Satish: “The main reason I came was because I was lonely. I enjoy Extra Time because you can meet new people and develop friendships.”

 “The main reason I came was because I was lonely.” says Satish Ahuja a member of Wigan Athletic’s Extra Time Hub. “I really enjoy Extra Time because you meet new people and can develop future friendships.’

Extra Time Hubs is a national, run at football clubs across the country, that has given people who are retired and semi-retired the opportunity to meet like-minded people and create activities for the group that could have a benefit for their physical or mental health.

For local retired GP Satish Ahuja, Wigan Athletic has played a big part in his life from his role as club doctor to now enjoying regular activities with the Extra Time Hub initiative.

Funded by the National Lottery and Sport England and backed by the EFL Trust, Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Extra Time Hub aims to make a positive difference to the lives of retired and semi-retired people.

And for Satish, 84, the programme has been extremely beneficial to him and one he has really enjoyed.

He said: “I saw the advert for it in a local newspaper and I don’t live far from the stadium either.

“The main reason for coming was loneliness, I do have friends but I live on my own after my wife passed away and I thought I would come along to Extra Time.

“It was the first time I thought to myself to come as normally my friends would ask me to come here or there.

“I really enjoy coming, we are looked after every week by the staff you meet new people and also try different activities.

“We visited Fleetwood Market last year as a group which was an enjoyable trip. The sessions offer you the chance to make friendships and develop future friendships too.

“It’s very important for people to be able to meet each other, talk to each other and help each other and these sessions provide that.”

Having worked as a GP in Wigan for most of his life, Satish spent five years with Latics from 1978-1983 as the club doctor and a period he fondly remembers.

He said: “I was a GP in Wigan town centre and I was approached to be the doctor at Wigan Athletic through a friend and this was how my involvement began.

“At the time they had just been promoted to Division Four, Ian McNeil was the manager with Arthur Horrocks as Chairman.

“I was quite busy in general practice so I didn’t go to many matches but those I would go to would be on Saturday and then Wednesday evening. I really enjoyed my time there.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Latics ran two weekly Extra Time Hub sessions with over 70 members enjoying activities including quizzes, table tennis and badminton.

During lockdown staff have been in regular contact with members through a number of ways and have also delivered over 60 goody bags containing a number of things to keep them physically and mentally active.

For more information about the Extra Time Hub, please contact Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Extra Time Hub Activator Christine Blundell on c.blundell@wiganathletic.com.

Barbara: “I live alone so it’s nice to have somewhere you can meet people like yourself in the same situation!”

Whilst loneliness can be experienced by anyone at any stage of their life, it is often older people who find constant loneliness hardest to overcome and they lack the friendship and support we all need.

Lincoln City Foundation’s Extra Time Hub sessions are designed for those aged 55 and over and form part of a national project from the EFL Trust, with support from National Lottery funding from Sport England. Extra Time Hubs are designed to engage retired and semi-retired people by harnessing the power of their local football clubs and to combat both loneliness and inactivity.

As part of National Loneliness Awareness Week, we want to highlight how one of Lincoln City Foundation’s Extra Time Hub members, Barbara, has found the sessions to improve her life.

Barbara is a long-term resident of the Sincil Bank area and found out about the Extra Time Hub sessions from the Foundation’s Community Organiser, Joanna Okrasa, who approached her on the street. During a friendly conversation about the area, Barbara mentioned she felt there was not much to do for people her age, especially those who live alone. Joanna suggested she came along to the Extra Time Hub session on the following Wednesday morning and offered to meet her there. Barbara attended her first session has been coming every week since with a smile on her face and another story to share with others.

Barbara says “I am really pleased I met Joanna because I didn’t know anything about this sort of thing. It’s a place to meet, come and talk about what you’ve been doing during the day or what you’ve got planned.”

“I’m really enjoying the sessions at the Extra Time Hub, meeting people that I haven’t seen for years, who I’ve gone to school with. First time I went, there was a man sat there and he recognised me. It was a fireman I used to work with. He was in the same situation as I was. We have loads and loads to talk about. You meet people who want to talk, they each have a story that they want to tell you and each story is different. I live alone, so it’s nice to have somewhere to come to, place like this, where you can meet people like yourself, in the same situation. We do enjoy it. But I talk a lot so that’s probably why..!”

