Over 43 stone lost on Football Fans in Training course at Wycombe Wanderers

  • 55 Wycombe Wanderers fans have lost a combined 43 stone on a fitness programme run at the Club.

Football Fans in Training (FFIT) is a lifestyle programme aimed at overweight football fans, encouraging them to lose weight, get fit and live a healthier, more active life.

Fans on the scheme take part in a 12-week training programme delivered by their Club Community Organisation (CCO) at their team’s home stadium. They are also grounded in current science of how to eat more healthily and become more active.

Between the 55 people who have graduated on Wycombe Wanderers Sports & Education Trust’s FFIT programme, over 43 stone has been lost and a combined 335cm off the waist.

Sam White, Community Health Manager at Wycombe Wanderers Sports & Education Trust said: “The project isn’t about going on diets and counting calories, it’s about gradual changes to make one big change at the end.

“It’s all about the hints and tips, eating healthily, portion sizes and getting regular exercise in.”

Before attending FFIT sessions, Peter Jemmett was diagnosed with unstable angina and had his first stent in 2013, then 3 and a half years later suffered a heart attack whilst walking.

He said: “The heart attack was a big wake up call for me, I was a bit lost after I did the cardiac rehab and found it really hard to motivate myself to train and then I heard about FFIT.

“I was a little worried at first about the FFIT training being too intensive four or five months after I had the heart attack, but I was able to really work at my own pace and start the training gently which was ideal for me.”

The popular initiative has also had a significant positive impact on mental health. Out of the five teams who have taken part in the course, 83 percent of people have improved their mental health score.

Francis Willmott a participant on the course said: “After 12 weeks this course has been a life changing experience for me.

“Not only has it helped me physically but mentally too, you get to know each other and develop a good camaraderie, you can get through things together.

“I was an absolute novice before I came to FFIT about nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins and the traffic light system on food labels. I am definitely feeling much healthier these days!”












Barnsley’s mental health programme ‘Safety Nets’ launches

Reds in the Community (RitC), a registered charity delivering community and charitable activities on behalf of Barnsley Football Club, are proud to be launching Safety Nets, a mental health programme run in partnership with CAMHS Barnsley.

CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – is an NHS provided service for people up to the age of 18 with mental ill health or emotional difficulties.

Currently operating across the borough, CAMHS Barnsley support children and families through a wide variety of issues.

Following a successful pilot initiative, and with a second scheme already underway, RitC are marking World Mental Health Day 2019 by officially launching Safety Nets.

The weekly programme, which is based at Oakwell, incorporates an hour of physical activity and sport with a 30-minute workshop focusing on a wide range of topics including living a healthy lifestyle, coping strategies and social media.

Women & Girls Development Officer Lynn Goodman, who also delivers Reds in the Community’s mental health football session each Tuesday, gave an insight into why this work is so important.

She said: “The sessions are aimed at getting 11-18-year-olds active. The sessions are running well. In the last batch, they were 15-year-olds. Towards week three or four, they come out more confident and were very expressive with what help they need and the importance of lifestyle.

“Children and young adults find it difficult to cope, especially teens because they’ve got exams as well so they’ve got more pressure on them. With Football Club’s it’s big. Mental health is out there and it’s alright to say you’ve got issues. We’re trying to just help the young people.”

Jack Mooney is the CAMHS lead on the programme at Reds in the Community.

He explained the initiative further and the perks of using sport as a tool for discussing and promoting positive mental health.

“Safety Nets is a programme that aims to engage people in discussions about mental health and promoting positive mental health through the medium of sport,” said Jack. “We’ve already run one cohort in Barnsley with the help of Reds in the Community. We are currently in the middle of the second one. For the first time we run it, we run it for people aged 14-16-year-old who were already known to Barnsley CAMHS and accessing the service. We got really good feedback.

“On this occasion, we are aiming it at a slightly younger audience and it’s going really well. The feedback we got was really positive about combining sport with some discussion around mental health. We’ve kept the focus largely on the sport, promoting positive mental health through engagement in physical activity.”

Mitre become official EFL Trust kit supplier

The EFL Trust are pleased to announce that Mitre are now the official kit supplier to EFL Trust and support football in the community.

