The Pond Protectors: 12 teens from Barnsley contribute 400 hours to transform local pond

12 Teens from Barnsley rolled up their sleeves contributing 400 hours to transform a local pond to make it sustainable for wildlife and an attractive space for local people to enjoy.

The group, who call themselves ‘The Pond Protectors’, only met 3 weeks ago after spending part of their Summer on NCS (National Citizen Service), a youth programme for teenagers aged 15-17.

As part of their time on NCS, the group planned and delivered a social action project in their local town. The group found that they had a shared passion for improving the local environment and so contacted South Area Tidy Team to support a project that they run.

This is where the team name ‘The Pond Protectors’ was born as the group made the decision to clear up Milton Top Pond. Harvey Kitchen,16, a member of The Pond Protectors said;

“”Our group is passionate about the environment because we all care about wildlife hence why we wanted to support Tidy Team and clear a pond which prior to us helping was driving wildlife out of their habitats”

400 hours of volunteering was spent strimming the banks and clearing the area of weeds and brambles to eventually fill a truck of garden waste. Finally, with the money they raised through bag packing at their local supermarket they bought houses to support the local wildlife.

‘The Pond Protectors’ group was made of teenagers from different schools in Barnsley which included; Horizon Community College, Penistone Grammar School, Barnsley Academy and also Dearne ALC. Harvey went onto say;

“It was very easy to make friends with each other and to talk to everyone in the group, we all got along and our teamwork was outstanding!”

“NCS was such a fun experience because amazing activities that we did during each week like raft building, self-defence training and raising money for our social action project.

“Alongside that, NCS helped me break out of my shell more, be more outgoing and made new friends on the way. NCS has taught me a lot about the community I live in as well develop my skills like public speaking.”  

Martyn Hall, Team Supervisor, from the South Area Tidy Team is delighted with the impact The Pond Protectors have made in just a week:

“The fantastic improvement these young people have made is here for all to see.  We’ve had numerous residents contacting us to make their appreciation known.

“The support from the local residents both with time and contributions will continue to help all involved to make this an enjoyable space for ALL for the future. 

“We very much hope to carry the momentum by getting people of all ages and abilities to continue to care for this wonderful space”.

Over 2,000 teenagers in South Yorkshire have taken part in NCS this Summer to challenge themselves, meet new people and to give back to their local community. For more information visit

Wigan Athletic players Chey Dunkley and Sam Morsy attend Fit and Fed session

Wigan Athletic first team stars Samy Morsy and Chey Dunkley attended the Fit and Fed initiative at Dorset Road Community Centre in Atherton on Monday afternoon.

Both players took part in games of dodgeball and arts and crafts, colouring in the Latics logo whilst also signing programmes for the children.

Over 40 children attended the session, gave each child the opportunity to take part in football, dance sessions, arts and crafts and they also completed the Daily Mile – a project that gets children walking, running or jogging for 15 minutes a day.

Fit and Fed is funded by Wigan Council and supported by Wigan Athletic Community Trust across the Wigan Borough. Fit and Fed provides a safe space for young people to get involved in lots of physical activities, make new friends whilst having a free lunch provided.

Cllr Keith Cunliffe, Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead for Adult Social Care, said: “Fit and Fed is a great project, part of it was brought about because of the difficulties people are in now. A lot of children get free school meals in this area, there is a lot of single parents, people on low pay so the free school meal is probably the only nutritious meal some children get.

“It’s a project that was aimed at ensuring that all the children in this area have the opportunity to have a meal everyday whilst the school holidays are on, whilst tying that into some activity to ensure the children are active, physically healthy and promoting the physical health as well.

“Wigan Athletic Community Trust has been a great partner for us, not only for this project but many other projects that go on in this borough around maintaining people’s health and wellbeing. So seeing Wigan Athletic getting involved in Fit and Fed is great because the children enjoy seeing the professional footballers and naturally them coming out is a great stimulus and motivation for the kids.”

