EFL Trust are helping 10,000 fans tackle their weight

The EFL Trust are helping fans to tackle their weight, get healthier and be happier by joining FIT FANS, a free 12 week programme, launching in January 2020 at 30 Clubs in England.

The EFL Trust’s FIT FANS programme will be supported by over £2.25 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England and will aim to use the magnetism of football to tackle obesity levels in over 10,000 fans across the UK.

36.4 million people (61.4% of England’s population) live within 10 miles of an EFL ground, with four in 10 residents within this catchment area falling into the most-deprived population groups.

Sport England has identified lower physical activity participation rates among people living on low incomes and that is why they have joined forces with the EFL Trust network to help people create a long-term healthy and active lifestyle.  FIT FANS is one of a number of initiatives to tackle lower physical activity participation rates among people living on low incomes, which is one of Sport England’s key priorities.

FIT FANS is the operating name in England and Wales for Football Fans in Training, which was created in a Scotland by the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Professional Football League Trust.

The programme shows individuals how to:

  • Improve their eating habits by reducing portion sizes and swapping fatty and sugary foods for fruit, vegetables and high fibre foods
  • Achieve at least 45 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week. They receive weekly exercise sessions at their club for 12 weeks, and follow a personal pedometer based walking programme that encourages them to fit physical activity into their daily lives
  • Use tried-and-tested behaviour change techniques to become more active and improve their diet. These include regular self-monitoring of their weight and pedometer step counts and setting SMART goals to make changes that can be sustained long term.

The 12 week programme gives fans unprecedented access to their Club and a look behind the scenes.

In 2011/12, a large scale randomised, controlled trial study showed that 12 months after the programme, men had lost an average of 5% of their starting weight by making gradual practical changes to their physical activity and diet, that they could keep up in their everyday lives.

Mike Evans, Director of Operations, EFL Trust said:

“FIT FANS is an example of our potential to make a really significant contribution to the health of our communities.  We are excited by the prospect of rolling the programme our across out network and reaching many thousands of men and women.”

Patrick Brosnan, Sport England’s Football Lead said:

“We are delighted to see the success FIT FANS has had in its pilot phase at 5 EFL clubs in England and hope that the National Lottery funding to EFL Trust will go a long way in harnessing football fans’ love for the game to support more people to lead healthy and active lives.”

Nicky Reid, Chief Executive, SPFL Trust comments:

“We are delighted to have reached agreement with the EFL Trust to bring Football Fans in Training to clubs right across the EFL. The programme – which was developed in Scotland – has been life changing for thousands of men and women, in both the short and long-term. I am sure that thousands of football fans are going to love being part of the programme, and are going to reap enormous rewards by being healthier and happier.”

To find out more or sign up to FIT FANS visit: https://www.efltrust.com/fitfans/

Foxton Centre users welcomed to EFL House this Christmas

The English Football League opened its doors and welcomed members of the local community to EFL House today.

A number of adults and young people who use the Foxton Centre, a Preston-based charity which provides support, safety and resources for homeless and vulnerable people in the city, attended a Christmas meal hosted by the EFL.

Earlier this year it was revealed that rough sleeping across Lancashire has risen by 53% in the last twelve months and the Foxton Centre provides a number of services in Preston, including a community café, work experience and volunteering programmes and identify rough sleepers through their outreach work.

By holding the event, the EFL hopes to raise awareness of the important services the Foxton Centre offers and give back to those less fortunate at this time of year.

EFL staff were also joined by Preston North End striker Louis Moult and a number of academy players and staff from the Sky Bet Championship Club at the event.

Preston North End are a huge supporter of the Foxton Centre and last month, hosted the Big PNE Sleep Out with over 300 participants of the event, raising over £57,000 to date. The money raised will be used to buy and renovate a house in Preston which will provide shelter and accommodation for homeless people in Preston.

Mark Rowan, Communications Director at the EFL said, “The EFL is proud to be working with The Foxton Centre this year and welcome those across the city that use their services to EFL house.

