Reece: “I don’t know where i’d be without the NCS programme.”

• Reece is an NCS graduate having taken part in last year’s programme.
• He now studies an 18-month apprenticeship with the Community Trust.
• Latics’ game against Stoke City on Wednesday night is an #NCSMatchDay.

For 17-year-old Latics fan Reece Webster, Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s National Citizen Service programme has helped to develop him as a person as well as provide him with exciting opportunities to continue his educational development with the club’s official charity.

Reece, who first started out on the Train with Latics course and now studies an 18-month apprenticeship with the Community Trust, credits NCS for helping him to improve his confidence and self-esteem having taken part in the scheme last year.

A national programme which aims to improve the confidence, leadership and teamwork skills of youngsters aged 15-17, NCS gives them the opportunity to gain invaluable work and life experiences.

As part of a wider EFL Trust campaign, Latics’ game against Stoke City at the DW Stadium on Wednesday night will be the club’s dedicated #NCSMatchDay which will see coaches from the Trust promote the programme to youngsters in the Family Zone underneath the East Stand.

Reece said: “I picked up so many different skills on NCS, things like people-skills, communication, confidence and decision-making, all of which have helped me to become a better person.

“Confidence is the biggest change in me though, I’m now a lot more confident and don’t really know where I’d be without the NCS programme, it’s been a really big help.”

Broken into four phases; adventure, discovery, social action project and graduation, NCS gives participants the chance to take on new challenges, complete various activities, make long-lasting friendships and develop skills that will support them with the transition to adulthood.

“I’ve met so many new people and have made lots of friends as part of NCS, some of which I probably would never have met if I hadn’t have signed-up to the programme.

“Even though I was a little bit nervous at the start of it all, I’m so glad I kept at it because I really enjoyed myself and it was one of the best experiences of my life and it led me to gaining a place on the Community Trust’s apprenticeship programme which I was delighted about.

“I now help to deliver PE and school sport sessions in primary schools across Wigan, which has further helped me to develop my skills and increase my confidence.

“I’d 100% recommend NCS to any young person in Wigan because it provides you with some unbelievable experiences and memories.”

Are you a current Year 11 or 12 student and want to know more about Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s NCS project?

Please email NCS manager Mick Whittle on or call 01942 318090 for further information about the programme.

Joe’s Journey

Like most teenagers, Joe, from Sheffield, wasn’t sure what to do in life or what options were available to him for his future; until he did NCS with Sheffield United Football Club back in the summer of 2012.

Joe was one of the first teens to take part in NCS, not knowing the impact it would have on his life. He was part of the first and only national graduation that took place at the O2 Arena in London which was followed by a seat at Wembley to watch England in a World Cup Qualifier.

At the time, Joe felt that learning in a classroom environment wasn’t for him and he was adamant about not going into further education, until Chris Bailey, who was Education Manager at Sheffield United Community Foundation opened Joe’s eyes to the opportunities at the Club.

Eventually, Joe enrolled onto a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport with Sheffield United and went on to achieve a First Class BSc (Hons) in Sport Development with Coaching at Sheffield Hallam University.

Chris Bailey, now Head of Sheffield United Community Foundation, met Joe on NCS in 2012:

“Joe was a bit of a challenge to start with, but the investment of our time with him paid off tenfold. Two years after Joe had achieved a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport, he earned himself a place at University.

“Not to mention, Joe represented SUFC in the Futsal National Finals, winning trophies and accolades along the way. Not bad for someone who didn’t want to go on and continue his studies.”

Whilst studying at University, Joe volunteered his time on the NCS programme, drawing on his experience to support other teens on the programme at a number of south Yorkshire Clubs including Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday before eventually landing a full time role as NCS Recruitment Engagement Officer at Sheffield United.

Joe spoke about NCS:

“NCS and Sheffield United really opened my eyes to opportunities I didn’t know were available.

“Working full time on NCS is an incredible. I am now in a privileged position to give back to NCS and support teenagers who were in similar situation to me.” 

Chris was delighted to have Joe full time on the programme where he started his journey six years ago:

“When I found out Joe had applied to join the Foundation as an employee on NCS, I knew instantly that we had a very trustworthy and committed young man.

“Fortunately our NCS Manager thought the same, and Joe became an employee in 2018. It’s amazing what you can achieve by saying yes to the programme.”


Sheffield United are 1 of 22 other clubs across the EFL and Premier League who will be hosting an NCS Match Day in February. NCS Match Day is an annual event championed by EFL Trust to celebrate the positive impact that young people are having in local communities across the country. The club’s first team players will have an important role to play by warming up in NCS branded t shirts and meeting programme graduates.

