The success of Bolton Wanderers LGBTQ+ Youth Club

Bolton Wanderers Community Trust’s (BWCT’s) award winning LGBTQ+ Youth Club in conjunction with Bolton Council’s Youth Service, has been hugely successful in making a difference in the areas of hate crime, equality, diversity and inclusion since its launch in May 2018.

The LGBTQ+ Youth Club offers a safe space for young people to socialise with friends, meet others they identify with and discuss important topics and issues they may face.

Beth Warriner, Senior Development Officer for Youth Engagement at BWCT, plays a key part in the weekly running of the Youth Club and is delighted about the positive impact it is making in tackling exclusion in the Bolton community.

Speaking to EFL Trust, she said: “The difference we have made to the 15+ people who attend the LGBTQ+ Youth Club is amazing. Every single person who has been involved has said they have made new friends.

 “We tailor it to be ‘the young people’s’ Youth Club.  It’s all about them, they own it and it’s their night. It’s co-designed and gives the young people a real sense of empowerment.”

Beth also believes that the power of the football Club is vital in tackling areas of hate crime, equality, diversity and inclusion in communities.

 “The well-known Bolton Wanderers Club badge and the brand of the football Club is key. Campaigns like Rainbow Laces and Football v Homophobia reach out to thousands of people every year.

“During the Bolton Wanderers vs AFC Wimbledon Rainbow Laces fixture on 7th December, there will be a section in the matchday programme about our LGBT Youth Club and the group will also have their own executive box for the game!”

The young people in the LGBTQ+ Youth Club have also worked together to create a Hate Crime Awareness training programme with Bolton Pride, which over the coming months, will be delivered to young people across Bolton in order to increase knowledge of what hate crime is and how to report it.

Beth continued: “The fact that those in the group are at the forefront of the hate crime training is going to make a huge difference – they decide what is relevant and can share their experiences to really inspire others.”

Jaeden, a member of the LGBTQ+ Youth Club said: “The LGBTQ+ Youth Club has created a comfortable and safe environment, free of judgement, for me to flourish and develop as a person. It’s become a staple in my life and I look forward to it every week”.

The work of BWCT in the areas of diversity and inclusion was also recognised at the 2019 Bolton Pride Diversity Awards, as the Trust picked up 4 awards out of the 6 categories they were nominated in.

Beth added: “It’s amazing to see how far we have come since the launch of the LGBTQ+ Youth Club and to be recognised.

“Last year we weren’t nominated at the Bolton Pride Diversity Awards at all so to be nominated 6 times and claim 4 awards this year is phenomenal.

“The highlight of the night was having one of our LGBTQ+ Youth Club participants win the Youth Diversity Award…that’s exactly what this work is all about – giving young people a voice.

“If you give young people confidence, empowerment and a sense of belonging, they’ll only go forwards and reach their full potential.

“To put it simply, they are the future and the leaders of tomorrow. It’s so important that they feel accepted to be who they are.”

Bolton Wanderers will hold their Rainbow Laces fixture on Saturday 7 December when they face AFC Wimbledon in Sky Bet League One.

Rainbow corner flags, substitution board stickers and a club pennant will all be used, as well as Captain’s armbands and rainbow laces for players.

 

 

 

Over 10,000 young people make a difference with EFL Trust

This week during #iwill week, we are celebrating the #PowerOfYouth in the EFL Trust network.

Our Impact

In 2019, through the NCS programme, over 10,000 young people have volunteered over 130,000 hours of their time making a difference in their local communities across the country.

These hours have amounted to some incredible impact:

650 Social Action Projects

£230,000 fundraised for local charities and causes

158 projects focus on improving the local environment

179 projects tackled isolation and loneliness

144 projects focused on transforming community spaces

330 projects were delivered to raise awareness of mental and wellbeing

Cassie Barnett, an NCS Graduate from Sheffield, was a part of a team of young people on the programme using their social action project to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing.

She said: “It feels great to use our social action project to actually make a difference and raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing in young people and adults and change something that we all really feel needs to be changed.”

Watch highlights of our network’s impact in the video below:

#iwill Ambassador

NCS Graduate, Connor Burleigh, from Doncaster, was recently recognised nationally for his work in the community after being named #iwill Ambassador last month.

Connor joined fifty inspirational youth ambassadors on a high profile national #iwill campaign aimed at encouraging young people to take an active part in their community.

Connor is an EFL Trust NCS Graduate who took part in the life-changing programme in the summer of 2018 with Club Doncaster Foundation.

