All Star event set to showcase EFL Trust Futsal scholars and coaches

Following the success of last year’s EFL Trust Futsal All Star event, the best futsal scholars and coaches from the EFL Trust network will once again get the opportunity to showcase their talents at the iconic St Georges Park on Wednesday 3rd April.

The event combines the best players from the 26 EFL Community Trusts involved in futsal at EFL Clubs.

Each Club has the opportunity to nominate players and coaches to take part and represent their regional team (North, South West, Midlands and South East).

All the nominated players are aged 16-18 and are studying with an EFL Club whilst also playing futsal.

Whilst education remained their main aim, in the past, students such as Joe Kenny, Alex Turfrey and Nathan Davies went on to gain full international honours with futsal and travel the world.

Read Alex Turfrey’s story here

Mark Dick, National Futsal Development Manager at EFL Trust, said: “Last year’s event was a great success. 

“To play at the home of England Futsal at St Georges Park is a fantastic reward for students for all of their work both in the classroom and on the court.”

At this year’s event, at least one coach from each of the regional teams will have been a former player on the EFL Trust Futsal programme that has now gone onto full-time employment with their Community Trust.

Callum Avent, is a prime example of one of these coaches. As a former EFL Trust Futsal player at Peterborough United, Callum went on to securing full-time employment at the Club’s Community Trust after completing the course and undertaking a Futsal Coach Education at Level 2 and obtaining a UEFA B Futsal Licence.

Talking about Callum’s story, Nick Shepherd, Community Manager at Peterborough United said:

“Callum originally did work experience with us as a shy 15 year old, during this time he came out of his shell and had a very good work ethic. 

“He joined the EFL Trust Futsal games programme with Peterborough United at Year 12, despite not coming out of school with the best GCSE results. 

“During his 2 years on the games programme, Callum volunteered as a coach on the soccer schools programme and it became clear he had a keen interest and good potential as a coach. 

“He worked so hard at his education during the futsal course and ended 6th Form with very respectable results, and because of this we offered him a coaching apprenticeship.

“After two years, he has since become an integral part of our coaching staff and I am delighted to see him once again selected to represent the Midlands at this year’s EFL Trust All Star Event.”

The announced coaches who have been selected to represent their regions this year are:

North – Graeme Atkinson (PNE) and Declan Bacon (Scunthorpe United)

Midlands – Callum Avent (Peterborough United) and Duncan Gilchrist (Stoke City)

South East – Chris Day (Albion in the Community) and James Phillips and Ted Jones (Chelsea)

South West – Jordan Guard and Gary Bell (Bristol City) and Jack Richardson (Bristol Rovers)

Last year’s winners South West lifting the trophy

To watch highlights of last year’s EFL Trust Futsal All Star Event click here

Charlton Athletic first-team players take on Upbeats in swim

Ahead of today’s World Down Syndrome Day, four Charlton Athletic first-team players took on the Charlton Upbeats in the second annual Players vs. Upbeats swimming race.

The Upbeats, run by Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT), are a Down’s Syndrome football team who regularly win tournaments up and down the country. The swim was to promote the upcoming Upbeats Walk – to raise money for the project – which will take place on Saturday April 13th ahead of the Addicks’ league match against current table-toppers Luton Town.

Last year the Upbeats, led by multiple international gold medallist swimmer Billy Birchmore, beat a Charlton team that included Jake Forster-Caskey and this year he and his teammates wanted revenge.

Forster-Caskey was joined at the David Lloyd in Sidcup by teammates Dillon Phillips, Josh Cullen and Chris Solly with the team led by Addicks boss Lee Bowyer.

The players edged out their opposition to the surprise of their manager. Bowyer said: “I think that is the first time I have ever put a team out that I have been scared that I am going to lose but it was a great race and I think another couple of lengths more and then the Upbeats probably would have caught us.”

Charlton first-team captain Jason Pearce managed the Upbeats on the day and he said: “The Charlton lads have worked hard for the last few months to be fair coming in the morning early and working hard, so they have done well but my lads, the Upbeats, will be back. We will be working hard and going back to the drawing board.”

Carl Krauhaus, CACT’s Head of Early Help & Prevention, who organised the event, said: “For me it just shows how the project has grown. With the support it gets from the club, our sponsors and the fans, we are looking forward to this year’s Upbeats Walk and I hope the fans come out and support this great project again.

“Last year was a great event but fundraising was down slightly, this year we want to have a bit of a push to try and get that level of fundraising back up which really secures the future of the project for the next couple of years because it’s an amazing project.”