“We realise that Christmas is a difficult time for many people across the city but by holding this event we hope the organisation has been able to make even a small difference to some people’s lives this year and raise awareness of the great work the Foxton Centre does here in Preston.

“We’d like to thank the Foxton Centre, Preston North End, Crave catering and Redline for working with us to make this event happen.”

Tom Drake, Head of Community at Preston North End Community and Education Trust, said, “Preston North End and Preston North End Community and Education Trust pride ourselves on being at the very heart of Preston’s community.

“As a club and a Trust, we are extremely proud of the partnership we have forged with The Foxton Centre over the last two years.

“The Big PNE Sleep Out is one of our highlights for 2019. To see over 300 proud Prestonians do their bit for some of Preston’s most vulnerable, is a testament to the great people of this City. I look forward to seeing what great things the club, Trust and The Foxton Centre can achieve in 2020.”


Stags duo bring festive gifts to young supporters


Mansfield Town wingers CJ Hamilton and Otis Khan brought some festive cheer to youngsters from across the district last night, attending the annual SSA Christmas Party.

The duo visited youngsters Jango’s Indoor Play Centre and completed a special mission set by Santa, to deliver festive chocolates for youngsters to enjoy when they met the man in the red suit in his special Grotto.

“We know how special it is for kids at Christmas, they love any little surprises and stuff like that – it’s always nice to give back to the Community at these times, especially when the kids always come to the games – it’s nice to see them and put a smile on their face.” Said, Hamilton.

Fellow winger Khan added: “We brought down some chocolates for the kids, all of the kids like that at Christmas so we thought we’d surprise them. It’s nice to put a smile on the kids’ faces.

Kids get excited for Christmas, they look forward to it all year round and when they come to parties like this they see their friends and everybody gets excited together. They get to meet Santa, it’s just a great time for everyone.”


The SSA Christmas Party is funded thanks to the donations and support of Stags Supporters Association members and is one of three parties funded by the organisation throughout the season, all are available FREE to Junior Members – working in partnership with Football in the Community to get young fans to engage and enjoy Football.

Junior SSA Members can enjoy a range of benefits throughout the season, including discount on Football in the Community’s match-day clubs, the next one being this coming Saturday as Graham Coughlan takes charge of the Stags for the first time. Youngsters aged 5 to 15 can enjoy two hours playing football on the 3G Pitches in mini-tournaments, before watching the big match with Football in the Community. Junior members can attend for just £12, non-members are charged £17 which includes the match.

Another benefit of being a Junior Member is discount on Football in the Community’s popular holiday clubs, with the next one being on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd January at the One Call Stadium, 10am to 2pm. Junior SSA Members can attend both days for just £18, or one day for £10 – non-members are charged £12 per day and activities include multi-sport games, coaching activities and tournament style football. To book, visit http://www.tinyurl.com/FITCJAN20

Speaking of Football in the Community’s activities and the partnership with the SSA, winger Hamilton added: “It’s really good, it gets them to do different activities, keeping them fit and getting them out and about playing with others – it creates a really good atmosphere.”

Mansfield Town Football in the Community would like to thank CJ and Otis for attending, the SSA for their continued support, and all the parents and participants who make every day extra special.

DSActive Football Festivals

During the 2019-2020 season, DSActive will  run three regional Football Festivals, in the South East, South West and the North. The festivals are aimed at players with Down’s syndrome, whatever their abilities. The aim of the day is for the players to have fun and play matches against other clubs.

Recently, on the 16th November, the South East Football Festival 2019 took place at the Charlton AFC training ground.

We welcomed nine teams to the event and played over eighteen 6-aside matches. For many of the players, it was the first they’d had the opportunity to compete in a match.

Sam, talking about his niece Alan who took part in the festival, said:

“Alan had the best time on Saturday. He was so happy and kept hugging me and saying thank you! He never plays that much football.”

Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) have been supporting the DSActive programme and running sessions for people with Down’s syndrome for over 10 years and everyone feels very welcome at the club.

Charlton Upbeats, a self-funded programme run by CACT for children and adults with Down’s syndrome, has become a firm favourite with Charlton fans.

