Richard’s story – ShrewsAbility

Steve Hammond, father of Richard, has spoken of the amazing opportunities his son has explored through Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s ShrewsAbility.

Through the Every Player Counts programme funded by Wembley National Stadium Trust and EFL Trust, the ShrewsAbility Down’s syndrome football scheme creates a multi-tier learning environment that improves the participants’ overall physical, social and emotional health.

Richard Hammond has been a regular ShrewsAbility member since the sessions first launched in 2016.

 “Before taking part, Richard struggled to trap or strike a ball properly. It’s amazing to see the difference and how much he has developed, he’s so comfortable at doing these things now and has built his intelligence of the game.

“I feel so happy and grateful to see my son enjoy playing football just like I did when I was younger.

“Not only has he enhanced his football skills, he’s also formed new friendships and his self-esteem has improved.

“These sessions make you look at what everyone is able to do and not what they can’t – you see people’s abilities, not their disability.”

Apart from football, Richard is also an avid gymnast and swimmer and in 2011 he represented Team GB at the Special Olympics in Athens, winning two Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal in artistic gymnastics.

Since ShrewsAbility launched, the session has had an aggregate attendance of 464 participants across all disability sessions.

95% of participants have stated that there has been an improvement in their mental well being since attending the sessions.

William’s story – Charlton Upbeats

The Charlton Upbeats programme uses football to help aid and support young people with Down’s syndrome. The Upbeats have competed in a number of tournaments in the UK and abroad and are nine-times DS Active National champions.

100% of parents would recommend the Charlton Upbeats to any family with children with Down’s syndrome.

The project is focused not just on football, but is also about raising aspirations and improving relationships and social skills.

William Cottrell, one of over 170 young people registered with the Charlton Upbeats project, has been a member since it first started in 2008.

Since then, his sporting career has gone from strength to strength…and not just on the football field.

Thanks to the confidence William has developed with Upbeats, in 2009, he represented Great Britain in the Special Olympics Winter Games in Idaho, where he won a bronze medal in Skiing.

A decade later, he was one of eight British athletes to be selected to represent his country in golf at the 2019 Special World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.

On March 20th 2019, to a roar of applause William stepped proudly onto the podium to receive his silver Special Olympics medal in golf.

His Mum, Elizabeth said: “It is a well well-earned prize, not only for the performance over the previous days’ competition but for the hours of practise, the refining of skill and the determination to always do his best.”

“Football has the ability to change lives” – Scott Minto

The annual EFL Day of Action takes place on Tuesday, as all EFL Clubs come together on one day to demonstrate the impact football can have in positively changing people’s lives. Read more

International Women’s Day: Grace Phillips’ story

From holiday camp participant, to youth councillor and student, to apprentice coach, Grace Phillips has been a continued advocate for positive change in her local community.

Grace first came into contact with Bristol City Robins Foundation at the age of just six-years-old when she attended one of the Foundation’s school holiday football camps. The youngster’s attitude at the camp and her clear leadership skills were quickly picked up upon by the Foundation’s coaches, who invited Grace to join the – then newly formed – Youth Council.

As part of the Robins Foundation’s Youth Council, Grace was keen to make football more accessible for women and girls and wanted to provide females of all ages the chance to get involved in the game that she had never had. Grace has since received both regional and national accolades for her dedication and commitment to community work.

Grace and her peers at the Foundation’s Youth Council worked to develop a multi-generational football session (named F3) to provide women and girls of all ages and abilities the chance to play football and have fun, free of charge. The project won the FA award for the best participation initiative in 2017/18.

From here, Grace decided to continue her studies through the Foundation’s education department, whilst simultaneously volunteering at the sessions she had worked relentlessly to develop.

Grace excelled academically at the Foundation and Bristol City Robins Foundation were in a position to offer the young coach the opportunity to join their workforce on a full-time basis, as an Apprentice Community Coach.

Grace is now an integral part of the Foundation’s community delivery and continues to develop as a coach.