Since completing the programme he has made a huge difference in the community as part of Doncaster’s Youth Council for a number of years and was awarded the Princess Diana Award for his work on anti-bullying in schools as well as renovating a playground for children with disabilities whilst on NCS.

He said: “NCS opened my eyes and gave me a better understanding of the community I live in.

“It was amazing to be given the platform to make a positive difference through my teams social action project at Rossington’s Family Hub where we renovated the playground for the use of children with disability.

“The role of an #iwill Amabassador is something I am hugely passionate about, raising both the profile of young adults’ potential and also challenging the perception that people have of young adults.”

Watch the video below to find out more about Connor:

Utilita launch Kids & Girls Cup partnership

 

Utilita, the Official Title Partner of the Kids and Girls Cup competitions, marked the launch of their partnership with the EFL with a tournament which took place at Brentford FC.

Schoolchildren from Rabbsfarm, Marlborough and St Anselm’s Primary Schools took part in a six-a-side tournament to mark the start of the partnership and celebrate the Kids and Girls Cup competitions.

The event was supported by Brentford FC and the Brentford FC Community Sport Trust, who hosted the tournament. Wycombe Wanderers’ Adebayo Akinfenwa, Brentford FC players Josh Clarke and Joe Hardy and Brentford FC Women’s stars Charlotte Tanner and Nicole Goolab were on hand to coach the teams, acting as mentors for the round robin tournament.

Utilita are one of the UK’s fastest-growing energy suppliers and a leader in the smart meter revolution – installing Britain’s first ever smart meter way back in 2008. 14 EFL Clubs are currently partnered with Utilita, with sponsorship ranging from stadium naming rights to junior retail kits.

Earlier this season, the EFL and Utilita announced the new partnership, which will be in place until at least the conclusion of the 2022/23 season and will see the community competitions renamed as the ‘Utilita Kids Cup’ and ‘Utilita Girls Cup’, respectively.

Over 22,000 schoolchildren take part in the competitions each year, with the aim of representing their local EFL Club, as they battle for the opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium. The Girls Cup Final takes place before the Leasing.com Trophy Final and the Kids Cup Finals during the Sky Bet Play-Off Finals weekend.

In the run up to these Finals, EFL Clubs and their Club Community Organisation’s deliver local and regional stages of the competitions. By encouraging these young people to participate and develop a love of sport, the Clubs and CCOs are helping to deliver the EFL Trust’s overall vision to create stronger, healthier, more active communities, whilst also supporting Sport England’s ambition of creating an active nation by focusing on the benefits sport can bring to people and society.

The competitions have also historically played a part in the development of some now established professional players, with Will Hughes (Watford) and Scott McTominay (Manchester United) having previously represented their schools in the Kids Cup Finals.

Adebayo Akinfenwa said, “I think initiatives like the Utilita Kids & Girls Cup are a brilliant thing and are a must. To give children the opportunity to play the game and have the ultimate reward of playing on that hallowed turf at Wembley Stadium, which is a dream for many kids and adults, is immense.”

Brentford FC Women’s player, Nicole Goolab said, “It’s been great to be down here today coaching the teams and making it enjoyable for them to play football.

“I took part in a similar competition to the Utilita Kids & Girls Cup when I was younger and providing children with the chance to potentially play at Wembley is a once in a lifetime opportunity and an achievement they can hold on to for the rest of their lives.”

As well as the title sponsorship, Utilita will have a portfolio of rights across the Utilita Kids Cup and the Utilita Girls Cup, including digital rights and prestigious access at all EFL Wembley Finals.

The partnership will also allow Utilita to activate within communities nationwide across area and regional Finals of the respective competitions, as well as four newly created football festivals.

“We would like to thank Brentford FC for providing the location for today’s event and to the EFL, for their continued support in what has been an exciting start to the partnership.”

 

Plymouth Argyle’s Changing Room programme inspiring brighter futures

 

Mickey McCloskey, who admits he ‘lost 22 years of his life to drug and alcohol abuse’, is using his troubled past to inspire unemployed adults with substance misuse in Plymouth to find work through Plymouth Argyle Community Trust’s Changing Room programme.

Changing Room is one of many programmes that the EFL Trust offers through Department Work and Pensions (DWP) that help people who are facing barriers find work, many of whom with a physical disability or mental health condition.

The 12-week adult education programme is run at football Clubs around the country and looks after the body and mind with a combination of improving employability skills and health and wellbeing.

Employability is improved by teaching key skills such as team building, interpersonal skills, CV writing and money management and the health and wellbeing element of the programme combines two hours of physical health with two to four hours of mental health support every week.

The programme offers participating Clubs the flexibility to tailor their courses to suit local issues. At Argyle, an issue locally with substance misuse was identified and 15 people have so far completed the course since its launch.

