of tea and coffee!

“Some people haven’t got family and that’s what this place does remarkably well” described Moult on the type of atmosphere at the Foxton Centre.

“It’s almost become like a family here; they welcome everybody in and if people are coming here and doing what they should be and they’re on track then I am led to believe that they become part of this family.”

One individual who was able to meet the North End striker was Laura, who spoke of hardship stories of her own.

“I was homeless and I had pneumonia, but then the Foxton Centre helped me so much” she said. “If it wasn’t for them, I’d still be out on the street. I get food parcels, I get clothes, toiletries and it helps so much.”

Louis is also more than aware of the issue of homelessness in communities; his uncle has also endured nights on the streets as he too battled with alcoholism.

“My dad’s brother – my uncle was homeless which again was down to alcohol.

“We managed to get him on the straight and narrow but then he went off the rails again and lived on the streets for about a year and a half.

“Fortunately, he was able to fall back on to a similar set up like this and got back on his feet again and was able to get back into accommodation and is now a bit more happier as a result.”

To find out more about The Foxton Centre visit: https://www.thefoxtoncentre.co.uk/ 

To find out more about PNE Community and Education Trust visit: https://www.pnefc.net/pnecet/

Saddlers visit Walsall Manor Hospital for Christmas

The Walsall FC squad visited patients at Walsall Manor Hospital on Tuesday to spread some festive joy.

First-team players, along with manager Dean Keates and backroom staff, handed out children’s Christmas presents to families in the paediatric wards at the hospital.

The group also headed over to the elderly care wards, and swapped stories with the elderly patients.

As well as meeting patients, the Saddlers also spoke with hospital staff, from doctors and nurses to clerical staff.

Midfielder Liam Kinsella said: “It’s nice to come and see them at this time of year because you can put smiles on their faces. I think they enjoyed us visiting as much as we enjoyed visiting them, so it has been a big success.

“All the lads were excited to come down here and give something back. We are really lucky to be in the position that we are and just to come here and give a small gift, it’s nice and I’ve enjoyed it.”

Walsall Healthcare’s Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley added: “As soon as the team arrived there was a real buzz in the hospital.

“The annual visit is always really popular with patients – and our staff – and we appreciate the team taking the time to do so. It really does make our patients’ day.”

Adam Davy, Director at Walsall FC Community Programme, said: “The hospital visit is always a massive success and we were pleased to take the players again this year.

“Things are difficult for those who are in hospital at Christmas time, so it is wonderful that the players can give a few hours of their day to brighten up someone else’s. 

“The attitude of the players, speaking and sharing a laugh with the patients, was brilliant to see and they are a real testament to the football club.”

To find out more about Walsall FC Community Programme visit: http://www.walsallfccp.co.uk/

NCS: London Teens have Experience of a Lifetime

12 teenagers from London who took part in NCS (National Citizen Service) with Chelsea FC Foundation had a week to remember, meeting a legend, appearing on TV and delivering mental health workshops to over 300 children.

After taking on new challenges and learning new skills whilst on NCS with Chelsea Foundation, the group delivered two mental health and unhealthy lifestyle workshops to over 300 Year 10 and 11s.  The group then enjoyed their NCS Graduation at the FA Cup live draw in Stamford Bridge, and met Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola.

Recognising the pressure that is on young people of their age, the group partnered with a psychology teacher to deliver a mental health workshop on stress to children at Fulham College Academy Trust and Thomas Bennet Community College.

The workshop was a space for student to openly talk about stress and mental health whilst making their own stress ball and origami.

Sirra Bojang, who delivered the mental health workshop said: “I think we were all overwhelmed by the interest from our year 10 and 11 students, it was amazing!

“Everyone enjoyed making the stress balls and I think creating a safe space to talk about mental health just made us all feel really comfortable and supported, it was so rewarding and I can’t wait to do it again”

The other half of the group addressed the importance of teenagers living a healthy lifestyle. Connor Davis who took part in NCS with Chelsea Foundation: “We realised that we can really make a difference to our peers in the years below by sharing our knowledge about healthy lifestyles and providing them with ideas and different food options to improve their health and fitness”

NCS is a government backed programme that has had almost 500,000 young people take part,  delivering 12 million hours of social action that has impacted communities across the country.

The programme brings together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience and helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens.

Chelsea Foundation are one of seventeen other Football Community Trusts from EFL and Premier League to partner with EFL Trust this Autumn to deliver NCS to over 400 teenagers.