Over the past two years Fit and Fed has delivered over 1,000 hours’ worth of activities and provided over 10,000 lunches & 1,800 snacks to over 1,000 children and young people.

The Trust’s involvement in Fit and Fed over the summer will see them work with around 250 children at 10 different venues across the borough.

Latics captain, Morsy, explained:

“It was a brilliant session and we had a really good time; playing dodgeball and doing some arts and crafts – which I am used to as I do that with my daughter. It was great to see so many children, how happy they were and how vibrant too.

“It is a safe environment where they can play and build their confidence and interact with others and get a meal.

“It is shocking that families can’t afford a meal in the current climate and it is sad to see.

“The children can come to these sessions and have a great time and are really happy, which is great to see.”

Brian Seddon, a volunteer at Dorset Road Community Centre, who has been involved with Fit and Fed since it began said: “We run these camps where we provide activities for the children plus we can feed them and make sure over the long summer holiday they are fit and fed and ready for school when the time comes.

“We have a constant membership of children wanting to come, it is growing and the feedback we get from the parents and children is fantastic, because there is a need.

“It is not the fault of the families or children; it’s just how the circumstances are for those families. So any help we can give, we can make sure they are getting at least one healthy meal a day along with the activities to improve their health too.”

For any queries or questions regarding Fit and Fed then please contact your local start well at Atherton, Ince, Platt Bridge, Westfield and Westleigh by clicking here.



Bristol City Robins Foundation host You Vs Train event to raise awareness about the dangers of the railway

As part of the You Vs Train campaign, Bristol City Robins Foundation brought young people from some of the most deprived areas of the city together to learn about the hidden dangers posed by the railway.

Each year hundreds of young people take on the railway and lose. Research conducted by the British Transport police found that young audiences all too frequently do not consider the railway dangerous and recent years have seen a steep increase in the number of serious injuries amongst young people caused by trespassing on the railway.

The dangers posed by the railway are not always clear, and if you are not hit by an unexpected train you could be hit by the lethal current in the rails and power lines.

The youngsters travelled by rail from various locations around the city into Bristol’s main Temple Meads train station where they met the British Transport Police, Network Rail’s local Community Safety Manager and Bristol City first team player Sammie Szmodics to take part in a rail safety workshop session. They heard about the dangers posed by the railway and the enormous emotional and physical consequences these dangers can have.

Speaking about the rail safety workshop session, Sammie said: “We saw videos of some real life footage of kids thinking it’s funny to cross the tracks and graffiti in tunnels when trains are about.

“The bottom line is it’s a very dangerous place and young people need to know that.”

After the workshop, the young people travelled again by rail to Bedminster where they took part in a small football tournament played on a pitch next to the railway, serving as a reminder of the ever-present danger posed by the railway.

Dan White, CEO at Bristol City Robins Foundation, said, “Football is loved by many, especially these young people.

“To use football as a tool to share this message about rail safety and the You Vs Train campaign is really important.

“If it makes a difference to one person who thinks again about crossing the line, then that’s a real positive outcome for us.”

Director of Operations at The EFL Trust, Mike Evans, said: “Bringing about positive change in the community is at the very core of The EFL Trust’s values.

“Football can be an enormous force for good and have a profoundly positive impact on communities – so we are delighted to be helping to tackle this issue in areas where young people are particularly vulnerable.”

Research shows that there are spikes in the number of trespass incidents at key times throughout the year – one of which is across the summer holidays – and that trespassing is a persistent issue amongst boys aged 11 – 18 years old. The You Vs Train initiative aims to tackle this problem by raising awareness of the dangers of trespassing and changing attitudes towards it, which will in turn reduce the likelihood of future trespassing.

For more information about You Vs Train please click here.

Louie: “NCS made me who I am today”

“They were the worst two years of my life. I was shy, nervous and wouldn’t talk to people,” says Louie Salmon, 16, from Peterborough.

However, fast-forward two years after completing NCS (National Citizen Service), Louie is a very different person – he now has the confidence to stand in front of peers and tell his story whilst also securing a job with his local football team.