Mickey, who is Plymouth Argyle Community Trust’s Health and Disability Officer and has been working for the Club Community Organisation (CCO) for 12 years, hopes to use his troubled past to inspire others on the course to make the right choices and like him, turn their life around.

He told EFL Trust: “I lost 22 years of my life and spent 11 of those years in jail. I’ve been there and know what they [those on the course] are feeling. I know what it’s like to get to that point where you don’t think you’re worth anything and there’s no way out.

“My ‘normal’ when I was growing up was drugs and alcohol; it was gangs fighting other gangs. All of my mates were doing it, so I did it too, just wanting to fit in – you don’t know any different. When you’re in that situation and you’re making bad choices and you can’t see a way out that’s your ‘normal’.

“I can see as I share my story with the guys in the room. They know what I’m talking about. As I was talking at one session about the knock on effects to your loved ones, one guy broke down and said ‘I can’t do this anymore’.

“At first, I thought he was talking about leaving the course. However, it all just hit home, it turns out his Dad was an alcoholic and he’s fallen into the same lifestyle.

“I think this was his realisation moment and he went to complete the course with a new determination. When I came clean, I went along to a coaching course that Plymouth Argyle Community Trust were running and started volunteering. I really enjoyed and kept in touch with the guys at the Trust, and it felt so good to have a routine and a responsibility.

“I’ve been clean now for 15 years, I’ve got a good job and a little boy. This just didn’t seem possible when I was sitting where they [those on the course] are now, but I want to show them that it is possible and that there is a way out.

“The choices I made were all mine, and that’s the message I want to get across. You have to make the right choice, not the easy one.”

To find out more about any courses available at Plymouth Argyle Community Trust, contact community@pafc.co.uk.

Millers recognised as Sports Upstander at #NO2H8CRIME awards

Rotherham United were delighted to see the Community Sports Trust honoured with the recognition of winning #NO2H8CRIME’s Sports Upstander Award at last night’s ceremony in London.

Head of Community Jamie Noble was on hand to receive the coveted accolade which saw the Millers recognised for their efforts in the local community to stamp out hate crime.

The high-profile event which was held at InterContinental Park Lane in Mayfair, London on Thursday evening saw other prizes handed out for awards including Parliamentary Upstander, Young Upstander, Business Upstander and the CPS Award.

The Millers, together with the Community Sports Trust wing of the club, are constantly reinforcing the message that nobody should be subjected to any form of hate crime. Our recent home games have been dedicated to reaffirming this message too, with fixtures played in support of the Kick it Out and Show Racism the Red Card campaigns, as well as the Hate Crime Awareness match which took place against Oxford United.

RUCST work closely with a number of local charities and partners who work hard to ensure that hate crime isn’t an issue in the South Yorkshire region and beyond and we are incredibly proud to have been presented with this award.

Speaking following the event in London on Thursday night, Head of Community Jamie Noble expressed his delight at the national recognition of the club’s work on the matter.

“We are honoured to be presented with such a high-profile award and to receive it at such an illustrious event,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.

“As many of our supporters will already know, we have done a lot of work, particularly this season surrounding the issue of hate crime and it is particularly pleasing to see those efforts culminate in us receiving this award.

“It is a privilege to work so closely with all of the people that we do in and around Rotherham around the topic of hate crime and without their support, none of this would have been possible.

“I would also like to thank the first team players and staff, who are always happy to support our campaigns on the matter and help to raise the profile of the important work that ourselves and associated organisations are doing in the community.”

Natalie: “Match Fit was the best thing I ever did, I now have a full-time role and can actually go on holidays with my son!”

  • Natalie moved to Blackpool 5 years ago as a single mother
  • She struggled to find full-time work because of her criminal record
  • After job searching for months, she came across the Match Fit Traineeship at Blackpool FC Community Trust
  • The programme helped her get employed as a full-time cleaner and massively improved her confidence

Natalie McDonagh, a 27 year-old from Scotland, struggled to find employment due to her criminal record, but after completing a Match Fit Traineeship at Blackpool FC Community Trust, she landed a full-time position.

Blackpool FC Community Trust are one of eight EFL Club Community Organisations (CCOs) who run a Match Fit Traineeship in the country, with their first pilot solely aimed at females due to the high number of unemployed females in the 25+ age bracket in Blackpool.

A Match Fit Traineeship programme provides opportunities for unemployed people over 25 to gain valuable experience in a particular work environment while also developing functional skills such as Maths and English, enhancing their employability competencies.

