Kickstart Provides a Gateway into Employment for Recent Graduate Isobel

Despite attaining a first-class degree, Isobel, like countless of other young university graduates, struggled with entering the workplace during the pandemic. However, with the assistance of the Kickstart Scheme, Isobel was offered the opportunity to work with the Bristol City Robins Foundation.

After graduating from a degree in English Literature, Isobel had to endure over 6 months of strenuous job searching, applying to ‘hundreds of jobs’, including admin, reception, and supermarket jobs, with mostly no replies and no encouragement.

“I was told by employers that I wasn’t experienced enough for graduate/entry level jobs in media. Finding work as a graduate in the middle of the pandemic was impossible, even though I had a first-class degree.”

Isobel’s luck changed when she encountered the Kickstart programme, which provided the perfect opportunity for her to gain exposure to the working environment.

Joining the Bristol City Robins Foundation as a Video Producer, Isobel was driven to finally apply herself within employment. Her role encompassed producing all the promotional and human-impact stories within the community. This involved filming and editing, directing photoshoots, training junior video staff, interviewing players, managers, and even the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees.

“I gained further professional experience as a video producer and as a member of a fast-paced media team. I learned how the world of football media works. It’s given me more confidence in my technical abilities, so I felt qualified when applying for video production jobs.”

Equipped with newfound skills, experiences, and confidence, Isobel is now onto the next chapter, after securing employment with American multinational broadcast company A+E Networks in London.

“I loved working with the Robins Foundation, and I learnt so much. It was great to be given a lot of freedom in my work. When I first started, I felt like I’d been thrown in the deep end, in the best way possible, and because of this, I’ve learnt so much.”

Click here to find out more about Kickstart.

Lincoln City’s Conversation Club helps Quenia succeed in England

Lincoln City Foundation’s Conversation Club has allowed Brazilian native, Quenia to progress her nursing career in England.

Conversation Club is a free initiative hosted by Lincoln City Foundation to aid those who do not consider English as their first language. It was identified as a barrier for those in the local community to feel integrated and part of society and instead left them unsettled and isolated. However, through funding from the National Lottery, Conversation Club can tackle and help irradicate these societal barriers of inclusion.

Quenia joined the classes after settling in Lincoln, a vast World away from her home in Brazil but was understandably reserved when participating in open discussions due to her lack of confidence in conversing in English. As she consistently attended the club, Quenia’s belief and self-confidence continuously rose as she made friends.

In order to ensure this upwards trajectory continued to be nurtured, she secured a voluntary role in a Charity shop so she could regularly practice speaking with customers. All this effort, hard-work and determination meant after 9 months of attending the Conversation Club Quenia was successful in being accepted for a Care Assistant role similar to her profession in Brazil.

As Lincoln have adapted to a new hybrid way of delivery, this service has been made accessible to those far and wide with both in person and online sessions. Consequently, not only can residents of Lincoln attend but even those who reside in countries all over the World.

FIT FANS gave Jonathan’s children a fitter, happier dad

The pandemic caused many of us to fall into a pit of anxiety and stress and for Jonathan Sutcliffe this was no different. To combat these overriding emotions, he turned to increase his workload and left little time to look after himself or spend time with his children.

As he noticed this trend, he came across Bradford City Community Foundation’s FIT BANTAMS on Facebook but remained apprehensive for a while even after attending the programme, but he credits the staff’s approach to ensure all participants are welcomed.

FIT BANTAMS is a sector of the EFL Trust FIT FANS programme, which is funded by Sport England through the National Lottery and run at around 40 EFL Clubs across the country.

With the programmes approach to education and adaptation through small, manageable changes Jonathan first notably saw his step count increase from just an average of 500 per day to 20,000 per day.

“I am now doing regular 3-mile walks, attending the weekly FIT BANTAMS football session every week and playing football with the kids a lot more.”

But most importantly, through exercise and playing sport with his children, his stress levels decreased so not only has his life benefited from these changes, but his kids now have a more active, happier dad.

“I now play football with my kids on a regular basis and my family, friends and colleagues have all mentioned how much more relaxed I am.”

Although Jonathan’s successes extended to both his working and personal life, he has also seen drastic developments in his weight. His weight has dropped by a stone, and it has continued in this steady trajectory as Jonathan is at his lowest weight in over a decade.


Find out more about FIT FANS here

Through the Government’s Kickstart scheme, Victoria was given a way back into work

Like many young people during the pandemic, Victoria Conboy spent several months out of work, before being employed as an Admin Officer with Wigan Athletic Community Trust, through the government’s Kickstart programme in May this year.