To find out more about NCS visit:

Cambridge United Community Trust’s ‘Mind Your Head’ programme highlighted as example of good practice in Parliament report

Cambridge United’s ‘Mind Your Head’ programme has been cited in an All-Party Parliamentary Group report as an example of good practice in the mental health sector.

The report, which was prepared by a working group of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood programme, quotes ‘Mind Your Head’ on pages 53-55 as “an example of a successful practice based evidence programme that is certainly capable of successful adoption and replication in other school settings.”

You can view the report here

The programme, which is delivered through Cambridge United Community Trust in partnership with Cambridge youth mental-health charity Centre 33, aims at helping secondary school children deal better with stress and anxiety.

To date, the programme has been delivered to more than 1000 students over six sessions that destigmatize mental health, educate young people about how to deal with stress and also encourage young people to discuss how social media can both positively and negatively affect their well-being.

Talking about the impact of the programme, Adrian Bradley, Head of Sport and Health at EFL Trust said:

“It’s excellent to see the Mind Your Head project cited in the report and it is a good example  of the large amount of work going on at EFL Clubs helping their communities to tackle mental health issues.’’

Paul Farmer, CEO of MIND, praised the Club’s approach. He said:

“It’s great to see Cambridge United taking such a strong leadership position in putting mental health at the heart of football. Their ambition to be a mentally healthy club, supported by their practical action plan, is a model for the game. Mind’s partnership with the EFL is seeing clubs across the country starting to take action, working together with local Minds…I’m delighted to see the CUFC approach in the club and community taking shape.”

Ben Szreter, Cambridge United Community Trust CEO, said:

“We’re flattered to have had recognition within parliament for our Mind Your Head schools programme. Cambridge United’s ambition to be a mentally healthy football club has taken shape over the last year or so across the football club and we’re pleased to be able to help to open up conversations about mental health and destigmatise the issue.”

To find out more about Cambridge United Community Trust’s ‘Mind Your Head’ programme visit: 

Community Takeover: Children from community projects take part in matchday roles at Brentford game

Brentford’s stunning victory over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday was helped by a very special person. Eira Griffiths,12, added a magic touch to the coaching team as she took on the role of ‘Young Head Coach’ for Brentford’s first ever Community Takeover Day. And she clearly made an impact as The Bees came back from 2-0 down to win 5-2.

From the press box to the football pitch, ten children – from eight of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s community projects – went behind scenes and joined matchday staff to learn the ropes.

Highlights included:

  • The mini referee, Dajahn Lang, had the important task of pressing the buzzer and calling the teams before the match begun.
  • Charlie Wilkins swapped the classroom for the dressing room as he helped prepare the players’ kit with the Club’s Kit Man Bob Oteng.
  • Leah Hunt, 12, who was transformed into a journalist as she wrote her match report in the press box and took over Brentford FC’s Twitter account, which included announcing Ollie Watkins’ goal that brought the score back to 2-2.
  • Mia Lloyd helped capture the elation of the Brentford players’ goals as she took on the role of Club Photographer.
  • Isis Cuttings proved a worthy pundit as she described the drama of the match as a matchday commentator on Griffin Park’s gantry.

And Eira Griffiths, who has been part of the Trust’s girls’ football programme for nearly five years, played an instrumental role in sealing the victory. Fans rose to their feet as she joined Thomas Frank in celebrating the win on the pitch for the post-match celebrations before heading in to the dressing room where she was presented with a shirt by Neal Maupay, who scored Brentford’s fourth goal.

Talking about the experience, she said:

“My favourite part of the day was going into the changing room and seeing what the players get up to before and after the game.”

All the children involved benefit from the Trust’s community projects, which includes supporting young carers, children with autism and young people in the local area.

Donald Kerr, Vice Chairman of Brentford FC and Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said:

“The Community Takeover epitomises everything Brentford FC is trying to achieve – embedding the local community within the heart of our football club. As we prepare to move to our new stadium, we are committed to taking the community with us on this exciting new journey – ensuring that everyone can be part of Brentford FC.

“The event on Saturday not only proved the Club’s commitment to the community, but it also showcased the impact the Community Sports Trust has on young people across west London.”

The match was part of Brentford FC’s ongoing commitment to community initiatives. For every ticket bought at the game, £1 was donated to Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Tony on Active Recovery: “Working in a group going through a similar experience was so motivating.”

Tony, aged 75, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer nearly seven years ago, credits Derby County Community Trust’s Active Recovery Programme for keeping him highly motivated throughout his treatment.

Within a few months of diagnosis he had the tumour removed, but in a routine check-up six months after the procedure, tests indicated that the prostate was not fully removed.