Projects and Partnerships Manager at Bristol City Robins Foundation, James Edwards – who has worked with Grace since her first contact with Bristol City’s official charity over 15 years ago – commented: “Grace’s journey through the Foundation is the embodiment of what we strive for here at the Robins Foundation. Her commitment to the work that she carries out in the community is exceptional.

“Grace is an absolute credit to the Foundation and indeed to Bristol as a whole and we are incredibly proud to have her enrolled as an Apprentice Coach. I have no doubt that Grace will continue to develop as a coach and will be an immense success.”

Grace told the Foundation: “I’m so pleased that I have been able to have a positive impact on my local community.

“The opportunity to work as an Apprentice Coach with the Robins Foundation has been brilliant for me and I have really enjoyed being able to continue working in the local community. I feel like my coaching skills have really developed, and continue to develop as I gain more experience.”

 

#InternationalWomensDay, 8th March 2020

 

 

 

EFL Day of Action to celebrate impact of Clubs in their communities

EFL Clubs will come together on Tuesday 10 March to highlight the positive impact football has in changing people’s lives and the work taking place to tackle some of society’s biggest issues.

Across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two, events will be held by Clubs on EFL Day of Action to showcase the very best programmes and activity they deliver in a number of important areas, including diversity and inclusion, education, and health and wellbeing.

The impact of the work carried out by EFL Clubs and Club Community Organisations (CCOs) is unparalleled, with more than half a million hours of group activity delivered and over 40 million hours of participation each season.

During the 2018/19 season, almost 900,000 people took part in a wide range of activities across key areas, with Clubs and CCOs receiving over £60 million of direct project funding.

The EFL Day of Action aims to unite Clubs and CCOs on one day to celebrate and highlight the impact they have in their communities, bringing together the most unique projects and programmes being run across England and Wales.

Managers and players from the EFL’s Clubs will be attending events up and down the country on Tuesday to pay special visits to see participants in action and to provide their support to various projects.

For example:

  • In the Sky Bet Championship, Cardiff City will host participants of their Bluebirds Ability programme at their first team training session. Bluebirds ability sessions support children and young people with a disability through football activities.
  • QPR’s Angel Rangel will join a food delivery to local hostels and homeless shelters with Club partner City Harvest, who use surplus food from various London locations and provide for those in need.
  • To celebrate the success of the EFL Trust’s Fit Fans programme, Doncaster Rovers, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United and Bradford City will all come together at the Keepmoat Stadium to host a football festival with over 40 participants.
  • In Sky Bet League One, Bristol Rovers will showcase their partnership with St Peters Hospice Charity, which offers the Club the ability to engage with patients suffering with various forms of cancer.
  • In Sky Bet League Two, Port Vale are hosting a full day of activities, showcasing their impact on people in their community including breakfast clubs, careers events, mental health groups and walking football.

Five EFL fixtures will also take place on the evening of the EFL Day of Action, with Clubs further supporting the day with warm-up t-shirts and in-stadium assets.

These are just a few examples of some of the fantastic work due to take place during the EFL’s Day of Action by EFL Club Community Organisations – the largest network of sporting charities in the UK.

EFL Chairman, Rick Parry, said: “Our Clubs have always had a unique position in the heart of their respective towns and cities and it is important that we celebrate the work they carry out, which improves lives and tackles some of society’s biggest issues on a daily basis. 

“The recent study commissioned by the EFL shows that Clubs’ work in their communities is happening on a huge scale and starts to place a real value on this work, providing further insight into the impact of programmes provided.

“The hours committed by staff and volunteers at Clubs and CCOs, as well as the support from players and managers, demonstrates a remarkable commitment to improving lives up and down the country.”

See the results of the Measuring the Impact of Clubs the Community study HERE.

 

Vulnerable young people in Wigan given a boost thanks to new National Lottery grant awarded to Wigan Athletic Community Trust

WAFC Community Trust at the Youth Zone in Wigan.
Photo by Fabio De Paola

Fresh from being named the EFL North West Community Club of the Year 2020, Wigan Athletic Community Trust has received more positive news this week thanks to a new grant from The National Lottery Community Fund.