The Charlton Upbeats players play matches regularly and enjoy trips away with the team.

Terry, Head Coach of Charlton Upbeats, said:

“Personally, I’ve worked on the Charlton Upbeats project for over 10 years now and it is by far the most attached I have ever been to a project.

“We run over 30 in our department alone, that’s purely because it’s like a small family network and we have grown close to not only the players, but parents and carers as well.

“We have seen the Charlton Upbeats lads develop in confidence as players and people and hope that the weekly session over all these years has helped to contribute to that.

“You get to know the families quite well over that space of time and the staff aren’t looked at as Charlton coaches but more as friends.”

To check out the South East Football Festival, Charlton AFC have produced a video of the day which you can watch here.

Upcoming Regional Festivals – open to all players with Down’s syndrome, with or without a club

  • South West, Swindon (14th March 2020)
  • North, Manchester (22nd February 2020)

To find a DSActive football session, please feel free to contact the DSActive Team on on email ([email protected]) or by telephone on 0333 1212 300.

Mind launch ‘Have Your Mate’s Back’ campaign

The EFL and Mind are now into a second season of a ground-breaking charity partnership which uses the power of football to help improve the nation’s mental health and wellbeing. 

With one in four individuals affected by mental health problems, the partnership focuses on the following areas:

  • Raising awareness of mental health amongst fans and wider public
  • Helping to improve the approach to mental health in football working with partners including the PFA
  • Raising funds to deliver life changing national and local support

One of the many ways that the partnership raises awareness of mental health is through Mind’s logo featuring on all EFL shirts for the 18/19 and 19/20 seasons. The design incorporates the logo into the player’s name on the back of every EFL shirt in the Sky Bet Championship, Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two. This is the first time that a charity’s logo has been incorporated into the shirt design in English football.

In addition, the EFL is working with its network of Clubs and community trusts to promote Mind’s message of better mental health and its services to millions nationwide. The latest campaign asks fans to ‘Have Your Mate’s Back’, by noticing if friends are acting differently, giving them a call or dropping them a text asking if they are ok. Mind and the EFL are encouraging players, fans and all in the football community to get behind the campaign by wearing their shirt backwards, displaying the Mind logo, and taking photos to share on social media.

Watch the campaign video here:


Mind is also working closely with the EFL to ensure Clubs and Community Trusts have programmes in place to support the wellbeing of both staff and volunteers that can be put into practice throughout the footballing calendar.

For more information about the services and support Mind can help with, please visit: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/


Corey and Daniel want to make a difference!

  • Tranmere Rovers in the Community host adult disability football sessions four days a week at Prenton Park
  • Two participants who regularly attend the sessions have now become coaches at the junior disability football sessions held at Tranmere on a voluntary basis
  • The pair want to raise awareness and help more young people with a disability play football and have spoken ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Corey Hayes and Daniel Garnett both hope they can encourage more young people with a disability to play football.

Corey and Daniel regularly attend Tranmere Rovers in the Community’s Adult Ability Counts scheme.

They have both enjoyed the sessions so much, they have decided to share their experiences and become coaches at the junior sessions.

Corey said: “What I would say to anyone interested is come along, and if you’re not confident, you won’t be alone, you’ll be in a group and we will help you grow your confidence.

“On a Wednesday, I help with the younger footballers, so I help work on their passing, shooting, movement. I want to start working towards my coaching badges and hopefully a full-time role will become available.

Daniel continued: “It is a good way of getting to know others and understand each other’s disabilities to try and support each other as much as possible.”

Daniel and Corey were speaking ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which is on the 3rd of December each year. The day recognises that from the world’s population of seven billion, one billion people have some form of disability, that’s one in seven.

Tranmere Rovers In the Community host disability football sessions four days a week from the Recreation Centre at Prenton Park.

Offering a supportive framework of sessions specifically aimed at local residents who have a wide range of disabilities, the TRIC team have been providing disability programmes for over 30-years.

TRIC delivers Ability Counts coaching to U16s every Tuesday, which have become popular with the young people.

Harry Edwards and Alfie Harrison both take part in Ability Counts sessions, and they shared their experience.