“I’d like to see a lot more people come to the Extra Time Hub. People that don’t come, they really want to think how nice it would be because it is a good place to meet people. I go on a Wednesday and I know I’ve helped somebody there. It’s an opportunity to share your problems too. It’s not just chatter, you can share things and be listened to. I recognise that. Not only that, off course, you do have some silly laughs. There are comical people there too. All makes it pleasurable.”

The Foundation’s face to face Extra Time Hub sessions remain paused at present during the Coronavirus outbreak, however members are keeping connected virtually through weekly online coffee mornings, via phone calls and through activity packs sent through the post.

For more information about the Extra Time Hub at Lincoln City Foundation or for support in accessing the weekly virtual coffee mornings, please contact: community@lincolncityfoundation.co.uk or visit: https://www.lincolncityfoundation.com/extra-time-hubs

How One Year on Our Extra Time Hubs Have Helped Combat Loneliness

This time last year, to coincide with Loneliness Awareness Week, the EFL Trust launched the Extra Time Hub movement to engage retired and semi-retired people to combat loneliness and inactivity. 

“We had a big ambition” said EFL Trust Chief Executive Mike Evans, “An ambition to help older people to create a national movement of Extra Time Hubs that will make a positive difference to how thousands can enjoy their later years.” 

“There’s no way we could have anticipated the situation the World would be in one year later. We are immensely proud of the work that our 11 Hubs did before the COVID-19 pandemic and even prouder of the work that our CCOs have done for vulnerable people during the lockdown.”    

Funded with the support of Sport England’s Active Ageing fund from the National Lottery, hundreds of people have joined the Extra Time hubs which are run at 11 EFL clubs. The Hubs allow people to decide which activities they want to do and not be prescribed for them. Activities vary from quizzes to arts, music and crafts and even bungee jumping!

A recent study from the Office National Statistics (ONS) showed that 5.0% of people in Great Britain (2.6 million adults) reported that they felt lonely “often” or “always”. Of those asked, 30.9% (7.4 million adults) reported their well-being had been affected through their having felt lonely in the past seven days.

The Hubs have helped people like Barbara, who attends Lincoln City’s sessions.   

She says, “I’m really enjoying the Extra Time Hub, meeting people that I haven’t seen for years. The first time I went, there was a man sat there and he recognised me. It was a fireman I used to work with. He was in the same situation as I was. We have loads and loads to talk about. You meet people who want to talk, they each have a story that they want to tell you and each story is different. I live alone, so it’s nice to have somewhere to come to, place like this, where you can meet people like yourself, in the same situation. We do enjoy it. But I talk a lot so that’s probably why..!”

Recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts have stepped up to ensure the hubs can continue and the members not left isolated. Hubs now meet online, WhatsApp groups have been set up and regular phone calls being made by Community teams, players and managers, to check on people’s wellbeing.  There have also been food deliveries made to particularly vulnerable members. 

Stella who attends Bolton’s hub, says “I can honestly say that when we did the first Extra Time Hubs Zoom I think it was the first time that I had laughed so much since the lockdown started I have contact with family but they have busy lives. It’s so nice seeing everyone after so long thank you for keeping in touch.”

Alan loses over 2.5 stone on FIT FANS programme with Middlesbrough

Over 600 primary school children to benefit from free resources thanks to Wigan Athletic Community Trust

Over 600 primary school children will benefit from free resources provided from Wigan Athletic Community Trust this week.

Staff from the club’s official charity are working with a number of local schools to deliver activity packs this week to 638 children.

The packs will provide youngsters and their families with the chance to enjoy a number of fun games and activities at home with bags including a soft football, learning resources, balloons, snacks and a stationary set.

The Community Trust have worked with over 4,000 primary school children in the last year through the Premier League Primary Stars programme, which provides PE coaching, after school clubs and support for pupils with literacy and numeracy as well as working with teachers to develop their confidence in delivering PE.

Helen Grindley, PE lead at St Oswald’s Primary School said: “A big thank you to Wigan Athletic Community Trust for the goody bags which the children have received this week. 

“There are some great resources and ideas in them to keep the children busy and active whilst they are having to stay at home during this difficult time. Thank you very much again.”

The Trust also recently delivered 150 packs to pre-school children and their families with no access to internet.

School Services Manager for Wigan Athletic, Gareth Nolan, said: “Over this difficult period, we have had to adapt as an organisation.

“Even though we are unable to work in schools, we are able to provide these activity packs to keep the children and their families physically and mentally active whilst at home.

“We are committed to enhancing the lives of children and young people who need it most, and these packs will certainly do that.