To find out more about NCS, visit: https://www.efltrust.com/ncs/ 

Derby County Community Trust Invest Over £2.5million Into Local Community

The launch of the Derby County Community Trust’s 2018 Annual Report has detailed an investment of over £2.5million into the local communities of Derby and Derbyshire, delivering on their aims to improve health and wellbeing, sustain participation in sport and physical activity, increase personal attainment and enhance communities through helping over 24,000 participants in the last 12 months.

2018 has been a noteworthy year for the Trust, who celebrated their tenth anniversary as a registered charity, hosted their first Derby 10K, won the coveted EFL Community Club of the Year accolade, were crowned the winners of the Derby Telegraph Not-For-Profit Business Award and received the biggest single investment into the charity from the Department for Education’s Opportunity Area Fund. This saw the Trust awarded a £1million grant with the ambition to raise educational attainment and aspirations across the lower socio-economic areas of the city in partnership with a host of other sports, culture and arts organisations.

Simon Carnall, Head of Community, said, “To celebrate such a landmark year of our history with so many achievements is something we are truly proud of. The ability we have to engage members of the public who are often vulnerable, isolated or lonely, through our 60 strong full-time workforce, part-time coaches and volunteers continues to grow, and we are in the privileged position to influence and improve our communities.”

Stephen Pearce, CEO of Derby County Football Club and trustee at Derby County Community Trust, said, “The achievements of the Derby County Community Trust across not just this year, but their last decade of being a charity, and all the work that preceded that, is an embodiment of Derby County Football Club’s commitment to the community, helping people to become happier and healthier versions of themselves.”

The Trust’s diverse range of programmes aim to make sport and physical activity available for those from age three to 103, from Disability coaching sessions to cancer rehabilitation exercises, supporting those affected by substance misuse to overcome addiction to providing talent pathways in girls football, the number of opportunities to engage with the Trust have never been greater.

For more information on any of the programmes provided, and to read the full annual report, please head to www.derbycountycommunitytrust.com.

Foundation of Light launches Futsal Scholarship

Foundation of Light is offering school leavers with more opportunities to kick start a career in sport with the launch of its Futsal Education Programme.

Kicking off in September 2019, the two-year course combines studying professionally recognised qualifications with the experience of representing Sunderland AFC in a national league.

Delivered in partnership with South Tyneside College, youngsters aged 16-18 will study and play at the Beacon of Light, one of the leading sports and education facilities in the country.

Ian Dipper, South Durham Education Coordinator and Football Scholarship Coach, said: “We are delighted to launch our Futsal Scholarship which will give those with a passion for sport another pathway to progress into their chosen career.

“Running alongside our highly successful Football Scholarship and Coaches Academy at the Beacon of Light, our students access the very best learning environments and sports facilities available, enhanced by our first-class coaches and education officers.”

Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced small sided football game normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey sized goals and a size four ball with a reduced bounce which creates an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing.

Many of the top world class footballers played Futsal in their youth and credit it with supporting their footballing development including Pele, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Xavi, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Scholars will travel the country to face Premier League and EFL clubs including Brighton and Hove Albion, Chelsea, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United in the EFL Trust Futsal League while studying towards a Cambridge Tech Level 3 in Sport and a choice of FA qualifications.

Students will receive regular futsal coaching from UEFA and FA qualified coaches to develop technical, tactical and physical ability while gaining the skills needed to seek employment in coaching, sports science, sports facilities management, personal training, teaching, or progress to further education at university.

For more information and to apply, please email Ian Dipper ian.dipper@foundationoflight.co.uk or call 0191 5634747.

To find out more about EFL Trust Futsal visit: https://www.efltrust.com/futsal/  

From Barrow Hill to Birmingham – How the SERVES tennis programme is bringing diverse communities together

A group of young people from Barrow Hill in Derbyshire have joined diverse communities across the country that are being brought together through tennis, thanks to the Tennis Foundation’s SERVES programme. 

The group are part of a community project run by Derby County Community Trust at Barrow Hill Park, a site which is among the top 5% most deprived communities in the country.  The young people have only recently started playing the sport following a partnership between the Tennis Foundation and the EFL Trust.

Not only does the programme take tennis to new places and new people, many of whom have never picked up a racket before, but SERVES Festivals now see these groups from places as diverse as youth centres, mosques and church halls all come together to play the sport in a fun and social environment.