Months before Louie was due to depart for NCS, he had reservations about going because of time away from home and nerves about meeting new people. On a bad day, Louie would email Peterborough United Foundation (the local provider of NCS) to explain that he wasn’t feeling up to it, but this was all about to change.

On 2nd July 2018, Louie found his seat on the bus to start his first week on NCS and never looked back.

Louie said: “I had begun to think I was a lost cause and that nothing I did would help me get better. Luckily, I was wrong! I pushed through exam season and I did it! I went on the programme and it was the best thing I ever did.”

Whilst on NCS, Louie began to feel his confidence grow more and more as he went on and found himself more involved in the group. In his second week, he was feeling much more comfortable with himself and puts that down the people he met and, ultimately, NCS.

After completing the programme, Louie has gone on to get himself a role on NCS with Peterborough United sharing his experience with others that were in his shoes.

Jenna Lusk, NCS Manager at Peterborough United reflected on Louie journey on NCS and beyond, saying: “NCS programme was a great experience for Louie. As staff, we noticed a difference in his confidence. He came on the programme quite quiet and shy to becoming a confident and positive young man.

“His increased confidence made him an excellent project leader on programme. Louie has continued his work with NCS as a graduate and has since gained a job. He helps NCS as well by talking about his experiences in front of other young people at events.”

Louie added: “I believe that’s it’s not just NCS, but it’s the people who organised and participated in the programme is the reason why I’m studying for 3 A-levels today. The biggest regret you will have is not saying yes.”

Throughout this summer, thousands of teenagers across the country will be taking part in NCS. This unique experience offers teenagers a jam-packed and fulfilling summer, by taking part in various activities together such as rock-climbing and kayaking, learning to cook and how to budget, and volunteering in their communities.

To find out more information visit NCSYES.CO.UK.

QPR prepare for Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium launch

Aside from the natural excitement that comes with the first home match of the season at QPR this weekend against Huddersfield Town, there will be added emotion as tomorrow will see the official launch of Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium following the stadium rename in June.

Kiyan Prince, who was a member of QPR’s youth academy, was stabbed to death in May 2006 when he was 15 years old.

Loftus Road has been remamed the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium after a charity which educates young people about the consequences of knife crime.

There will be a number of activities which will be taking place to mark what is sure to be a very special and emotional day. Participants from Kiyan Prince Foundation will form the Guard of Honour for the players and there will be a minute’s silence as we remember Kiyan Prince and all the innocent people who have needlessly lost their lives to knife and gun crime on our streets.

To learn more about the Kiyan Prince Foundation click here.

Teens tackle environmental issue ‘tail’ on

  • 15 Teenagers taking part in NCS in Hull build a whale sculpture to raise awareness of plastic waste
  • The group collect 40 bags of litter in Hull area
  • Sculpture to feature outside sports facility to have lasting legacy
  • The group in talks with local council to permanently feature sculpture on roundabout
  • Over 1,000 teens in Hull & East Riding take part in NCS with EFL Trust

15 teens from Hull have built a giant sculpture of a whale tail to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Each year over 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean. This has motivated a group of teens to raise awareness and reduce plastic waste in Hull in a unique way that will leave a long lasting legacy.

This group of teens who have taken part in NCS (National Citizen Service) this summer concluded their experience by delivering a Social Action Project driven by a passion for their local environment.

They were ambitious with only one week to deliver this project. To build the sculpture they raised over £250 with a bake sale and funding page as well as set up bottle collections in their schools which would form part of the sculpture.

The group were keen on emphasising the issues of plastic waste with the sculpture showing a tail diving into a blue box full of more plastic, highlighting the issues of plastic waste in our oceans.

Eric Kotas a member of the group said:

“I have a huge passion for the environment, especially in reducing plastic waste as it is a huge problem right now all over the world.

“My biggest achievement is the social action project where we created a sculpture of a whale’s tail whilst raising awareness about plastic, which is really important to me.