The Community Trust has been awarded £392,457 to extend the Pathway 2 Participation programme for an additional three years, and provide mentoring support to some of the most vulnerable young people in Wigan.

The programme, which will be delivered in partnership with Wigan Youth Zone, will build on the work of the Pathway 2 Participation programme over the last four years where it has helped 100s of young people to improve their health, mental well-being and confidence through mentoring and sports activities.

Tom Flower, Head of Community at Wigan Athletic, said: “We are extremely delighted and grateful to receive the funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

“The investment will enable us to help hundreds of young people in the borough; enhancing their life chances and giving them the opportunity to achieve their full potential, whether that is through sport or education activities.”

Pathway 2 Participation has been operating in Wigan since 2015 and with the support of Wigan Council’s Deal for Communities Investment Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund Reaching Communities scheme has helped 100’s of young people to take part in activities in their local communities, re-enter education and even find employment.

With the support of The National Lottery Community Fund and Wigan Council, the programme has seen participants enjoy a number of activities including mountain biking, team building exercises and water sports sessions.

Project evaluation carried out in 2019 showed that 82% of young people who completed the programme said they felt happier about their life while 97% of participants said involvement had helped to increase their confidence and self – esteem.

Wigan Athletic Community Trust at a Kayaking sessions at Scotsman’s Flash in Wigan.

Duncan Nicholson, Head of Funding for North West region at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players we are able to support young people through Pathway 2 Participation.

“The project is a great way to get young people the mentoring support they need to help boost their confidence and improve their mental well-being.”

MP for Wigan Lisa Nandy said: “I’m delighted that Wigan Athletic Community Trust have received this substantial and well-deserved grant from the National Lottery.

“Their track record speaks for itself, and this money will be vital in helping them continue their brilliant work with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised children and young people across Wigan.”

The National Lottery Community Fund is responsible for giving out money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded over half a billion pounds (508.5 million) and supported over 11,000 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

For more information on the programme please email Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Senior Community Development Co-ordinator Steve Eastwood on s.eastwood@wiganathletic.com or call 01942 318090.

 

 

EFL Clubs recognised at Parliament for outstanding work in the community

Ignition Sports Media Community Club of the Year and YouGov Sport Community Project of the Year winners were recognised at Parliament earlier today.

A number of EFL Clubs were recognised and celebrated at Parliament for their outstanding work in the community on Tuesday 2nd March.

As regional winners of the Ignition Sports Media Community Club of the Year, six EFL Clubs were selected for their innovative and ground-breaking work being delivered in their local communities.

New for 2020 is the YouGov Sport Community Project of the Year, where one club per division has been recognised for its outstanding work in delivering a specific project that has had a positive impact on areas such as health and wellbeing, education, and diversity and inclusion.

Hosted by Sky Sports’ Scott Minto, winning Clubs were honoured at a special event at the House of Commons earlier today, receiving their awards from the Sky Sports presenter and EFL Chair, Rick Parry.

Special guests and club representatives gathered on the River Thames as winners were celebrated and given the opportunity to showcase some of the outstanding work they deliver in their communities.

These worthy winners give an indication to the variety of outstanding work being delivered by Club Community Organisation’s in EFL communities across England and Wales.

Speaking at the House of Commons, EFL Chair Rick Parry said: “I was really impressed with what I saw today, and inspired too. We heard some wonderful stories, real life stories of the impact of some of our Clubs work and an event like this really does bring it home to you how much it matters.
“It’s one thing reading the stats, but when you’re actually seeing the individuals involved, seeing the passion and seeing their commitment to making a difference, that really means a lot.
“We’re so fortunate in the EFL to have such a variety of football clubs. Our Clubs touch every single community across the country, 37 million people live within ten miles of an EFL club – that’s pretty extraordinary. We have a real breadth of reach and a high passion for the biggest football club down to the smallest, I don’t believe there’s another network like it.
“I don’t think there’s a limit to the power of football – and the power of sport generally, but football is really playing its part. It encourages people to talk, it encourages people to communicate and it can bring people together which is sometimes all you need to get things started. Whether it’s mental health related, physical health, education or fighting crime, football is playing its part. It’s fantastic to see.”

