Brentford players prove a welcome respite for young people in their community

“Who is your favourite Disney princess?” is not the typical question a professional footballer gets asked. Yet 11-year-old Hadija asked just that to Brentford’s goalkeeper Luke Daniels a couple of weeks ago.

Luke, a 32-year-old goalkeeper with hundreds of league games and England youth international caps to his name, was taking part in Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s ‘Short Breaks’ project online, which supports children with special educational needs.

Along with questions regarding Disney princesses, he was quizzed on his favourite cereal and book before turning quizmaster himself.

Ghausia Amin, Deputy Education Manager of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said:

“Hadia was animated in the session with Luke, giving her the opportunity to develop her social and communication skills, speaking and engaging confidently with Luke.

“She is particularly missing school and her friends; therefore, with Luke joining in the session there was an opportunity for a new and fun experience – while in lockdown.”

Yet Luke isn’t the only Brentford player who has supported children and young people during this difficult period. Ethan Pinnock offered his pearls of wisdom to budding young footballers on Brentford FC Community Sport Trust’s post-16 football education programme through an online Q&A and Ollie Watkins spoke to ardent Brentford fan Callum about the benefits of the Trust’s activity packs from Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Josh Dasilva showcased his skills by challenging Trust participants to beat his total of 239 keepie-uppies in two minutes and six seconds.

All the activities are part of the Trust’s #BeeatHome campaign that was launched at the end of March in response to the Covid-19 crisis. With the government restricting all but essential across the UK, Brentford FC’s award-winning charity began to migrate all its front-line community activity online.

Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said:

“The interaction between the players, our participants and coaches has added a brilliant dimension to the sessions. The candid comments have provided our post-16 education students with an insight into the commitment required to succeed.

“In turn, some of the feedback from our participants show the high esteem in which the players are held and may help to add something extra to their performance when the campaign resumes.”

And as a football club that prides itself on its community spirit, is it no surprise that Brentford players took up the challenge of supporting children and young people during the government lockdown. 

Newly-signed Tariq Fosu helped run a football session for children from Brentford’s Football Development Centre – along with Sergi Canós, Dominic Thompson and Josh Dasilva recording messages to promote community projects online.

Shandon Baptiste helped Hounslow Council with some Stay at Home messaging by taking part in an Instagram takeover while Watkins, Pinnock, Canós, Fosu and Christian Nørgaard have spoken directly to, or recorded messages for fans over the past two months. Others, including team captain Pontus Jansson and defender Rico Henry have helped out with special birthday messages.

Brentford FC has previously prided itself on its players’ involvement in the local community: in 2019 its player ambassador project was shortlisted at the London Football Awards for “Community Project of the Year.”

For more information about Brentford FC Community Sports Trust online activities, visit www.brentfordfccst.com

Latics Deliver PPE to Care Homes and Hospices

Wigan Athletic have delivered 2,000 facemasks to Care Homes and Hospices with  money raised from Latics’ academy, supporters and players

Wigan Athletic Community Trust have this week been out distributing 2,000 facemasks to care homes, hospices and other organisations thanks to the donations from the Wigan Athletic Academy, the club’s supporters and first team players.

So far, over £2,000 has been raised to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to many organisations across Wigan.

Chris Durnan, Manager of Ash Tree Care Home Hindley, who received a delivery of masks, said: “A big thank you to Wigan Athletic for the kind donation. It’s heart-warming to know we are being thought about by so many different people in the current pandemic. Thank you especially to Wigan Athletic Community Trust for thinking of us and delivering the vital PPE to us in these difficult times.”

Wigan Athletic’s involvement in the initiative began when first team player Danny Fox donated to the initiative organised by his former Nottingham Forest teammate Dexter Blackstock to provide more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline staff.

Fox delivered hundreds of items of PPE to care homes and hospices in his local area.

Latics supporters then continued to back the campaign via donations with the support quickly raising £1,000 before Wigan Athletic’s academy staff and players topped those donations up by backing academy strength and conditioning coach Mark Stone to row a marathon in his back garden, via donations.

Wigan Athletic’s executive chairman, Darren Royle, said the unity of club staff and supporters to make such a significant donation makes him immensely proud.

“Firstly, I would like to thank everybody who has donated to this cause; we know the 2,000 facemasks will be genuinely appreciated and the staff that have been delivering the masks have spoken of the gratitude from all of the recipients.

“This is a perfect show of the unity required to thrive in the situation we are presented with. First team players, academy staff, staff across all different areas of the club and supporters have come together to donate to this cause.

“The excellent Wigan Athletic Community Trust have been out delivering these masks – thanks to the support of one of our long-term partners Westwood Motor Group – in a safe and responsible manner and I couldn’t be more proud that our people continue to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our community during this challenging time.”

How you can get involved?

  1. Donate as little as £1 to donatetonhs.com
  2. Follow up your donation with an email to info@donatetonhs.com stating either ‘Wigan’ or ‘Wigan Athletic’ to ensure your contribution is ring-fenced to Wigan and local organisations.
  3. Share with your friends and family and encourage everyone to donate just £1 to the cause!

“The feeling of helping your local community when they need it the most is priceless.”

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic the EFL Trust and its network of Community Club Organisations have quickly adapted, identifying ways to make sure we can keep supporting our communities and reaching out to those in need.

One of those ways has been through volunteering. We are so proud that some of our staff have risen to the challenge and taken their time to volunteer in their communities. Never has there been a more important time to utilise the ability of the Football Club badge to enhance and improve people’s lives.

Read EFL Trust Performance Management Partner, Claire’s story below:

Claire’s volunteering story:

I have been volunteering with MFC Foundation to support Community Integrated Care (CIC) to help recognise the huge efforts being given by their staff on the frontline.