Among almost 100 young people present at the most recent SERVES Tennis Festival in Birmingham were the group of new tennis enthusiasts from Barrow Hill.

Speaking ahead of the Festival and about the recent introduction of the tennis sessions for young people in the Derbyshire village, Jack Parkes, Community Engagement Officer for Derby County Community Trust, said: “A lot of the people here don’t have access to transport, or they might not have the funds or the knowledge of how to participate.  With us working in these communities, we’re giving them a chance to meet, a chance to come together, and participate in something they may not be able to do elsewhere.

“A lot of our participants are going to the SERVES Midlands Festival, and a lot of them haven’t really been outside of Barrow Hill, so it’s a really good opportunity to broaden their horizons and show them what they can do outside of Barrow Hill.”

Claire Wheeler, SERVES National Programme Manager for the Tennis Foundation, said: “The SERVES programme is really helping to change the face of British tennis, building a greater diversity of both participants in the sport and the tennis workforce.  Over a third of our SERVES participants are from BAME groups and 86% live in areas of deprivation, with a similar picture reflected across our Tennis Activators.

“We’re bringing new people into the sport, and taking it to places it has never been played before.  Tennis may not previously have been perceived by those living in some of the country’s most deprived communities as a sport for them, but the SERVES programme is helping to change that as the sport is opened up to anyone and everyone.  It is a sport which can generate so many health, social and personal development benefits, and provide new opportunities and experiences.

“We’re delighted the young people of Barrow Hill Park are enjoying the opportunity to play tennis and had such a great experience meeting fellow young people from other community organisations across the Midlands at the SERVES Festival.  Joining up with football club community schemes like Derby County to take tennis into new places such as Barrow Hill is exactly why we are working with the EFL Trust as one of our National Partners.”

The SERVES programme will be integrated into the LTA,  the national governing body for tennis, at the end of this year along with the Tennis Foundation’s other activities as part of a drive to open up the sport with greater scale and greater impact.

To find out more about SERVES, how to get involved and the impact it is having, visit www.tennisfoundation.org.uk/SERVES.

Latics stars spread Christmas cheer at Hope School

It was a memorable afternoon for pupils at Hope School on Thursday as Wigan Athletic players Reece James, Cedric Kipre, Gavin Massey and Kal Naismith visited the school for a special Christmas visit.

They met more than 50 children and handed out presents and signed Latics merchandise ahead of this year’s festivities, as well as posing for photographs with some of their biggest fans.

A number of pupils at the school met Gavin in the club’s new Blue Room before the recent home fixture against Reading, with the facility a designated pre-match area in the Family Zone for Latics’ junior disabled supporters and their families to enjoy inclusive activities.

Speaking at the event, Gavin said: “It’s a wonderful school and the work the staff do is absolutely incredible so it was great for us to come along to meet the kids. To put smiles on their faces was excellent and I’d like to wish everyone connected to the school a very Merry Christmas.

He added: “I recognised a few faces from when I visited the Blue Room and they seemed to remember me too, so it was nice to come to their environment to surprise them.”

Latics have had an association with the school, based in Marus Bridge in Wigan, for over a decade with the club’s Community Trust delivering multi-sport sessions to pupils each week as part of their Every Player Counts disability sports programme.

Pauline Lynch, Deputy Head Teacher at Hope School, said: “We really appreciate the link we have with Latics and the Community Trust and it’s always a fabulous occasion for our school when the players visit us. They probably don’t realise how much of an impact they have on pupils, but their visits give them lasting memories and we’re incredibly grateful for that.”

Please email Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Disability Football Officer Joe Pym on j.pym@wiganathletic.com or call 01942 318090 for more information about the Every Player Counts project and Blue Room.

Young Londoners funding to address street violence

Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) will be part of the biggest round of funding yet from the Mayor of London’s Young Londoners Fund.

CACT will be leading on the delivery of the Connect project with its partners the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Peabody and the London Borough of Bexley.

The Young Londoners’ grant awarded by Mayor Sadiq Khan is £150k over three years. CACT, RBG and Peabody are supplying match funding which equates to a further £90k.

Connect will enhance the existing youth service offer at The Link – run by Peabody – Woolwich Common Youth Hub and Hawksmoor Youth Hub – both run by Young Greenwich, the youth service CACT delivers on behalf of RBG by providing enhanced training to youth workers. This will help youth workers deal with the effects of trauma on young people and identify young people at risk of being drawn into youth violence who require more intensive intervention.