“I feel we have made a large impact on the community and hope it will bring change.”

The sculpture will feature outside of Tigers Trust’s Arena in Hull. The group hope that children & adults that attend sport sessions will leave their plastic bottle in the sculpture, acting as a collection point.

The group are in talks with the council for it to permanently feature on a roundabout and to leave a legacy for their campaign.

In addition the team were keen to have an active involvement in their local community and within a day they collected 40 full bags of litter in Newland Avenue area.

Anna Blake, NCS Team leader at Tigers Trust said:

“I think that this project is very different in comparison to what NCS groups tend to steer towards.

“At a time where people are becoming more environmentally conscious, this group of young people have taken action.

“Each member of the team has gone well above what is expected and the results have been amazing.

“Their project will hopefully feature as a lasting legacy in Hull and make steps to reducing plastic wastage. I am extremely proud of what they have achieved.”

NCS is national youth programme that challenges young people, allows them to meet new people and try something new.

Through EFL Trust over 1,000 teenagers in in Hull and East Riding have taken part in NCS this Summer to challenge themselves, meet new people and to give back to their local. For more information visit

Wigan players Joe Garner and Danny Fox visit summer soccer school and dance camps

First team players Joe Garner and Danny Fox made guest appearances at Standish High School Soccer Schools and Dance Camps.

The Latics pair took part in both the soccer school and dance camps ran by Community Trust staff, which included small sided football games and a dance off, with both players being taught new dance moves by the camp.

Defender Danny Fox said: “It was good, playing on the football pitch with some of the young lads who were really enthusiastic and there were some good players as well.

“I think the girls [on the dance camp] said they had half an hour to practice their routine, but they had a smile on their faces and it was good to see so many kids enjoying themselves.

 “It’s important the kids stay entertained throughout the summer especially with parents still working so to put things on like this, hopefully we can progress and put even more soccer schools and dance camps on. To see so many kids as well it’s a bonus as well.

“It’s good for Wigan as a whole and good for the kids to have something like this to do over the summer holidays instead of being cooped up indoors and doing some physical activity as well which is always good for young kids.”

Both the Soccer Schools and Dance Camps are running throughout the summer for boys and girls aged 6-14 in the Wigan borough at six different locations including Lowton High School, Winstanley Warriors, Pennington FC, Golborne Sports, St Peter’s High School and Standish.

There is also FREE Girls Soccer Schools as well running in August at Pennington FC for those aged 6-11.

Sessions are £10 a day and are delivered by qualified coaches with the aim of providing hours of fun for boys and girls to practice and develop their football techniques.

Places can be booked via the online booking system here or by paying on the day.

For any further information on the Latics Soccer Schools and Dance Camps email

MFC Foundation inspire hope and inspire confidence

Boro midfielder Adam Clayton was quick to praise the work of a group who have benefitted from one of a range of projects organised by MFC Foundation.

Participants on the Kitchen Therapy Project, run in conjunction with the Foundation, Middlesbrough College and MasterChef quarter-finalist Matei Baran, prepared and served canapes ahead of the Foundation’s new strategy launch.

Clayton took time out of his pre-match schedule to meet Chef Baran and those on a course that helps people who have suffered with mental health issues.

“They are an inspiration to us all,” said the Boro midfielder. “They have been through some tough times and this project has helped them come through the other side.”

The charity arm of Middlesbrough Football Club was set up in 1996, turning a vision of chairman Steve Gibson into reality, going on play an active role in the communities of Teesside and North Yorkshire, helping thousands.

Working to their new motto, Inspire Confidence Inspire Hope, MFC Foundation has refocused the work they do to meet the social challenges of today.

Speaking at the launch, Chair of Trustees Ray Mallon said: “There are a lot of people out there who are disadvantaged and we’re trying to give them a chance.

“Hope could be argued to be one of the best things in life, as hope can lead to ambition, aspiration, self-belief and greater self-esteem.”