The Upbeats Walk on April 13th starts at the club’s training ground in Sparrows Lane. Everyone that will be part of the event will travel nine miles make it to The Valley in time for kick-off in the club’s game against Luton Town.

Former players Robert Lee, Paul Mortimer, Bob Bolder and Simon Webster will be among those taking part in the walk.

Currently in its 11th year, the Upbeats programme is fully funded by your voluntary donations.

Rovers launch new Down’s Syndrome coaching for children

Blackburn Rovers Community Trust have taken the opportunity to mark Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week and today’s World Down Syndrome Day by launching a brand new Down’s Syndrome coaching session for children.

The first session of its kind took place on Monday evening at the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre to coincide with the start of the worldwide week of awareness, with the intention of making football more inclusive for children regardless of any challenges that Down’s Syndrome might present to them.

The new offer is an expansion of the consistently popular weekly coaching for children with a wide spectrum of disabilities, which has been running throughout the season and is regularly attended by around 20 children aged eight to 16 (though younger children are also welcome with their parents or guardians’ consent if they believe that they will be safe in an environment alongside older children).

Matt Pilkington, disability sports officer with the club’s official charity, is excited by the opportunities that the new weekly concept – hosted every Monday from 5pm to 6pm – will provide to the wider community, explaining:

“The thinking behind our ever-expanding disability football coaching is to offer opportunities in areas where we’ve identified a local need, and a niche offering for children with Down’s Syndrome was definitely one of those areas.

“The response to this new initiative has been phenomenal and we’re receiving a very steady run of requests from families who would like their children to be part of this new offer, so we look forward to seeing how it grows.

“The recent fundraising at the Preston North End game through the ‘Bring A Pound To The Ground’ concept and a generous donation from the football club means that we’re looking to offer the chance for representative teams suiting children with a range of disabilities with the chance to play for Blackburn Rovers at tournaments or at one-off fixtures.

“If the demand is there, we look forward to potentially being able to field a Blackburn Rovers Down’s Syndrome side if the right opportunities are available, so the more families that are interested in getting involved, the better chance we have of being able to let children live that dream.”

To express your interest in securing a place for your child at forthcoming sessions – which are normally priced at just £3 per week – please contact Matt Pilkington via 01254 508256 or matt.pilkington@brfctrust.co.uk.

Lincoln FC Foundation: William’s story

Today on World Down’s Syndrome Day, we highlight the fantastic journey of one of Lincoln City Foundation’s DS Active Football participants, William, who has been involved with the Foundation over the past 5 years.

William has been a part of Lincoln City Foundation’s DS Active Football and Multi Sports programme since 2014.

When William first began the sessions, his knowledge of football was very limited and he struggled to grasp the concept of the game and often wouldn’t engage in activities or remain focused.

Over time, under the coaching of Lincoln City Foundation’s Community Coach Dominic, William’s confidence flourished. Previously, William would be the first to give up, lose interest or turn down opportunities that are quite nerve racking or in the limelight, but not anymore.

He went on to represent Lincoln FC and play on Swindon FC’s pitch in front of over 7,000 supporters and has taken part in tournaments against numerous Premier League and EFL Clubs, cheering the Club to victory in front of 10,000 supporters.

Community Coach, Dominic said: “It’s fantastic to have seen him grow in so much confidence. His improvement has been a huge inspiration to us all.”

On Saturday, William also reached a huge milestone when he took part in a tournament against DS Active teams from Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Fulham.

Mark Smith, Inclusion Officer at Lincoln City, said: “Saturday was a real milestone for William. During a friendly match against Arsenal FC, he scored his first ever competitive goal. The pride and joy expressed on his face at that moment is one we wish to experience every single day.

“The pride from everybody involved in Williams journey to this point shone and spoke volumes.

“From everybody at Lincoln City Foundation we would once again like to extend our congratulations to William and can’t wait for more milestones to be reached as he continues his journey with us.”

https://twitter.com/LCFCFoundation/status/1108658930937409537

To find out more about Lincoln City Foundation visit: https://www.lcfcset.com/

To find out more about DS Active visit: https://www.dsactive.org.uk/ 

EFL Day of Action to tackle some of society’s biggest issues

 

All 72 EFL Clubs to demonstrate the power of football in changing people’s lives

All 72 EFL Clubs will come together to highlight the work undertaken to tackle some of society’s biggest issues for the EFL’s Day of the Action 2019.

On Tuesday 19 March, EFL Clubs across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two will each host events designed to showcase the very best of their work to tackle a diverse range of social issues, from homelessness and mental health, to community cohesion and the battle against plastic pollution.

Up and down the country, managers and players from the EFL’s 72 Clubs will also be attending events to pay special visits to participants and turn their hand to some of the activities taking place throughout the day.