EFL Trust employees are proud to wear their newly supplied Mitre kit whilst they undertake their activities in the community and at EFL Trust events.

Our teams can be seen out in their new kit at community coaching sessions. At our recent EFL Trust National Conference, the entire workforce wore their kit on the second day of Conference at St. George’s Park.

Mike Evans, Director of Operations, EFL Trust said: “We are delighted to have Mitre’s support in the community and the quality of the dual branded team wear kit that are employees are proudly wearing is excellent.”

“It’s a great way to meet new friends, I’d rather be out than sitting in on my own.”


To mark World Mental Health Day 2019 on Thursday, a football tournament was held at Prenton Park’s Recreation Centre in partnership with Wirral Ways to Recovery and Tranmere Rovers In the Community.

Also in attendance for the tournament were A New Approach, Knowsley CGL, and Spider Project.

Wirral Ways to Recovery provides drug and alcohol users with fast and easy to access treatment and support, with regular football sessions held weekly by Tranmere Rovers In the Community (TRIC).

Ray Smith, from Wirral Ways to Recovery, said: “We’ve come together today because of World Mental Health Day, we have brought agencies from around Merseyside, the Wirral and Tameside, and a lot of the lads playing have had problems with mental health.

“We get together once a week at Tranmere through Wirral Ways, and we try our hardest to keep the lads on the straight and narrow, and it helps with their mental health and their physical health.”

Shaun Garnett, Tranmere Rovers’ first-team defensive coach, shared his own personal story, and says that’s Rovers’ work in the Wirral community is important.

He added: “It is a great cause, and it’s a cause that I fully back through my brother being mentally ill, he was diagnosed with bipolar in 2003 so if it is something that I can support through my job, I’ll always do it.

“Tranmere do great work, Steve and all the rest of the gang in the community, they work extremely hard, whether it be mental health or Alzheimer’s, whatever it may be, and whatever cause it may be, it just highlights it and attracts a little bit of attention, so if people end up coming and it helps them, well then it’s a worthwhile exercise.”

Liam Elliott, Wirral Ways to Recovery participant, explained how sessions at Tranmere Rovers has helped him make new friends.

Liam said: “I’ve always been a lover of football, and I’ve got anxiety, depression, paranoia and schizophrenia, and it’s a great way to come and meet new friends, I’d rather be out than sitting in on my own and it gets us all out and about.”

The Club’s staff have a planned training with Mind Charity. This is ongoing.

To learn more about TRIC and the work that they do, please CLICK HERE

Active Minds having a positive impact on Mental Health

Mansfield Town Football in the Community’s ‘Active Minds: Chat’ session has had a massive impact on the mental well-being of its participants, as it approaches its first birthday.

Working regularly with around twenty participants per week, ‘Active Minds’ gives those facing social isolation, suffering from mental health issues or living with Dementia a safe haven to make new friends and enjoy a range of positive activities.

Marking World Mental Health Day today [Thursday 10th October], participants and their loved ones have been speaking about the impact ‘Active Minds’ has on their Mental Health.

Carol Wright is the wife of long term attendee Peter and believes the sessions have helped to transform his Mental Health in the fight against Dementia.

She said “Since the group began a year ago he’s only missed two sessions through holiday, it’s his highlight of the week. He gets up a totally different person on a Friday morning and when we go away from here [the sessions] he goes flat again.

“People don’t believe the difference in him so it’s well worth it [attending] – he worked at the club as a steward for two decades and apart from watching the games, this is the main thing in his life.

“That sounds sad as he’s got grandchildren & family, he loves them of course, but this just makes such a difference to him.”

Mick Walker, 80, was diagnosed with a form of mixed Vascular Dementia in December 2018 and has been attending the sessions for ten months – “I really enjoy the company, being with the lads and having someone different to talk to” Said Mick.

“The wife and I used to watch the games from the North Stand during our youth, so coming back brings back lots of happy memories.

“Everyone here is trying to help us I’ve made lots of new friends, it’s really good for all of us – all of the staff are brilliant, I really appreciate how they’re trying to help us with the variety of activities they put on.

“It gives us all something to do, something to talk about and really look forward to – coming here means you’re not sat at home shut down.”