The programme marries up with the DWP’s agenda and broader client group, offering support for the older unemployed, single parents, and clients with a range of barriers and challenges, such as mental health, social isolation, and physical disabilities.

After moving to Blackpool five years ago from Scotland with her son, Natalie struggled to find employment due to her criminal record.

She received a call from the Job Centre about Blackpool FC Community Trust’s Match Fit programme and took on the opportunity to improve her employability chances.

She said: “Before the Traineeship I was out looking for work, handing out my CV and attending appointments. I really wanted to prove myself and have a fresh start, but I just wasn’t getting anywhere because I had a criminal record.

“I received a call about the Match Fit Traineeship and it was the best decision I ever made, taking it on.”

After completing the course and passing her Maths and English exams, Natalie landed a full-time role as a cleaner.

Three months later, she is excelling in her role and credits the programme for the many benefits it has given her, including helping her to develop her self-confidence.

She added: “Before the Traineeship, my confidence was really low. I was so shy and scared communicating with other people as I was always used to being on my own, but the course helped me build my confidence and find the courage to push myself.

“I’m really enjoying my role and all the things that full-time work can give me. Honestly I don’t know where I’d be, or what I would have done without the programme in helping me get here.

“Now I have a full-time role I can do things I’ve always wanted like go on holidays with my son!

“My piece of advice would be that if you really want something, you have to stick at it and never give up. I’d highly recommend the Traineeship programme because if you work hard enough there really is a reward at the end of it.

“People say they can see a big difference in me now, saying that I seem so much happier and smiling more and that I’m different to how I was a year ago.

“There’s no point saying you can’t do something, because you can.”

 

 

Peter: “Since being a part of Wycombe Wanderers’ Football Fans in Training, I have now ran the 6.8 mile walk that led to my heart attack three times.”

Peter Jemmett, a 61 year-old from Wycombe, has significantly improved his health through Wycombe Wanderers Sports and Education Trust’s Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme after suffering a heart attack whilst walking.

In April 2013, Peter was diagnosed with unstable angina after suffering a severe angina attack whilst walking to Adams Park to attend a Wycombe Wanderers match.

Following this, he had his first angioplasty and two stents at Wycombe Hospital.

Despite trying to improve things by making token changes to his diet and going on the occasional long walk, the problem was never fixed and he suffered a heart attack just three and a half years later in December 2016.

It was then, when he made the resolute decision to find the help he needed to improve his health and fitness before things could get even worse.

He said: “I’m not afraid to say, it scared me to think what the next 3.5 years could bring if I carried on the same way.

“I knew I had to take drastic action before things got worse, but I was feeling lost and uncertain how to carry on, on my own, after I had completed the cardiac rehabilitation programme at hospital.

“I saw FFIT advertised at Wycombe Wanderers and as a lifelong Chairboys fan myself being in a friendly and familiar environment that I treat as my second home seemed appealing.
“It also seemed like a natural continuation of what I had been doing at rehab, concentrating on nutrition and exercise.”

Football Fans in Training uses the unique attraction between football Clubs and their fans to improve the health of older adults, encouraging them to lose weight, get fit and live a healthier, more active life.

Fans on the scheme take part in a 12-week training programme delivered by their Club Community Organisation (CCO) coaches at their team’s home stadium. They are also grounded in current science of how to eat more healthily and become more active.

At the time of his heart attack, Peter was overweight with a BMI of 31.34. He knew this was something he had to change to reduce the risk of further heart problems, but was a little reluctant at first regarding the intensity of FFIT sessions so soon after the heart attack.

He added: “I was a bit wary that the training element of FFIT might be a little too intensive so soon after the heart attack, for example the running up the stands part. I hadn’t even attempted to walk up a hill at this point.

“But the staff were brilliant and gave me reassurances that I could work at my own pace, they were so attentive to my needs and provided good ideas and suggestions on how I could go about reaching certain targets. The gradual training really helped me.”

Since joining FFIT, Peter has lost over 2.4 stone and has ran in two 10K races, something he says he would never have even considered attempting before his heart attack.

“I could never have imagined the amount I’m running prior to my heart attack. FFIT really encouraged me to join my local ParkRun, I have lost weight and dramatically improved my fitness levels through this alongside the weekly FFIT circuit training.

“My blood pressure and heart rate has also been reduced and this in turn has led to a reduction in the dosage of my medications.

“Despite still suffering mild angina under exertion, I have received excellent reports from tests that has led to my discharge from hospital this year.

“It’s also worth noting that I have also ran the 6.8 mile walk that led to my heart attack three times!”

The popular initiative has also had a significant impact on mental health. Out of the five teams who have taken part on The Blues’ FFIT course, 83 percent have improved their mental health score. Peter credits the social aspect of the course.