 

The 2020 winners are listed below, alongside details of their work in the community.
Ignition Sports Media Community Club of the Year winners

North East & Yorkshire – Middlesbrough FC

  • Middlesbrough FC Foundation launched a new community strategy with a core principle of ‘making a difference by being different.’ Through a number of specific projects, such as RiverSideBySide and ‘The Boro Bus’ it has been able to improve community cohesion, health provisions and education in one of the most deprived areas of the country for over 35,000 people.

North West – Wigan Athletic

  • Focusing on three priority areas of schools, community development and training and skills, Wigan Athletic have continued to create a stronger community in their surrounding area. The partnership between the CCO and Club is a key factor in the success of Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s programmes and delivery to over 14,000 individuals.

Midlands – Derby County

  • Over 30,000 individuals participated in Derby County Community Trust programmes in 2019 – its highest number to date. Its commitment to creating meaningful experiences, working closely with a range of partners, impressed the judges and the impact of the Club’s work is apparent across the community.

London – Charlton Athletic

  • Charlton Athletic Community Trust impressed the panel with its continued ability to increase engagement (to over 46,000 people), participation and investment in programmes and activities within its locality on a huge scale. In particular, their Crime Reduction Project which has significantly impacted the lives of over 2,000 young people in the area by combatting anti-social and criminal behaviour was a standout feature of their entry.

South East – Crawley Town

  • Crawley Town was recognised for its innovative approach to projects and their ability to continually improve programmes and services, particularly within its National Citizen Service delivery. Despite being a smaller CCO in terms of annual turnover than our other winners, Crawley have been able to introduce projects such as the Crawley Old Girls and the CCO was also chosen as one of the 12 EFL Clubs to launch the EFL Trust’s ‘Extra Time Hubs’.

South West & Wales – Cardiff City

  • The judges were impressed with Cardiff City FC Community Foundation’s continued commitment to providing an inclusive environment for participation across all areas of their work. Its work engaging over 23,000 individuals has seen the organisation recognised in the industry, receiving a number of high-profile accolades this year.

YouGov Sport Community Project of the Year winners
 

Championship – Charlton Athletic

  • In response to an increase in serious youth violence in the delivery areas of Charlton Athletic Community Trust, the Club launched the Crime Reduction Project, to reduce anti-social and criminal behaviour in the area. The project has had a significant impact on over 2,000 young people since launching, with over 350 involved in one-to-one mentoring, over 670 supported by introducing them to sport and physical activity and over 1,000 engaged due to emerging problems or concerns. Of those engaged, many individuals have since moved into education, employment, training or volunteering; many experiencing a stronger connection to friends and family and there has also been a reduction in criminal behaviour.

League One – Portsmouth FC

  • ReFit is a project delivered by Pompey in the Community in partnership with the Society of St James, offering free daily activities to vulnerable adults in the city, affected by complex issues involving drugs and alcohol misuse, mental health or homelessness. The programme uses sporting activities alongside education, to promote a healthier way of living and provide participants with relevant skills and qualifications to improve their lives. In its first two years, the project has impacted over 600 participants.

League Two – Cambridge United

  • Cambridge United Community Trust’s ‘Mind Your Head’ programme caught the judge’s attention for the unique way they have used the power of the Club badge to reach out to young people and share the importance of mental health. The programme, which was delivered to over 1,000 secondary school students, has improved mental health literacy across a number of schools in the area and has been recognised on a national level by the ‘all-party parliamentary group for a fit and healthy childhood.’
The overall winners of both the Community Club of the Year and Community Project of the Year will be announced at the EFL Awards ceremony on Sunday 19 April in central London.

Richard’s story: “Not only has he enhanced his football skills, he’s formed new friendships and his self-esteem has improved.”

Despite the tribal nature of being a fan, football is a universal language and across the country people are enjoying and benefitting from programmes run by their local football Club despite being a loyal fan of another Club.

Ahead of the Carabao Cup final, we take a look at some inspirational stories of City and Villa fans whose lives have been changed by their local EFL Clubs.