The additional delivery strands of Connect will then provide intensive one-on-one mentoring to build resilience and also provide a programme of positive diversionary activity.

Charlie Macdonald, CACT’s Director of Youth & Inclusion, said:

“CACT is delighted to be asked to deliver the programme alongside key partners.

“This is a major project that will support the aims of CACT’s refreshed Street Violence Ruins Lives strategy which will see CACT continue its commitment to working towards reducing youth violence.”

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said:

“The Mayor’s Fund will further enhance the support the Council is already giving to a wide range of children and young people’s groups across the Borough.

“In particular, the Council is investing £30,000 of its own funds into the Connect Project, alongside Charlton Athletic Community Trust and Peabody to mentor young people in Thamesmead Moorings and Woolwich Common who have been excluded from school and might end up turning to crime.”

The £45m Young Londoners Fund was created to fund local projects that provide young people with the support they need to fulfil their potential and avoid getting caught up in crime.

This funding aims to show young people a positive way forward through a range of education, sport and cultural activities. It is part of the public health approach to fighting violent crime that the Mayor is taking.

Connect is one of the first projects to receive the Young Londoners Fund. The projects that have received this funding so far include everything from theatre groups and employability training, to football clubs and art sessions.

CACT will be holding a launch event of its refreshed Street Violence Ruins lives strategy in January 2019 and will be inviting key stakeholders in the near future.

Wigan Athletic duo Nathan Byrne and Jamie Jones celebrate EFL Day of Disabilities at Hope School

Wigan Athletic first team players Nathan Byrne and Jamie Jones joined 20 pupils at Hope School on Monday afternoon for an Every Player Counts disability sports session.

The visit was part of the first ever EFL Day of Disabilities, an event designed to showcase the positive work of EFL clubs in ensuring an inclusive environment for disabled fans, with Nathan and Jamie taking part in a number of football activities with youngsters.

Funded by Wembley National Stadium Trust and administered by EFL Trust, the Every Player Counts scheme aims to get more young people with disabilities across the UK involved in football and sport.

Nathan said: “It’s a great feeling for the club and for me personally that you can come out into the community and do these sort of things that bring so much joy to the kids. They were really getting involved in the session and it’s amazing to be in a position to be able to give something back.”

As part of the Every Player Counts programme, coaches from Wigan Athletic Community Trust deliver sports sessions in schools, colleges and at Wigan Youth Zone on a weekly basis and have worked with more than 600 people with disabilities across the Borough.

Pauline Lynch, Deputy Head Teacher at Hope School, said: “The children will remember this visit and will talk about the time players from Wigan Athletic came to their school for a very long time. It was a day to remember for us and I’d like to thank Latics and the players for the opportunity.”

Every Player Counts

25 EFL Clubs 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.

The over-riding aim of the scheme is to increase the amount of disabled people participating in football reaching out to over 5000 people per year, breaking down the barriers that have prevented them from doing so.

Find out more by visiting: https://www.efltrust.com/projects/every-player-counts/

EFL Day of Disabilities: “Many of the young people involved have never attended a football match before.”

To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust gave a special task to children from our disability projects.

With the Community Trust engaging with 250 children and adults with disabilities each year, it is no surprise that we marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in a special way.

Children from our Short Breaks project, which supports children with disabilities through sporting activities, joined our deaf volunteers for the Guard of Honour at our Sheffield United Game last Tuesday. And Brentford players Emiliano Marcondes, Rico Henry and Moses Odubajo congratulated the youngsters on their important matchday role.

More importantly, for many of the young people involved, this was the first time they had ever watched a professional football match. Sherrie Carrington, whose son took part in the Guard of Honour, said:

“He has been non-stop talking about it – you have certainly made him a happy boy tonight! He was actually really nervous about being a flag bearer, in case he did it wrong in front of all those people, but in the end he really enjoyed himself.”

Established in 1992 by the UN, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to promote the welfare of people with disabilities and raise awareness of the difficulties they often face.

And the EFL, along with the 72 Clubs it represents, aims to highlight how football matches is an inclusive environment for disabled people.  Chris Tribe, Disability Project Manager at Brentford’s Community Sports Trust, said:

 “We thought it was really important to mark the EFL Day of Disabilities, and we wanted to invite some young people who have never attended a football match before, which made the occasion even more special. It was fantastic to see how much they all enjoyed the experience; not many people get the opportunity to step onto the hallowed turf of Griffin Park!”