  • In the Sky Bet Championship, Aston Villa’s Albert Adomah has been distributing essential supplies to homeless people in Birmingham. The Villa star joined the Outreach Angels – a group of local volunteers – to hand out hot food, toiletries and warm clothing
  • Bolton Wanderers’ will be showcasing their ‘Inside Out’ Programme which aims to reduce the risk of offending by 17-25-year-olds in the local area through positive activities such as sport and exercise
  • In Sky Bet League One, Luton Town caretaker manager Mick Harford will be welcoming the Club’s Every Player Counts disability players to the training ground for a unique coaching session whilst Walsall players will be giving out 300 tickets and t-shirts to local school children as part of the Club’s commitment to engaging with the younger generation of fans in the area
  • Cambridge United of Sky Bet League Two have been recognised nationally for improving mental health literacy in young people. The ‘Mind Your Head’ project raises awareness about mental health, tackles stigma and promotes good mental health, whilst crucially helping secondary school pupils understand and manage their own mental health, avoiding potential issues in the future

This is just small sample of some of the fantastic work due to take place during the EFL’s Day of Action by EFL Club Community Organisations – the largest network of sporting charities in the UK.  The EFL and its Clubs invested £80m in communities in 2018.

EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey said: “The EFL Day of Action brings together all 72 Clubs to highlight the special role they play in enhancing the lives of millions of people around the country.

“The scale of ground-breaking projects across our network of Clubs continues to grow year-on-year and their delivery is integral to our aims of improving lives in a range of areas including inclusion, homelessness, education and health.”

Wigan Athletic players visit former school as part of EFL Day of Action celebrations

Latics players Beni and Divin Baningime celebrated EFL Day of Action at St Jude’s Primary School as the pair returned to their former school for an inclusive PE session.

The duo, who were educated at St Jude’s in Worsley Mesnes before moving on to secondary education at St John Fisher High School, took part in football and handball activities as Latics were celebrating their work in primary schools as part of this year’s EFL Day of Action activities.

Wigan Athletic Community Trust – who were recently named EFL North West Community Club of the Year – have worked with over 6,000 primary school children across Wigan Borough over the past year and have upskilled more than 250 teachers in PE as part of their schools provision.

More than 30 of the school’s pupils enjoyed a PE lesson with the Latics duo, which included Beni and Divin’s younger brother Joy and sister Jessica, who are in Year 6 and Year 2 respectively.

Beni said: “It felt a bit weird coming back to school if I’m being honest because it’s changed quite a lot since I was last here but it was good to see some of the teachers again and the children too.

He added: “It was strange because I’m no longer the little kid so I knew exactly how the children felt and they certainly had bundles of energy! It was really good to surprise Joy because he’s usually very loud but he didn’t know what to say when he saw me and Divin so that was really funny.”

The EFL Day of Action sees all 72 EFL teams come together to highlight the work undertaken to tackle some of society’s biggest issues, with club representatives attending special events.

Joy said: “One of my friends in Year 5 told me that my brothers were coming in to school and I didn’t believe him and thought he was lying, but when I saw them there in the hall it was a little bit crazy. It’s not every day your brothers come to school and play with you so I enjoyed it a lot.”

The Community Trust have worked with the school for the past two years delivering PE and extra-curricular sessions to pupils three times a week.

Dawn Stevens, Deputy Head Teacher at St Jude’s Primary School, said: “I was Divin’s teacher when he was at school and he was always such a happy pupil. He had a smile on his face at all times and was quite a character who would often be laughing and joking with everyone.

She added: “To have the pair of them back in school for the EFL Day of Action has been special and it’ll be a day we remember here for a very long time so I’d like to thank Latics for making it possible.”

For more information about Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s schools provision, please call Gareth Nolan on 01942 318090 or email g.nolan@wiganathletic.com

Emily Price: “The traineeship at Wigan Athletic Community Trust is one of the best things I’ve ever done”

The traineeship programme – aimed at 16-24 year olds – is designed to enhance the skills and experiences of unemployed young people, making them better prepared for further education and employment.

Thousands of young people, including Emily Price, have got their careers off to a flying start thanks to the traineeship programme.

Since completing the traineeship in summer 2018 with Wigan Athletic Community Trust, Emily has recently started an 18-month apprenticeship with the Club.

The 20-year-old, who is a keen coach, with a huge passion for sport, helped deliver PE lessons in local primary schools as a part of the traineeship and states that this has been a ‘vital’ part of her development.

She said: “I’ve had a huge passion for sport since I was a little girl. I knew I really wanted to get into coaching, so to be given the opportunity by Latics was a real honour for me.