This meant Tony had to begin a course of aggressive radiotherapy, where he had 33 courses in just two months, leaving him physically drained.

Despite the treatment being successful in removing the prostate, 18 months later significant bleeding led to a sigmoidoscopy which discovered radiation burns. There was no treatment option, only to wait and hope that the burns would heal and scar over.

Almost six years after his initial diagnosis, Tony was discharged by his consultant in May 2018, but still requires follow up tests as a precaution.

Throughout his illness and treatment, Tony was a member of the Derby Prostate Support Group, and was invited to a Macmillan Health and Wellbeing Event at Pride Park Stadium. The Derby County Community Trust team gave a talk on Active Recovery, an exercise programme designed to complement cancer treatment and recovery.

Tony got in touch with Derby County Community Trust’s cancer advisor, and due to living outside the city of Derby, agreed to try one session a week. He’s not looked back ever since, and is a dedicated member of the group, who not only has helped himself by taking part but spreads the word about the programme to ensure as many people who are overcoming cancer can gain the additional support.

From diagnosis and through treatment, Tony felt significant physiological changes, which led to behavioural changes and psychological problems. He experienced a loss of self-confidence and low self-esteem, and his family were affected too as they found it difficult to come to terms with everything that was happening.

Through joining the Derby Prostate Cancer Support Group, Tony and his family realised that they were not alone with their problems, psychological therapy improved his self-esteem and helped his family to understand the changes and the impact of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Active Recovery improved his self-confidence due to improvement in balance, coordination and stamina. Working in a group with others who were overcoming cancer like himself was hugely important to Tony, and most he found that it was highly motivational.

He said: “The hardest part of dealing with cancer diagnosis and treatment was the way it changed my behaviour and feelings, as this didn’t just impact me, but my family. Support groups, therapy and Active Recovery helped us realise that we weren’t alone in what we were going through.”

 “Active Recovery really improved my self-confidence as I was able to better my balance, coordination and stamina. Working in a group with others going through similar experiences to myself was really motivating as we were able to support one another.”

To find out more about the Derby County Community Trust’s cancer rehabilitation programmes, please see:




World Cancer Day: TRIC walking football sessions have had positive effect on Mike

Ahead of World Cancer Day, Tranmere Rovers in the Community spoke to regular walking football attendee Mike McGovern about how attending walking football sessions helps him remain embedded in the sport and community he loves.

Mike was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney in 1994, which was later removed after successful surgery.

However, 14 years later, a further tumor developed on the inside of his mouth which resulted in Mike having to undergo facial reconstruction surgery to remove it.

Eight years post-treatment and Mike now attends our walking football sessions twice a week. He has described the ability to partake in the group activities run by Tranmere Rovers in the Community as being ‘absolutely phenomenal’ for his health and wellbeing.

Speaking about his diagnosis, he said:

“My first diagnosis was in 1994, I had a tumor in my kidney the size of a grapefruit. They removed my kidney and the cancer was encased inside of the kidney, so it hadn’t spread. Surgery was all the treatment I needed in 1994.

Then in 2008, I developed a tumor on the inside of my mouth. It was a different cancer to the one I had in my kidney so they had to take a harsher approach. They made an incision in my face, lifted a part of it off and removed the tumor. After that they were able to rebuild the inside of my mouth using skin grafts.

Unfortunately, no one knows why, I had a reoccurrence in my right jaw some time later. This is very unusual as only 5% of people have a reoccurrence but I did.

They removed my jawbone complete with its teeth, took my fibular bone out of my leg and rebuilt the front of my jaw with a titanium plate. Aintree University Hospital is a world-leader in maxillofacial reconstruction and the work they do there is unbelievable.”

Four years after his treatment, Mike retired from work and has since been attending the Recreation Centre for walking football sessions:

“I am now eight years post treatment, I retired in 2014 from the rail industry and then within three or four months I was here. I’ve spent the last four years, twice a week, thoroughly enjoying myself.

I can’t tell you how much I look forward to coming to play football here at Tranmere Rovers. It’s wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

When you retire you don’t miss the work, you miss the people and the banter and I get that in spades in here. They are all men, similar age to me. We laugh and we joke and it’s absolutely phenomenal.

I really recommend it to anyone who wants to do a bit of sport but also wants the social aspect of it, the laughter and the banter, it’s absolutely fantastic.”

Tranmere Rovers in the Community hold walking football sessions for both women and men throughout the week in the Recreation Centre:

Monday: Men’s Over 50s – 2-3pm
Tuesday: Women’s Over 40s – 11-12pm
Wednesday: Men’s Over 50s – 11-12pm
Friday: Men’s Over 60s – 11-12pm

For more information about TRIC please get in touch by email: or call: 0151 608 2354.