Norma Walker, Mick’s wife, has been stunned by the difference in the group has made on Mick “He really needs this session to keep his brain active, we met at 16 and have been married 61 years now and it kills me inside to see how the Dementia has taken its toll – he lives for Friday’s and to be honest, so do I, because he lights back up.

“Friday is his day, any other day he doesn’t like and he becomes depressed – he loves it here. It gives him a meaning to get up and come out, and as for me? Well I couldn’t be more grateful that this group exists, I honestly have no idea what I’d do without it.”

Active Minds is open for anyone living with Dementia, those caring for anyone living dementia, or those with any form of mental illness or suffering from social isolation.

To find out more visit: http://mansfieldtownfitc.net/category/active-minds/



World Mental Health Day 2019 – John’s story at Tranmere Rovers

  • John is a participant of Tranmere Rovers’ and Wirral Ways to Recovery’s weekly football sessions.
  • “The football sessions held by Tranmere Rovers have helped improve my mental health and I have made some good new friends,” John says.
  • Sessions are held every Tuesday at Prenton Park’s Recreation Centre.

‘The football sessions held by Tranmere Rovers have helped improve my mental health and I have made some good new friends.’

Those are the strong words from John, who has battled a number of alcohol and mental health related issues for a long period of time.

John, through the fantastic support provided by Wirral Ways to Recovery, is getting his life back on track with the additional help of Tranmere Rovers Football Club.

After being referred by doctors to Wirral Ways to Recovery in his fight against his mental health and alcohol problems, John now regularly attends weekly football sessions held by Tranmere Rovers in the Community, which is held on a Tuesday at the Recreation Centre at Prenton Park.

Sharing his story ahead of World Mental Health Day 2019, John said: “I have always had mental health problems when I was growing up, but my mum just thought I got angry a lot. I thought it was normal and I went on with life thinking it was normal, but it got to a point as I got older to realise it wasn’t normal, stuff happened in my life which turned my mental health into a downward spiral and it got to a point where I was paranoid and hearing voices.

“My sister and my mum came up to me and said, ‘John, you’re not right,’ we need to take you to the doctors. Speaking to the doctor and speaking out loud about all the problems and all of the issues, I was amazed with myself, the doctor referred me to the early intervention team, so I went through all the channels and medication and I got better. However, when I stopped my medication. It all spiralled out of control again and I got worse.

“I got back on the medication, my mum was ill at the time, so she couldn’t look after me with my medication, but I was moving from house to house with my family and finally got into a residential place and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. My anxiety and paranoia and voices, everything has decreased massively, and I’m not upset anymore, I’m not in a spiral.

“I got involved in Wirral Ways through my drinking, I stopped drinking for six months and then went to hospital which was a further four weeks, because that was just a blur, but I started getting more comfortable around people.  I was drinking way too much, and I would wake up, still be drunk and head to the shop again when the shop was allowed to serve alcohol.

“Because I am in supported living now, the staff said that I needed to go to Wirral Ways because my drinking was out of control, and I listened to them as I think other people know better than me, and Wirral Ways told me to go on an alcohol course which gives you an insight of triggers and causes of alcoholism.”

The overall objective of the football programme is to help both men and women with mental health problems and John has explained how he got involved with Tranmere Rovers In the Community.

John added: “When I first started coming here, I was with my CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) because he knew I liked playing football, until I got comfortable again, he didn’t have to come anymore, I started going and enjoyed it and interacted with other people.

“I think I’ve made some pretty good friends since coming here, it’s definitely improved my mental health, I don’t have to think about my mental health, I can focus and concentrate on one thing.

“I’d tell people to come as all the lads are welcoming here and I have really enjoyed it. “

To find out more about TRIC and the services they provide, please CLICK HERE. For more information on Wirral Ways to Recovery, please CLICK HERE.

Brentford FC’s psychologist delivers a wellbeing workshop to young carers

Brentford FC’s psychologist, Michael Caulfield, delivered his first ever wellbeing workshop to young carers last week. The workshop, which culminated in a “Walk and Talk” around Griffin Park, provided the young carers with techniques to manage stress.

Held at Griffin Park in conjunction with World Mental Health Day this week, the workshop aimed to provide support for young carers while simultaneously raising awareness of the stress and anxiety many young carers face.