The Foundation will continue to work in partnership with local services to help reduce social deprivation and support the positive action already taking place within the area. By using the power and influence of Middlesbrough Football Club, the Foundation will deliver bespoke programmes providing opportunities to raise aspirations and improve the life chances of people across local communities.

Southall MP praises impact of EFL Trust project run by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust

Southall MP Virendra Sharma swapped parliament for the playground as he joined pupils from St Anselm’s Catholic Primary School yesterday. He took part in a Joy of Moving Move and Learn session, which inspires 9-10 year olds to get physically active and enjoy movement by learning through play. With temperatures soaring to 24 degrees, the pupils learnt about the importance of hydration during exercise before heading outside to showcase their skills to the local MP.

Delivered by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, one of 26 Football Clubs delivering the Joy of Moving programme, this Move and Learn project aims to inspire pupils to be physically active and enjoy movement. During the six week in-school project, children up and down the country will learn, through fun games inspired by the Joy of Moving methodology, about the importance of physical activity and balanced diets based on the Eatwell Guide.

After attending the session, Virendra Sharma praised the impact of the project, he said:

“I feel honoured to attend St Anslem’s Joy of Moving project today and see the pupils come together to learn about the importance of moving.

“It is fantastic that organisations such as Ferrero UK, the English Football League Trust and Brentford FC Community Sports Trust are providing support and resources to inspire children to live healthy lifestyles.”

Data from Sport England shows that only 22% of Years 5 – 6 are active every day. Through the Move and Learn project, each child in this year group receives an additional 9 hours physical activity and learning.

St Anselm’s Catholic Primary School has certainly reaped the benefits of the programme, Tito Perera, Deputy Headteacher of the school, said:

“Our partnership with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust started in January 2019.  Since then, the support and commitment from the coaches and senior leaders has been incredible. 

“We were privileged to be part of the Joy of Moving programme, which has helped the children to grow in their knowledge and understanding of having a healthy lifestyle. We look forward to a continued partnership with Brentford FC CST.”

Move and Learn is part of the Joy of Moving programme which is a CSR initiative for Ferrero developed in partnership with English Football League Trust. It is designed to inspire active lifestyles in children and help them develop positive habits for adulthood. Along with the Move and Learn project, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust runs a multitude of health and education projects – engaging with a staggering 2,000 pupils in the borough of Ealing.


70 people attend Pride in London parade with the Charlton Family

  • Organisers say more than 1.5 million people took to the streets to celebrate the event
  • Second year in a row CACT has taken part in the parade

Building on last year’s success, 70 people joined a Charlton Athletic group taking part in Pride in London on Saturday 6 July.

More than 30,000 people from over 600 different groups, including Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT), took part in this year’s parade.

The event saw CACT celebrate the achievements of CACT Invicta FC, the first LGBTQI+ friendly team to become affiliated to a professional football club’s community trust, and Proud Valiants, Charlton’s official LGBTQI+ supporters’ group.

The Charlton Family were represented by Charlton fans, CACT Invicta and Proud Valiants, as well as students from the University of Greenwich, young people from CACT’s National Citizen Service programme and Young Greenwich, the youth service CACT delivers on behalf of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Representatives from CACT Principal Partner ITRM were also present.

This year, they were also joined at Pride by a growing number of organisations from across football, including the FA.

Participants wore special ‘We are going up’ t-shirts to celebrate the club gaining promotion to the Championship after winning the Play-Off Final at Wembley.

Daniel Jenkins, a player for CACT Invicta, said:

“It’s so important because it’s a celebration for people who for years have not had the opportunity to celebrate.

“We have annual tournaments at The Valley and CACT have always been very supportive of CACT Invicta as a club and the stuff we do.”

Dr Michael Seeraj, CACT’s Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, said:

“What an incredible day, we had such a great representation from across the Charlton Family and one of the biggest walking groups in the parade.

“It was quite a spectacular event, and the interaction and positivity from everyone there, from a wide range of different communities and backgrounds, was a real example of how diversity and inclusion really works. We can’t wait until next year!”