 “I was a little worried about it all at first though because I’d never really coached much before, but the more I got involved in activities the more comfortable I got.

“The traineeship is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It helped me to develop my confidence skills, and just being able to shadow the coaches and work with children from different backgrounds, allowed me to pick up new skills and learn ways to adapt to different sessions, which was vital.”

A traineeship also offers opportunities in fields such as business administration, media and hospitality, and includes Maths and English functional skills, access to qualifications, job application support, Club kit and bursaries.

“I met some great people on the traineeship and it’s not all about sport because you can go down so many different paths, which makes the programme an appealing one.

“If it wasn’t for the traineeship I’d probably still be trying to find my way into the sports industry, so I’d definitely recommend it because it brought me a lot of pride.”

Upon completing the traineeship, Emily successfully gained a place on the Trust’s apprenticeship scheme in September 2018, joining five other young people on the project.

“I knew I wanted to continue with my studies so I thought the apprenticeship would be an ideal thing for me to apply for.

“I’ve loved every minute of it so far and enjoy visiting schools and working with children.

“I’m ambitious so when I finish my apprenticeship I’d like to study a USW sports degree (University of South Wales), but my long-term aim is to one day get a UEFA Pro Licence, I really want that.”

Recently, Wigan Athletic were named North West EFL Community Club of the Year and were recognised alongside five other regional winners at Parliament for their outstanding work in the community.

Emily was chosen to represent the Latics as a part of the event and showcased her fantastic story. Talking about the award and being involved in the event, she said:

“Wigan Athletic Community Trust provides so much to the community. I’m so inspired to be a part of it because of the positive impact it has on so many local people.

“We are all very proud and overwhelmed that the hard work has been recognised with this award.”

To find out more about traineeships visit: https://www.efltrust.com/projects/traineeships/

Oxford United in the Community announce James Constable as patron

The football club’s official charity helps inspire youngsters to reach their potential and improve their health and wellbeing via the power of football, engagement and education. James Constable, known as Beano, played for United between 2008 and 2014 and scored 106 goals, making him the club’s all-time second highest goal scorer. As Patron, James will share his expertise and help shape and support initiatives where appropriate. The appointment comes as Oxford United in the Community celebrates its 30 year anniversary.

James said: “It’s an absolute honour to have been asked to be Patron of Oxford United in the Community and I jumped at the chance. I’ve such fond memories of my career at Oxford and have so many friends there. Community is so important and football clubs have such an opportunity to engage and help people and I’ve always viewed it as a privilege and responsibility. Oxford United in the Community plays a vital role in supporting people in the county and I’m looking forward to supporting the charity in any way I can.”

Chris Lowes, Head of Operations at Oxford United in the Community, said: “This is a major step for the charity. Having such a popular and engaging figure like James on-board will help us elevate the profile of Oxford United in the Community and empower us to deliver more results. We can’t wait to work with him and know his patronage and contribution will strengthen our cause.”

Greig Box Turnbull, Vice Chair of Trustees of Oxford United in the Community, added: “We wanted to appoint someone who understands the club, our community and the importance of the work the charity does. Plus, someone with an affinity for the club, fans and charity and who could help raise our profile. Beano was the obvious choice. He is a real role model who inspires so many in our community. When we spoke to James he jumped at the chance, which demonstrates his passion for Oxford.”

James joined fellow United legend Peter Rhoades-Brown as a Patron of Oxford United in the Community. Rosie was one of the pioneers of the community football initiatives in the late 1980’s which became the football charities of today.

Oxford United in the Community’s coaching staff deliver programmes in nursery and primary schools across Oxfordshire. They are qualified not only in football coaching, but in teaching interventions including Real PE, which focuses on the development of agility, balance and coordination, healthy competition and cooperative learning. The charity also delivers the popular Manor Club to the over 50’s to help tackle isolation in the older community.

Faye’s story – Albion in the Community

As part of International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the fantastic transformation of  participants who believe that working with our Community Trusts have given them incredibly valuable experiences as they look to progress in their careers and studies.

After quickly impressing coaches on the EFL Trust Futsal games programme with Albion in the Community (AITC), Faye Williams, aged 16, was subsequently accepted onto the FA Disability National Emerging Talent Programme aimed at identifying future England internationals.

She believes the support she has received from AITC has been pivotal to her achievements.

She said: “AITC have been very supportive and they have really helped me improve my confidence as a player. I’m so proud to represent the Club I support and wear the badge.

“During my time with AITC, I have learned the importance of reaction time, developing more intelligence in the game, the importance of communication and I have more interest in my personal fitness levels too.