The Young Carers Project, delivered by the Club’s award-winning Community Sports Trust, offers vital respite to young people who are looking after a family member in a caring capacity.

One of Brentford’s most well-known players, Sergi Canos, was on hand to offer his own wisdom on how to manage stress. And with the EFL committed to raising awareness of mental health through its official charity partner Mind, Brentford FC are leading the way in raising awareness of mental health both on and off the football pitch.

Speaking about attending the workshop today, the Spanish player said:

“From being at this workshop today, I had no idea the difficulties young carers faced looking after a family member. Using my platform as a professional footballer, I hope I have given young carers a voice and reminded them they are not alone and we are here to help them.”

With 80% of young carers carrying out caring duties every day or most days of the week., the workshop aimed to highlight the importance of walking, having a good night’s sleep and exercising regularly.

Eleven-year-old Jessica McDonald, a young carer for her brother, credits the project with helping her talk more openly, she said:

“It is good to meet people who are going through the same experience as you and understand what it’s like to look after someone with an illness or additional needs.

“I have started to talk more to my family about things and I think my confidence has improved.”

Commissioned by Ealing Council and Hounslow Council, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s Young Carers Project offers young people the opportunity to learn new skills and gain in confidence on a weekly basis. The projects include: after-school homework clubs; lunchtime clubs; youth clubs, fortnightly swimming clubs and day trips during the school holidays.

Councillor Yvonne Johnson, Ealing Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“Whether as family or friends, teachers or healthcare professionals, we all have a role to play in supporting young people through challenging times.

“The council is proud to be running a mental health first aid programme in our schools to help staff identify and support children struggling with their mental health.

“And I am very pleased the Young Carers project, delivered with Brentford FC’s Community Sports Trust, is providing support to these exceptional young people who, typically, have taken on far more responsibility at home than most others the same age.

“Everyone needs help sometimes and we should all feel comfortable asking for it – especially young people. Having sports professionals from the football club to reiterate this message in an accessible way to young people is so important in letting them know they are not alone.”

For more information about the Trust’s community projects visit www.brentfordfccst.com

For more information about Brentford FC’s psychologist, visit https://www.justcaulfield.com/

World Cerebral Palsy Day: Jordi’s story

As part of World Cerebral Palsy Day (6th October), we are highlighting a fantastic story about one individual who has attended Cardiff City FC Foundation’s sessions for over seven years.

Jordi, who is now 12 years old, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of two, with his disability having the most impact on his legs as well as his arms and torso from time to time.

Jordi has been using a Kaye walker in everyday life, but luckily was “born with a happy and sunny personality which has enabled him to cope with his disability in a remarkable way” says his Mum, Natalie.

The Bluebirds Charity run a number of PAN disability sessions funded by Children in Need throughout the week, which uses sport as a tool to encourage physical health and activity, social interaction and improve confidence.

Natalie said: “I took Jordi along to a session just before his fifth birthday, and it was the first sporting activity he had ever taken part in. After attending these sessions, it has inspired Jordi to go on and try other sports like tennis, swimming and cricket,” she says.

Jordi has had three separate surgical procedures in the time he has been attending the disability sessions run by the Bluebirds Charity, seeing him have his Achilles’ tendons extended, consistent Botox in his legs and most recently, re-adjusting his femurs with the hope that he’ll eventually be able to walk unaided.

Natalie added: “Jordi really does enjoy the sessions; they were one of a kind when we were looking and we’re now so grateful that they were running because it’s helped him so much. The other sports that Jordi took part in sort of faded away, whereas the Children in Need sessions have been ever-present.”

Jordi was recently rewarded by the Foundation for his hard work and positive attitude to recover from his recent operation by being given a mascot position, leading the Bluebirds out against Brighton at Cardiff City Stadium. Giving Jordi the opportunity to take part in sport despite his disability has seen him take a huge step in achieving his full potential.

Jordi was also recently named as the Foundation’s Community Participant of the Year at Cardiff City FC’s 2019 Awards Night after showing dedication and passion to our Bluebirds Ability sessions.

Jordi said: “The sessions on a Sunday are very good, I wouldn’t miss them for the world. They really help me improve my football skills and I’ve made loads of new friends.”