For Victoria, the opportunity to get back into work with Wigan Athletic Community Trust, through the Kickstart programme, provided her with a positive moment during a difficult time for the 20-year-old:

“I found the pandemic quite difficult as I couldn’t see my family at a time when I lost two of my aunties, and I was unable to grieve properly or attend their funerals. I think if I didn’t have my dog during this tough time of feeling isolated, it could have been a lot worse.”

“But when I got this job, it allowed me to go out and see people and have a bit of normality back in my life, this helped me greatly.”

In partnership with the EFL Trust, Latics are one of 65 EFL clubs involved in the programme across the country that is offering six-month job roles to young people, aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit.

“My experience with Wigan Athletic Community Trust has been better than I could have imagined.”

Now nearly five months into her role, Victoria is one of seven young people in current employment with Wigan Athletic Community Trust through the programme and explains how it’s benefited her so far.

“I have had a similar role to this before, so I knew I couple pick it up quickly. Everyone is really kind, helpful and offer me any support when I need it.”

“It’s also given me more confidence when speaking to people over the phone and in person too.”

Alongside the Kickstart scheme, Wigan Athletic Community Trust also provides several educational opportunities and sports qualifications for young people through its current Training and Skills, including a Level 2 and Level 3 Football and Education programme and Two-Year Foundation Degree with the University of South Wales.

For further information on the Kickstart programme please click here


As we reflect on Saturday’s World Food Day, Orchard Primary Academy’s Breakfast Club received a surprise visit form Huddersfield Town striker, Jordan Rhodes.

The school in Chickenley, Dewsbury, is one of 41 Kirklees schools to have a Breakfast Club facilitated by the football club’s registered charity, the Town Foundation. A reflection of an unprecedented year cannot be more prevalent than on World Food Day whereby many families have struggled to ensure they were able to provide food.

A study from academics at the University of Sheffield using food poverty statistics collated by the Food Foundation found a staggering 12.02% of adults in Kirklees were worried about having enough food.

Not only do these projects provide vital food and nourishment to those most in need but also allow children the safe space to socialise. Jordan joined in with the children in attendance playing a variety of games with them as well as allowing them time to talk and ask questions.

The Town Foundation continues to support their local community through a variety of initiatives and partnerships such like their work with the Salvation Army in Mirfield to provide food parcels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These have been distributed to 270 families identified as being most in need by the Foundation’s partner schools thus far, with families of Orchard Primary Academy among the beneficiaries.


Jack Wilshere and Karen Carney MBE joined 25 young football hopefuls at Charlton Athletic FC today, to officially kick-off the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup, two of England’s biggest national football tournaments for junior schoolchildren culimating in four Wembley finals.

The annual football tournament gives 22,000 boys and girls to take to the pitch to represent the 72 EFL Clubs across England and Wales, helping to forge even stronger ties between Clubs and their local communities.

Inspiring children to be active, healthy and develop a strong sense of teamwork, both the Utlita Kids Cup and Girls Cup are six-a-side competitions offering schools the chance to earn the right to represent their local EFL Club on a regional basis, before culminating in four national finals which will take place prior to the Papa John’s Trophy, Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two Play-Off Finals on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium.

The Kids and Girls Cup has engaged over 250,000 children since its inception in 2007 and has previously inspired the likes of Manchester United midfielder and Scotland international Scott McTominay and Crystal Palace midfielder Will Hughes who both represented their schools and got their first taste of Wembley success in the competition.

Ben Wright, Chief Commercial Officer of the EFL, said:

“The positive impact of EFL Clubs in their communities goes far beyond 90 minutes on the pitch and the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup is testament to that. EFL Clubs are in the heart of their communities and with 80% of people in England and Wales living within a 15 mile area of an EFL Club, they have the platform to inspire and make real positive and lasting change in society. We are looking forward to seeing thousands of girls and boys engage with their local EFL Club, play football, build friendships and have fun, and see the finalists enjoy the once in a lifetime experience of playing at Wembley Stadium ahead of one of our prestigious finals.”

Jem Maidment, Chief Marketing Officer at Utilita Energy said: “The EFL Kids and Girls Cup tournaments are one of the many ways that Utilita Energy supports British Football. Our State of Play report revealed the impact the pandemic had on football families, with 70 percent of parents saying their child’s physical and mental health had been affected without access to the game.

These two all-important schools tournaments will also be supported by our latest ‘Football Rebooted’ campaign, our mission to get one million pairs of good quality football boots back onto the pitch, whilst improving access for one in five families who struggle to afford all the kit needed for their children to play.”