“The high level of coaching has really enabled me to achieve my dream of playing for England.”

The teenager, who has a hearing and language impairment, signed up to play with AITC having been involved with the Club Community Organisation for five years.

She was spotted by AITC’s Futsal Coach Chris Day, at the age of 12 during a school football tournament in 2014.

Currently, alongside playing for AITC’s EFL Trust Futsal team, Faye plays for AITC’s under-18’s disability team and the AITC Talent Hub.

Faye is the only girl among 80 students currently studying on AITC’s two full-time sports diploma courses, which combine academic study with daily futsal training and competitive fixtures.

Talking about her experience of being the only girl on the course, she said:

“When I heard I was going to be the only girl I was nervous, but I chose not to let it stand in my way.

“I’ve grown up playing football with boys and even my school was 75% boys so I’ve been used to it.

“My advice to any other girls interested in playing football or futsal would be to give it a try and if you’re passionate about it don’t let anything hold you back.

“It’s challenging, fast paced and very technical so it can really improve your game.”

Faye is a fantastic example of someone who won’t let anything stand in their way of achieving their goals.

Looking forwards, her dream is to represent England Women and her coach Chris Day has no doubt that if she keeps on putting in the hard work, her goal isn’t too far on the horizon.

“I truly believe Faye has the potential to become an international futsal player, and a very good coach within the game at some point if she wants.

“She recently impressed the International Futsal Academy at Loughborough University, when we took a group of students there, and I’d love to see her move there after she finishes with us in two years.

“She has been an absolute please to teach and is a great example of the benefits of having joined-up the pathway within the Albion in the Community scheme from aged 11 to 16 and beyond. The EFL Trust Futsal programme has been key to her development.”

Sarah McAdam, AITC’s BTEC Programme Manager added: “Faye is an incredibly resilient and committed individual who has impressed everyone with her determination to overcome barriers in order to succeed.”

 

Georgia’s story – Bristol City Community Trust

As part of International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the fantastic transformation of  participants who believe that working with our Community Trusts have given them incredibly valuable experiences as they look to progress in their careers and studies.

Georgia Ward, aged 18, was a very shy and quiet individual when she first signed up with with Bristol City Community Trust (BCCT), but at the end of her course, involving education and playing Futsal, her hard work, determination and development in confidence enabled her to achieve her dream of securing a scholarship in America.

Making the decision to start a course in a new place around new people is never easy for any 16-year-old, and Georgia initially found this part difficult.

However, over the two years on the course, she came out of her shell and her confidence soared. She believes it’s the best decision she ever made.

She said: “It was a tough decision to study at Bristol City Community Trust as it meant going to a different place to all of my friends and meeting new people.

“I’m so glad I did it though, it has been a great experience and it’s definitely helped me get closer to my goals as the only path I see for me is one in the sports industry.”

Before playing futsal for the first time with BCCT, Georgia had a huge passion for football and states that she wasn’t sure about the differences between the two sports at first, but in time realised the many benefits that the smaller sided game has to offer.

“BCCT  have helped me to improve massively in both the skilful and control side as well as helping to make quick decisions.”

During her time on her course, Georgia really made the most of the Clubs fantastic reputation in the community [Bristol City Community Trust were recently voted South West EFL Community Club of the Year 2019] by volunteering and engaging in over 200 hours of work experience.

Georgia had the opportunity to work alongside talented coaches and inspire a younger generation of children.

Chloe Rogers, Sports Lecturer at Bristol City Community Trust, who was Georgia’s coach at the time said: “To witness the development of Georgia’s confidence and watch her go from a quiet and shy individual to presenting in front of the other students and inspiring many little girls around our community as a volunteer coach is so fulfilling.

“Her work was always at a high standard and the endless amount of effort she put into helping the community was so impressive, from volunteering on our holiday camps, taster sessions, sports days, Bristol City Women’s matches and in primary schools with Maths and English. She really was a model student.

“As a reward for hitting a certain amount of volunteering hours we presented Georgia with a signed first-team shirt.

“However showing what a kind hearted girl she is and her passion for helping the community, she auctioned it off and donated the money to a local charity.”

After successful completion of the course, BCCT supported Georgia’s dream of playing in America and after organising her athlete profile she received a number of offers from colleges all over the USA. In the end, she chose to take advantage of a scholarship at Parkland College.

This is what Georgia had to say about her experience so far:

“After spending a couple of days in the nearest big city, Chicago, and moving in, meeting my roommates, the rest of the team and the coaches, I am very pleased with my decision.

“I would just like to thank everyone who was part of my experience at BCCT as I don’t know where I would be without it!”