Cardiff City FC Community Foundation is celebrating 10 years of changing lives. Over the last 10 years the Bluebirds Charity has invested more than £10 million into sport and education programmes in local communities and supported over 230,000 individuals to achieve their full potential.

NCS Graduate named as National Youth Ambassador

NCS Graduate, Connor Burleigh from Doncaster has been recognised nationally for his work in the community.

Connor will today take his place amongst fifty inspirational youth ambassadors who will lead on a high profile national #iwill campaign aimed at encouraging young people to take an active part in their community. These remarkable 10-20 year olds hail from all walks of life and all four nations of the country…but they have one thing in common – a passion that drives them to help others.

Connor is an EFL Trust NCS Graduate who took part in the life-changing programme in the summer of 2018 with Club Doncaster Foundation. He has since gone on to make a huge difference in the community as part of Doncaster’s Youth Council for a number of years, he has also been awarded the Princess Diana Award for his work on anti-bullying in schools as well as renovating a playground for children with disabilities whilst on NCS.

Connor is also part of his regional NCS Youth Board where he is a voice for thousands of young adults across Yorkshire & Humber. He is one of eight new #iwill ambassadors to come from NCS and believes his experience on NCS has supported his passion to make change.

“Having already been involved in Doncaster’s Youth Council, NCS opened my eyes and gave me a better understanding of the community I live in.

“It was amazing to be given the platform to make a positive difference through my teams social action project at Rossington’s Family Hub where we renovated the playground for the use of children with disability.

“The role of an #iwill Amabassador is something I am hugely passionate about. Raising both the profile of young adults’ potential and also challenging the perception that people have of young adults my age is vital.”

“Stories like these demonstrate the difference any individual can make early on in life,” said Rania Marandos, CEO of Step Up to Serve, which coordinates the #iwill campaign. “Young people all across the UK are reaching out to members of their communities – peers, parents, teachers, youth workers – to create positive change together through campaigning, mentoring, fundraising or volunteering. Since 2013, #iwill has become a powerful cross-sector movement of over 1,000 organisations committed to transforming the role of young people in society.”

Director of Operations, EFL Trust, Mike Evans has said;

“Through NCS we know the potential of young adults and the positive impact they can make in the community if given the opportunity.

“We are delighted that Connor has been selected as an #iwill Ambassador. The EFL Trust are strong advocates of #iwill and have supported the campaign for a number of years. There is a synergy between NCS and #iwill and through both we want to ensure that young adults have the platform to make positive change in the community they grew up in.”

The new cohort of #iwill Ambassadors is being recognised at a special one-off event at The Great Hall, University of Birmingham. They will come together today to explore – with other young people, campaign partners and decision-makers – what more needs to be done to grow the power of young people to take action, have their voices heard and make a positive difference.

Poetry in Motion as Cardiff City striker Isaac Vassell swaps football pitch for the classroom

Cardiff City striker Isaac Vassell joined the Cardiff City FC Foundation, the official charity of Cardiff City Football Club, as they paid a visit to Maerdy Community Primary School to celebrate National Poetry Day.   

National Poetry Day, the UK-wide celebration of poetry, takes place every year with a new theme, which this year – the 25th anniversary – is Truth.

Pupils from Year 6 were inspired by Isaac, using their creative writing skills to come up with their own, unique pieces of poetry surrounding how important truth and trust can be on a football pitch, before showing the confidence to stand up and read their creations in front of their classmates.

The lesson aimed to improve children’s confidence in reading and writing, whilst also helping them to articulate and develop their confidence in oracy skills.

National Poetry Day generates an explosion of activity nationwide, celebrating poetry’s power to bring people together and inspiring children to explore their imaginative minds.

Speaking at the event, Vassell said: “It’s so important that primary school children develop their reading and writing skills. Moving forward in their lives, they need to be confident in being able to speak and write their ideas down. I’m glad that I can help.”

The visit was organised as part of the Premier League Primary Stars project, a project that provides opportunities for pupils and teachers to further develop themselves.

The Bluebirds Charity recently celebrated 10 years of changing lives, during which time it has invested over £10 million in sport and education programmes across South Wales.