Harry said: “I enjoy being with my friends and playing football, we just want to come and play football.

“Faye Jones (Tranmere Rovers in the Community lead coach) is great and we all like playing football, we all know each other, and all want to play football.”

Alfie added: “When I first came two-years ago, I was quite nervous, but I knew that my mates attended and I would hang around with them, but now, we all know each other, and we all get on really well.

“We need to say thanks to Faye for giving us the opportunity to play and you should have a go if you like playing football, as the coaches are really good.”

To find out more about the numerous sessions Tranmere Rovers in the Community host, please email [email protected]

Mental Wellbeing a real winner for Active Minds Participants

Mansfield Town Football in the Community are delighted to report that the ‘Active Minds’ Project is creating a safe and secure environment for those struggling with social isolation, living with mental illness or living with Dementia.

As Football in the Community celebrates thirty years of Community engagement, they are delighted to be taking in part in the EFL’s Day of Disability, celebrating the excellent results of the weekly ‘Active Minds’ project.

Started in October 2018, the project works regularly with around twenty participants per week, and gives those facing social isolation, suffering from mental health issues or living with Dementia a safe haven to make new friends and enjoy a range of positive activities, including indoor and outdoor sport.

Marking the EFLs Day of Disability today [Tuesday 3rd December], participants and their loved ones have been speaking about the impact ‘Active Minds’ has on their Mental Health and wellbeing.

Carol Wright is the wife of long term attendee Peter and believes the sessions have helped to transform his Mental Health in the fight against Dementia.

She said “Since the group began a year ago he’s only missed two sessions through holiday, it’s his highlight of the week. He gets up a totally different person on a Friday morning and when we go away from here [the sessions] he goes flat again.

“People don’t believe the difference in him so it’s well worth it [attending] – he worked at the club as a steward for two decades and apart from watching the games, this is the main thing in his life.

“That sounds sad as he’s got grandchildren & family, he loves them of course, but this just makes such a difference to him.”

Mick Walker, 80, was diagnosed with a form of mixed Vascular Dementia in December 2018 and has been attending the sessions for ten months – “I really enjoy the company, being with the lads and having someone different to talk to” Said Mick

“The wife and I used to watch the games from the North Stand during our youth, so coming back brings back lots of happy memories.

“Everyone here is trying to help us I’ve made lots of new friends, it’s really good for all of us – all of the staff are brilliant, I really appreciate how they’re trying to help us with the variety of activities they put on.

“It gives us all something to do, something to talk about and really look forward too – coming here means you’re not sat at home shut down”

Norma Walker, Mick’s wife, has been stunned by the difference in the group has made on Mick “He really needs this session to keep his brain active, we met at 16 and have been married 61 years now and it kills me inside to see how the Dementia has taken its toll – he lives for Friday’s and to be honest, so do I, because he lights back up.

“Friday is his day, any other day he doesn’t like and he becomes depressed – he loves it here. It gives him a meaning to get up and come out, and as for me? Well I couldn’t be more grateful that this group exists, I honestly have no idea what I’d do without it”

Macauley Short, Football in the Community’s Disability Inclusion Officer, added “Not every disability is visible and as a community scheme we feel it’s important to highlight the importance of that. Our sessions are designed to be inclusive and engaging, and in both our Active Minds Chat and Sports sessions, we’ve seen a vast change in participants from their very first session.

“It’s OK to not be OK, it’s OK to seek help and that’s exactly what we are here for – everyone who attends feels a part of a family, they feel part of a group who look out for and care for each other.” 

Active Minds is open for anyone living with Dementia, those caring for anyone living dementia, or those with any form of mental illness or suffering from social isolation. Sessions take place at the One Call Stadium every Friday 10am to 12noon and are FREE to attend. Active Minds ‘Chat’ is an indoor session aimed more towards the elderly, unable to do more physical sport, whilst Active Minds ‘Sport’ is an outdoor football based session. For further information, contact Football in the Community, in confidence on 01623 656 920.