“I must also add a big thank you to Cathy Robinson, Wigan’s School Games Organiser, who has offered her time and effort to assist us in putting the bags together which has been a great help.”

For more information please email Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Schools Services Manager Gareth Nolan on g.nolan@wiganathletic.com.

Carers Week: Aliyah’s story

As part of Carers Week, we take a look at Aliyah’s story, an inspirational young carer from Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust’s Young Carers project.

Aliyah’s story

Aliyah, who is 17, has cared for her Mum since she was six years old. Her responsibilities involve doing the shopping, cleaning the house, cooking for the family and when her mum isn’t very well, taking her up to bed. All of this, alongside studying and working at the weekend to pay for things she wants.

Recently, Aliyah had to leave her job due to isolation during lockdown and continue caring for her mum as she is at risk if she leaves the house.

Aliyah has been attending Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust’s Young Carers project since she was 10 and believes the project has offered her huge support and respite in her life. This hasn’t stopped during the difficult time.

She said:

“The Young Carers project has been a constant over the years for me, it has supported me and helped me figure out my place in the world, all while having fun!”

Brentford’s Young Carers project has been running for over 9 years supporting young carers with group sessions to meet young people in a similar situations, homework clubs, weekly youth clubs, and activities to offer respite.

Since COVID-19, Brentford have been engaging through online platforms hosting quizzes, drop-ins and contacting each young carer to check in on their welfare and offer support during a difficult time.

Aliyah continued:

“The support has been great since we had to isolate. I have had a few calls from Brentford. It’s nice to know that other people are thinking about you and offering help.”

Kathryn Sobczak, Brentford’s Young Carers Co-ordinator, has noticed the transformation of Aliyah over her time on the programme.

She said:

“Aliyah has been part of the Young Carers project for 7 years now, starting off quite a quiet young girl, now full of confidence.

“This is really evident for us to see throughout the time we have known her. She has stepped up in the project to support the younger carers, acting as a mentor.

“In more recent years Aliyah has attended our transition project to support her with CV writing, interview skills and attending to get an insight to the working world.”

Aliyah has also expressed a keen interest in giving back and volunteering at the Young Carers programme that has supported her over the years when she reaches 18 and her time on the programme ends.

During lockdown, Aliyah was keen to share her journey and have her voice heard through NCS’ ‘Youth Rising’ Podcast. Please click here to listen.

Over 250,000 children had fun with the Joy of Moving Home School Festival

The Joy of Moving Home School festival reached over 1,300 schools and engaged with thousands of families across England and Wales.

Recognising that children would miss out on their school sports day this year, the Joy of Moving Home School Festival aimed to fill that void and give children and families great activities to do at home.

The Home School Festival is part of the Joy of Moving programme which is an unbranded CSR project by Ferrero designed to help children develop valuable life skills and get moving.

Over the last six years, it has been developed and delivered in the UK in partnership with the English Football League Trust, through a combination of unbranded play-based games and classroom learning.

Following the launch of the new online Resource Hub, the network of 73 Club Community Organisations delivered the Joy of Moving Home School Festival, using the power of football to engage with children, families and schools.

The digital festival was born in lockdown, repurposing the traditional delivery of the Joy of Moving programme during which Community Club Organisations deliver a festival in schools engaging all ages in games and activities throughout a single day.

The current circumstances meant this was not possible and so the Joy of Moving Home School Festival was created so that families and children could have an afternoon of games and activities to get them moving and have fun in the safety of their homes.

Mike Evans, Chief Executive at EFL Trust said;

“The response to the Home School Festivals have been incredible. The EFL Trust team and our partners at Ferrero were determined to offer an alternative sports day and range of activities. The campaign engaged over 250,000 children across over 1,300 schools and also reached over 8 million people through social media.

Home-schooling is a huge challenge for families across the country. The Joy of Moving Home School Festival was there to offer respite and fun for families in the safety of their own homes. I want to thank all the families for getting involved in the festival, and we encourage them to keep playing these games and activities.”

Charlie Cayton, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications at Ferrero UK, comments:

“Playing is an important element in children’s growth and development – and we know that children are more like to be active if they are enjoying themselves. Following the nation’s lockdown, we wanted to support parents at home to help them get children moving through play and having fun. Our Joy of Moving Festivals brings a smile to over 20,000 children in schools every year and we wanted to support families remotely by delivering this fun day of activity at home through our resource hub and partners at the English Football League Trust.“

Take a look at the festival hashtag #JOMHomeFestival to see what happened.