CIC is a national social care charity which works with both adults and children with learning difficulties, physical disabilities mental health and autistic spectrum disorders in addition to those that have age related needs and dementia.

They really wanted to show their staff that they appreciate them, however all the service users they work with are high risk and during this pandemic it has been impossible to go out to every single centre and thank everyone individually.

I worked with nine other people, some MFC Foundation staff and some other volunteers from the local community to help deliver thank you packages to all the CIC staff working tirelessly across the North East.

Even better, I got lucky and managed to deliver to areas of Sunderland and Newcastle whilst wearing Middlesbrough kit (this was a challenge in itself!).

Honestly, I would encourage anyone to do some sort of volunteering as it has been so rewarding.

Staff were in tears that their employers had done something nice for them, some enjoyed just talking about their families and interests and some of the services users were so happy just having someone different to wave to through the window.

It can be something big or small but the feeling of helping your local community when they need it the most is priceless.

#EFLCommunities

Thousands of children and families will benefit from EFL Trust’s and Ferrero’s Joy of Moving Home School Festival

On International Day of Families, EFL Trust and Ferrero UK are launching the ‘Joy of Moving Home School Festival’, a full afternoon of home school activities and games to get children and their families moving and having fun.

Following the launch of the new online Joy of Moving Resource Hub, the Home School Festival will be delivered by 73 EFL Trust network Club Community Organisations and at a time when children are unlikely to experience the fun of their school sports day this year or missing play time with their friends, will offer children and families an afternoon of movement and fun with different games and activities to choose from.

The Joy of Moving programme, a Ferrero CSR project, has been supporting Year 5 children across EFL Communities in the UK for the past 6 years. The Joy of Moving programme has consisted of two elements; the Move & Learn programme and Joy of Moving Festivals. Over 310,000 children have been introduced to moving and learning new skills, all while having fun and playing.

Mike Evans, Chief Executive at EFL Trust said;

“We are delighted to bring the Joy of Moving Home School Festival to thousands of households across the UK. So many children will miss out on their Sports Day and our festival should offer fun whilst also keeping children active during these times.”

Our network of Club Community Organisations have been doing some amazing work in response to Coronavirus, and this is another way in which football is supporting the community and reaching families in all regions of the country.”

Charlie Cayton, Director of Corporate Affairs and communications, Ferrero UK said;

“We have had a strategic partnership with the EFL Trust for many years delivering our corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects the Joy of Moving Move & Learn and Festivals. We have swiftly worked with EFL Trust to adapt the programme to share our simple and fun unbranded games with parents and teachers, that give ideas on how to get kids moving through play. This includes a freely accessible resource hub for everyone. We are really excited to see the Joy of Moving Home School Festival in action.”

The games and activities are based on the unique Joy of Moving methodology, developed by Ferrero with key independent parties including Foro Italico (Rome University) and the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). This methodology inspires children to move through play across the world, whilst developing key skills in four major areas: physical fitness, motor coordination, cognitive functions and creativity and life skills.

The Joy of Moving Home School Festival will begin next week. Keep a look out for schools taking part and showing how they are having fun with the Joy of Moving online by following #JOMHomeFestival or to find more fun games to play visit www.joyofmovingresourcehub.co.uk.

“I really enjoyed bringing happiness and positivity at such a difficult time.”

A group of teenagers from Blackburn have started a campaign to support supermarket staff during lockdown. The #SOS (Support our supermarkets) was born through Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s Youth Board, a group of young people that have taken part in the NCS Programme and are passionate about making positive change in the community.

The idea of the campaign was to spread some joy through acts of kindness to the supermarket staff and security. The group recognised the dedication and importance of supermarket staff and so with small gifts and kind messages they hoped to lift their spirits and show their appreciation of their work.

Blackburn’s Youth Board usually meet monthly to catch up and plan their social action projects and ordinarily these were planned face to face at Ewood Park, however the #SOS campaign offered an additional challenge with lockdown. To overcome this the group facilitated Zoom calls to coordinate the campaign and get it up and running.

Shannon McLaughlin, an NCS Graduate and member of Blackburn Rovers’ Youth Board said;

“We chose this project because we felt it greatly impacted the current crisis happening around us and we wanted to do something positive during these difficult times. We couldn’t physically get together so we decided to have a video meeting to discuss what we could do. That is when we decided to create the Support our Supermarkets campaign”

Shannon was delighted with the impact it had and continued saying;

“It was the lady’s face light up I enjoyed the most when I gave them the gift and letter. It was like the worry lifted off their shoulders for a moment and that they felt appreciated. That was the same when other members of the Youth Board surprised supermarket staff with a gift.  I really enjoyed bringing happiness and positivity to such a difficult time”

Blackburn’s Youth Board is made up of 58 members, all graduates of the NCS programme, and have delivered a number of other projects within Blackburn including one that support people that are blind. The Youth Board is managed by Jade Elliot, an NCS Graduate and now full time employer at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust. Jade is extremely proud of the work that the Youth Board has done during these difficult time;

“I am so proud yet again of what our Youth Board at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust have produced. This campaign can leave a legacy and can continue beyond COVID-19. They continue to support people in need through such a difficult and unprecedented time which just shows the type of people they are. It’s a pleasure to work with such amazing young people”

NCS is a youth programme designed for 16-17 year olds that runs every summer and autumn, during school holidays. The experience is all about emboldening young people, by giving them the buzz of being an adult (without all the responsibilities). On NCS, participants live away from home and get a taste of independence. They mix with a new crowd of people and take on exciting challenges together. The experience helps young people to develop new skills that will set them up for life after school.

Due to Covid-19 and government guidance the Summer 2020 programme has been repurposed. As such, NCS Trust have launched a Staying Connected hub. To keep up to date on the repurposed programme or to find out more visit www.wearencs.com.