‘Every Player Counts’ provides the chance for all to get involved in football

As part of the EFL Day of Disabilities, the EFL Trust and Wembley National Stadium Trust are celebrating the relaunch of ‘Every Player Counts’, a programme which enables disabled people to take part in football.

A further £0.5m donation from Wembley National Stadium Trust will create new opportunities as the disability football programme moves into its fourth successive year.

There are 10.9 million disabled people in England, accounting for 20 per cent of the total population. Seven out of ten disabled people want to be more active and psychological barriers play the biggest role in preventing people from taking part in sport.

The EFL Trust and Wembley National Stadium Trust have worked together successfully for the past 3 years, to get over 11,000 disabled people into football. 28 Football Club Community Organisations across the country offer the programme, specifically developed for the needs of people in their local community, including both physical and learning impairments. .

As we celebrate EFL Day of Disabilities, EFL Football Club Community Organisations are helping fans to get involved in football, many for the first time, by delivering a wide range of local programmes. The magnetism of Football Clubs and the engagement with fans and the wider community provides a great opportunity for us to reach fans who may not have had a chance to participate in football before.

At Portsmouth, a programme runs for junior amputees, at Colchester, a Downs Syndrome group meet to play and at QPR, people who are deaf or hearing impaired play at the club’s training ground.

Following the first three years, during which more people got involved in the programme than had been initially planned, further funding has been agreed between the parties.

The new funding has been allocated to a mix of new CCO’s alongside some of the original providers with the aim of evolving and expanding provision and sustainability of the programme.

The impact of being able to play football can be highly significant on individuals’ lives as we have seen throughout the past three years. A good example is Ben, who has taken part in the programme at Shrewsbury Football Club.

Paul Evison, Ben’s father said:

“Ben has a muscle wasting condition. His muscles were wasting away. We brought him here [Shrewsability sessions] and he’s had a new lease of life, he absolutely loves it. Shrewsbury Town has given Ben confidence, that’s all we wanted – to get him somewhere where he felt confident, so his muscles wouldn’t waste away. I really believe if Shrewsbury Town wasn’t here and he didn’t do the Shrewsability sessions, Ben wouldn’t be here. This has kept him going. It really is a life changing thing.”

Mike Evans, Director of Operations, EFL Trust said:

 “We are very proud of the first three successful years of Every Player Counts programme. As we move into the next two years, we are pleased to add funding from our own organisation’s charity reserves to expand the reach and opportunities within this programme. We look forward to hearing the many moving stories that we have become used to as the programme literally changes and improves the lives of its many participants.”

Stewart Goshawk, CEO Wembley National Stadium Trust said:

“Every Player Counts has been our flagship programme for the past three years.  The range and quality of opportunities created for disabled people to play football has been so impressive, with participants coming back week after week.  We know the positive impact that football can have to improve people’s quality of life, and through this programme we have seen countless examples.  That is why we are delighted to continue our support for a further two years, with with an additional £0.5m to add to the £1m previously committed.”



Notes to Editors:

  • The EFL Trust is the charitable arm of the EFL. The EFL Trust was established in 2008 to oversee the diverse and important work that its clubs and Club Community Organisations were carrying out in their communities.
  • The EFL Trust unites the inspirational work delivered across England and Wales by the dedicated network of Football Club Community Organisations associated to the 72 Clubs.
  • EFL Day of Disability aims to bring all Clubs come together and share the positive work undertaken to ensure an inclusive environment for disabled supporters.
  • Wembley National Stadium Trust is the iconic stadium’s charitable foundation, receiving 1% of the venue’s annual income, distributed in grants for community sports activities, locally in the London Borough of Brent, where the stadium is located, as well as around London and more widely across the country.
  • Every Player Counts Clubs across the country are showcasing their work this week – for more information contact Michelle Robbins, Head of Marketing and Communications for EFL Trust on 07966206514 or [email protected].

Every Player Counts Clubs:



Bolton Wanderers

Burton Albion

Cambridge United

Colchester United


Doncaster Rovers

Exeter City





MK Dons

Newport County

Northampton Town

Plymouth Argyle


Preston North End



Sheffield Wednesday






Wigan Athletic