Richard’s story 

As Aston Villa season ticket holder Steve Hammond reflects on the opportunities his son Richard has explored through Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s ShrewsAbility, his gratefulness and delight at his son’s achievements are substantial.

Richard is a boyhood Villa fan and has been a regular ShrewsAbility member since the sessions first launched in 2016.

Through the Every Player Counts programme funded by Wembley National Stadium Trust and EFL Trust, the ShrewsAbility Down’s syndrome football scheme creates a multi-tier learning environment that improves the participants’ overall physical, social and emotional health.

Talking about his son’s involvement in the ShrewsAbility sessions, Steve said:

“Apart from holidays, Richard hasn’t missed one ShrewsAbility session at Shrewsbury Town in the Community since they began. He thoroughly enjoys it.

“Before taking part, Richard struggled to trap or strike a ball properly. It’s amazing to see the difference and how much he has developed, he’s so comfortable at doing these things now and has built his intelligence of the game.

“I feel so happy and grateful to see my son enjoy playing football every week just like I did when I was younger.

“Not only has he enhanced his football skills, he’s also formed new friendships and his self-esteem has improved.

“He’s like an older brother or father figure to the rest of the group, he enjoys helping the younger ones and the new people that come in, helping them to score goals.”

ShrewsAbility provides more opportunities for people to play football in a comfortable and competitive environment.

Steve added: “These sessions make you look at what everyone is able to do and not what they can’t – you see people’s abilities, not their disability.”

Apart from football, Richard is also an avid gymnast and swimmer and in 2011 he represented Team GB at the Special Olympics in Athens, winning two Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal in artistic gymnastics.

Since ShrewsAbility launched, the session has had an aggregate attendance of 464 participants across all disability sessions.

95% of participants have stated that there has been an improvement in their mental wellbeing since attending the sessions.

Steve concludes: “Football is leading the way with inclusion and it’s fantastic to see Clubs doing all they can to get as many people involved in playing the game.”

#EveryPlayerCounts 

David finds new lease of life attending Blackpool FC Community Trust programmes

Despite the tribal nature of being a fan, football is a universal language and across the country people are enjoying and benefitting from programmes run by their local football Club despite being a loyal fan of another Club.

Ahead of the Carabao Cup final, we take a look at some inspirational stories of City and Villa fans whose lives have been changed by their local EFL Clubs.

David’s story 

 

David Roberts, a lifelong Manchester City fan, has found a new lease of life attending Blackpool FC Community Trust programmes after struggling with the lifestyle changes of retirement.

The 61 year-old, who was born in Manchester but moved to Blackpool when he was six years old, is one of the founding members of Manchester City’s Blackpool and Fylde Supporters Club (established in 1976).

After retiring last year, David struggled with the change of routine and started having panic attacks. He knew he needed to find a new hobby and purpose.

As a keen football fan, Walking Football sessions at the Club Community Organisation most local to him – Blackpool FC Community Trust – caught his eye.

He said: “I felt a massive sense of emptiness after I retired. I’ve had mental health issues previously in my life, but always found ways to battle on and keep going.

“The change in routine affected me and I started getting panic attacks, so something had to change.

“Then I came across the Blackpool FC Community Trust Walking Football team.”

After attending Walking Football with the Seasiders for the past year, David credits the team for giving him a great boost of confidence and helping him to feel young again.

He added: “I hadn’t played football in 15 years, so it has been fantastic to get back into it.

“The camaraderie of the team is brilliant, everyone mixes together with people aged 50-70. It’s been a massive boost to my morale and I feel younger mentally.

“It gives me something to look forward to now every single week.”

His involvement with the Walking Football team also developed his interest in other programmes at the Trust such as Sporting Memories and a Stress Control course.

Talking about his experience on the Stress Control course, he said:

“It was very interesting getting an overview of how you can do things to help yourself to manage stress. The course also included exercise, which has massive benefits – I found it really useful and all the other participants did as well.

“All in all, the programmes at Blackpool FC Community Trust have helped me so much. I may not be a Blackpool fan, but the commonality of football itself is so powerful and the social side of the sport has had a massive impact on my life.”