“FFIT has given me the continued drive to carry on and keep challenging myself to go even further and motivation has been key in my recovery plan.

“It’s also fantastic to train alongside like-minded supporters. Although we didn’t know each other before the course, most of us have remained good friends and we meet up at matches, FFIT reunions, circuit training and even down at the local ParkRun.

“Though I knew what I wanted to achieve, I would have found motivation difficult to keep pushing onto the next level without the help from so many people at FFIT, they really deserve all the credit for keeping me on track.”

 

Oxford United in the Community and Oxford University Club join forces to deliver blind football coaching

Oxford United in the Community and Oxford University Association Football Club have launched a new football course for the blind and visually impaired.

The new weekly course takes place at Acer Nethercott Sports Hall in the Iffley Road Sports Centre. It is open to people aged 18 and above and is run by qualified blind and partially sighted football coaches.

The opening session was led by special guest Steve Cunningham, who played blind football for England. It was attended by able-sighted students from Oxford University AFC, to experience how the visually impaired play sport and to sport the launch of the programme.

The course has been made possible thanks to donations from Oxford United fans to the club’s charity when purchasing match-tickets which is being used to contribute towards the cost of coaching. Additionally, Oxford University AFC have donated the cost of pitch hire and Bucks and Berks FA have loaned specially adapted footballs and eye-masks. Other key partners include Oxford United, Oxfordshire Association for the Blind, Oxfordshire FA and Active Oxfordshire.

Chris Lowes, Head of Oxford United in the Community, said: “We’ve been working closely with a number of key delivery partners to make this course a reality and are proud to launch this week. This demonstrates what can be achieved when local charities and football clubs work together, and we look forward to making a positive impact for the blind and partially sighted community in Oxfordshire.

“Hopefully we can inspire people to take part and enjoy sport and become part of a wider community. We’re delighted to be expanding our provision and offering new opportunities to people in Oxfordshire. We’re extremely grateful for the generosity of Oxford United fans, Oxford University Association Football Club and the OFA for making this happen.”

Michael Thurlow, Football Development Manager at the Oxfordshire Football Association said: “We are delighted to support Oxford United in the Community to expand the disability football provision on offer in the county with this fantastic new and exciting project. This supports our ambition to provide everyone in Oxfordshire with a disability an opportunity to participate.”

The course will be run by Oxford United in the Community coaches on Thursdays between 12.30 and 2pm. It is hoped an U18 programme will be introduced in the future. For more details please contact community@oufc.co.uk.

Oxford United in the Community is the football club’s official charity and helps inspire youngsters to reach their potential and improve their health and wellbeing via the power of football, engagement and education.

The charity is currently celebrating its 30-year anniversary. As part of the anniversary celebrations the charity launched a Dream Big Appeal to raise funds in its 30th year to help it do more impactful work across Oxfordshire. People can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/OUITC30YEARS

Cardiff City celebrate Black History Month

Cardiff City FC Foundation (the Foundation), the official charity of Cardiff City Football Club, were joined by Cardiff City first team squad members Curtis Nelson and Leandro Bacuna as they celebrated Cardiff’s rich cultural heritage as part of Black History Month.

Working with Race Council Cymru, the Foundation welcomed young people from Cardiff, Barry, Ebbw Vale and Aberdare to Cardiff International Sports Campus Air Dome to take part in a football tournament and interactive workshops.

The workshop focussed on Black people in Wales and their positive contribution to society followed by a drumming workshop, an engaging and fun way to get everyone working in rhythm as wel as a workshop on hip-hop dancing.

Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African history and heritage throughout the U.K, educating communities on the impact that these icons had on history and the economic and cultural development of the country we live in.

Speaking at the event, Curtis Nelson said:

“Events like these are really important because they encourage diversity within the community, so I think what the Foundation is doing with Kicks is really good.

“Bringing everyone together by playing football and then bringing in that Black History element is a great combination and allows the young people to learn in a relaxed environment.”

Cardiff is a mutli-cultural, diverse community and Black History Month is a chance to celebrate the barriers that have been broken but to also recognise the issues that remain as we work to move equality forward.

Ibby, a Kicks participant from Llanrumney said:

“It’s been a brilliant event. Combining football with workshops has really made a difference in the way we learn about Black History. It’s also been great to meet boys from other Kicks sessions who share the same interests as me and play football with them.”

Kicks uses the reach and appeal of Cardiff City FC to regularly engage children and young people of all backgrounds and abilities in football, sport and development – providing a trusted, positive influence in high need areas across South Wales.