The competition was launched with current and former professional footballers Jack Wilshere and Karen Carney at Charlton Athletic FC’s stadium, The Valley. The England Men’s and Lionesses’ stars ran a training session for a group of 25 children with an array of warm ups, drills, and games at the EFL League One team’s ground. Helping coach the kids, the former Arsenal Mens & Ladies pair also got involved in the games, offering an unforgettable experience for the future stars of the game.

Professional footballer Jack Wilshere commented:

“It’s amazing to be a part of this launch, which I hope inspires young players all around the country to get out and play the beautiful game. It’s important that football clubs give back to their local communities and it’s great to see EFL Clubs running these type of competitions for children of all abilities. It was a pleasure to help coach some of the players at The Valley and set them on their footballing paths.”

Former England Lionesses player Karen Carney added: “The talent on show today was incredible to see and I was honoured to help take a training session with the kids and Jack. Projects like this from the EFL and Utilita are so important for inspiring the next generation of talent and engaging fans & families in the world of football.”

To find out more, visit: Utilita Kids & Girls Cup – EFL

Corrin scores job with Burton Albion Community Trust

Burton Albion Community Trust’s first Kickstart appointment was Corrin Sheldon, 24 from Burton upon Trent.

Corrin joined the team as Kickstart administration assistant, bringing with her previous experience from the leisure and hospitality industry.

After 6 months with Burton Albion Community Trust working across various scopes of work, Corrin is joining the trust full time this month as Community Business Administrator.

“During my Kickstart placement I have been working across Health and Wellbeing, Football in the Community and the general business, doing a range of different tasks. These included helping out on the weekly over 50’s sessions by creating quizzes, supporting our wellbeing walks and undertaking general administrative tasks. I have also helped at the vaccine centre and other sessions across the trust which I have thoroughly enjoyed.”

Corin has now been offered a full-time position with BACT as a Community Business Administrator within the facilities team. Her ultimate goal is to go into management. BACT and the Kickstart scheme has given her the opportunity to work towards a Level 2 in Leadership and Team Skills.

“Thank you BACT for everything you have done!”

Sarah Evans, Education and Employability Manager, said,

“Corrin’s story is a huge success for both her and Burton Albion Community Trust. Being able to utilise the Kickstart scheme has provided Corrin with an opportunity to help her reach her goals.”

“The pandemic has been difficult for many people, its been great to see Corrin grow in confidence. She’s a Burton Albion person and we are excited to see her career continue to grow with Burton Albion Community Trust.”


EFL Trust National Conference 2021

This week, the EFL Trust National Conference 2021 was back at St. George’s Park, Burton. Representatives from EFL Club Community Organisations came together to celebrate their collective work across the nation. Read more

EFL launch League wide initiative to support Clubs on environmental journey

The English Football League (EFL) has today announced the launch of ‘EFL Green Clubs’, a new League wide scheme that will help support Clubs across the country to improve their environmental practices and operations. Read more

FIT ROVERS changed Rita’s world

“Now I am not going to go back because now I finally understand…. my journey is not done yet.”

Having lost a stone and three inches off her waist, Rita, a member of the Rovers Community Trust health and wellbeing programme, FIT ROVERS is determined that this lifestyle change is for life.

After trying numerous diet cultures in a yo-yo cycle, FIT FANS has helped Rita change her habits for good. The programme is a FREE health programme for men and women aged 35-65 who are looking to lose weight, get fitter and lead a more active life.

This positive trajectory is a whole different world to one that Rita has previously experienced. In 1993, her working commitments left her with no time for herself and engulfed in stress. As a consequence of her lifestyle her weight reached 22 stone, but a deeper issue would arise.

As Rita sat in for a job interview with hope of a better work-life balance, she would experience a brain hemorrhaged that would go unnoticed for hours. She fell numerous times on her travels home and those around her dismissed her as being a stereotypical drunk.

Her husband and sister later realised something untoward and rang 999. They later found had been suffering a brain hemorrhage, drifting in and out of consciousness- the path ahead looked dark.

After being admitted to Manchester Hope Hospital for 4 weeks, Rita returned home but her speech took 6 months to return before she could build any confidence in entering the outside world again.

Rita states: “this was 28 years ago but it took this serious illness to wake me up.”

Consequently, she knew her health and wellbeing must be prioritised and found herself joining Weight Watchers and Slimming World programmes, but the story remained the same; lose weight, gain weight, lose weight, gain weight.

All until she received an email from the Rovers Fit Fans programme whereby the programmes educational platform has allowed her to learn about a balanced lifestyle and how to implement this into her everyday life.

Since completing the programme, Rita has continued her progress and even walks 20,000 steps across the weekend having previously not been able to walk for a short distance without getting breathless.