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.

To get involved with the Joy of Moving Games visit www.joyofmovingresourcehub.co.uk 

Mel and Grace’s voluntary work leaves lasting positive impact on local community

As part of Volunteers Week we take a look at Mel and Grace, two inspirational young volunteers whose work has made football accessible for women of all ages in Bristol. 

The voluntary work completed by the inspirational duo has left a lasting positive impact on their local community and has created opportunities for the two youngsters.

Mel and Grace began their journey with Bristol City Robins Foundation seven years ago when, having become too old to attend the Foundation’s holiday camps, they offered to volunteer and help run the camps. The commitment and desire to help their local community was quickly noted by staff at the Robins Foundation and the pair were invited to become members of the newly formed Youth Council – a body of young people who help shape the Foundation’s delivery.

Frustrated by lack of opportunities available for women and girls to get involved in football, something both Mel and Grace had first-hand experience of, the duo, along with their fellow youth councillors, embarked on a mission to address the issue head on.

This mission led to council helping the Robins Foundation to setup the innovative F3 (Free Female Fitness) programme, which provides women and girls of all ages the chance to have fun and engage in football and fitness free of charge. The innovative project has three level catering for the varying need of women and girls aged 6-100. F3 Mini Girls Hub is for girls ages 6-11 and looks to get girls into football by having a positive social environment for them to learn and develop. F3 PL Girls Hub is for ages 11-16 helps young girls transition into grassroots or representative football and F3 female fitness is for anyone aged 16-100 and provides a safe, fun environment where participants can get fit.

The project continues to run digitally on a bi-weekly basis during this period of lockdown.

The work of Grace, Mel and the rest of the Youth Council in setting up this project was recognised on a national level with the programme winning the FA’s national participation award in 2017/18. The project has gone from strength to strength since its conception with over 80 women and girls regularly taking part in these sessions.

The way the project has brought people from different generations together is embodied by Ruby, Alena, Mandy, and Diane – four generations of women from one family who all participate in the F3 sessions.

Ruby, aged 14, was already attending the Girls Hub and her mum Alena, would be there to drop her off so having a session that she can join in with during this time has been ideal. However, not wanting to go alone she brought her mum Mandy, Ruby’s Nan. Not wanting to be left out Great Nan Diane, who hadn’t played football in around fifty years, joined in too, she said:

“It’s really nice to be getting active and playing sports again. I haven’t played for many years!”

Alena, who had never played football at all before, has lost over 2 stone since taking part in the sessions.   

Robins Foundation Projects and Partnerships Manager, James Edwards commented: “Mel, Grace and all of the Youth Council are an absolute credit to the Foundation.


“They have all worked tirelessly to help improve their community for everyone.”

Their voluntary work has led to opportunities for both of the youngsters; with Grace gaining full-time employment as an Apprentice Coach with the Robins Foundation and Mel further developing her coaching skills on one of Bristol City Robins Foundation’s higher education programmes (Foundation Degree in Community Coaching).

Lucy: “Volunteering has given me a sense of purpose. It’s a great feeling helping my local community.”

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.

Lucy’s volunteering story:

When COVID-19 hit the UK and Boris started with the daily announcements, it quickly hit home at how serious this pandemic was going to be, for the country and our local communities.

Working within EFL Trust and being surrounded by fantastic organisations that are constantly helping the community, my first thoughts were ‘what can I do to help?’

At one of the awaited announcements from the Prime Minister he launched an initiative called ‘NHS Volunteer Responders’, a group of volunteers that would help in their community to support non-medical tasks and those that were having to self-isolate due to specific medical conditions.

I signed up the next morning and after a couple of days going through checks and procedures I became an official NHS Volunteer Responder.

The jobs have varied and increased significantly since the app was launched, ranging from me doing many shopping trips for people, transporting people home from hospital to a check in and chat to support those in isolation over the phone.

Shopping trips in the north have not been without their challenges, toilet roll and flour has been like gold dust up here, so the jobs have not been as easy as they seem at times and phone calls with the isolated have racked up to hours at times… I know I can talk!

I have had lots of comments from those using the service that we are doing a fabulous job but I believe I have got more out of this experience than those I am helping.

After being furloughed, I think it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling you have a lack of purpose in the day, as we are so far away from normality and a normal daily routine.

So volunteering has certainly kept me busy and given me a sense of purpose. It is a great feeling helping my local community and the NHS in a small way at this time.

#EFLCommunities