Ron: “I believe walking football saved my life.”

Ron, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December 2017, believes that if it wasn’t for joining Sky Blues in the Communities (SBitTC) walking football sessions three years ago, he may have never took the important prostate-specific antigen test.

Ron used his diagnosis to help drive forwards SBitTC’s Cancer Support Group (supported by Macmillan Cancer Support), taking on the personal responsibility for encouraging other men to access PSA testing.

His likeable, mild-mannered and positive attitude endeared him both with SBitC staff and participants at sessions and his determination and verve for life whilst undergoing treatment was highly inspirational.

He said: “I believe walking football saved my life; if I hadn’t been playing I wouldn’t have completed a PSA test and then had my treatment. It is this that helps inspire me to support other men who are receiving treatment for Cancer.”

Because of Ron’s investments in the programme, he is now a lead coach and patient advocate on the Cancer Support Group and works tirelessly to raise awareness and inspire those with prostate cancer; the vast majority of SBitTC’s walking footballers have undertaken PSA testing and three have been diagnosed with prostate cancer as a result.

He continued: “It’s fantastic to have an opportunity to give something back to the community and what better way than through the football club I’ve supported all my life.”


Nathan Isom, Health Manager at Sky Blues in the Community said: “Ron has been so inspiring and has done all of this whilst undergoing treatment for his Prostate Cancer; his experience of the treatment process enables him to support other men living with cancer.

“We work to positively change lives of local people across Coventry and Warwickshire and, alongside our dedicated team, volunteers like Ron support us to do exactly that.”

EFL and Premier League Clubs to unite for #NCSMatchDay

EFL and Premier League Clubs will unite to show their support and celebrate the positive impact of 15-17 year olds that have taken part in NCS (National Citizen Service) through #NCSMatchDay.

#NCSMatchDay  is a national campaign ran by EFL Trust and this year will enter it’s fourth year.

The campaign is proving to be a huge success, reaching millions of people every year. Over 300 footballers such as Burnley FC’s Sam Vokes and Middlesbrough’s Stewart Downing have helped celebrate NCS and honor the young people who have given back to their local community.

Over the next few weekends, Clubs such as Leeds United, Burnley FC and Stoke City will showcase NCS takeover matches, which will involve first team players warming up in NCS branded t-shirts and meeting NCS graduates.

Each EFL Club has a dedicated NCS Ambassador from their first team who champions NCS programmes in their local community. This includes Middlesbrough FC defender George Friend who was voted PFA Player in the Community  in 2016, highlighting his significant work around the Teeside community and his support for NCS.

Talking about the NCS Programme, George said:

“I’ve been a supporter of MFC Foundation’s NCS project for a number of years now, and I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact it has had on the teenagers involved.

I think NCS is brilliant. It gives young people the chance to experience a variety of activities and challenges whilst building new friendships and benefiting the local community.”

Dominik Stingas Paczko, Community Operations manager at EFL Trust said:

“NCS Match Day is a now key date in the football calendar.

“It’s a great opportunity to engage with different audiences and use the power of football to raise the awareness of NCS in local communities. The support we get from EFL and Premier League Clubs as well as the professional footballers is amazing.”

EFL Trust work with over 50 EFL and Premier League Clubs that deliver NCS and have already given the life changing opportunity to over 50,000 teenagers.

NCS is a flagship government initiative that provides young people aged 16-17 the chance to take on new challenges, experience exciting activities, make long-lasting friendships and develop vital skills that will support them later in life. Supporting young people’s transition to adulthood, the programme develops their strength of character, giving a sense of purpose, optimism and belonging.

To find out more about NCS, visit:

EFL Trust NCS Programme Wins National Award

The EFL Trust have received national recognition for the Autumn NCS programme which gave over 300 teenagers the opportunity to push their limits and develop new skills with their local football club. 

NCS is a flagship government initiative that provides young people aged 16-17 the chance to take on new challenges, experience exciting activities, make long-lasting friendships and develop vital skills that will support them later in life.

The Autumn Pilot Programme was a new initiative involving 18 EFL and Premier League Clubs including Chelsea FC, West Ham United and Lincoln City, delivering NCS for the first time during Autumn 2018.

EFL Trust with their national award

The Trust’s Autumn programme was one of only two projects to receive a certificate of recognition at the NCS Trust Annual Conference in London.

Not only did the clubs deliver significant numbers but the quality of programmes delivered by the football clubs was highlighted by NCS Trust.

Dominik Stingas Pazcko, Communities Operations Manager, said:

“It’s fantastic that the Clubs have been recognised by NCS Trust for their hard work.

“We are delighted about the success of our Autumn Pilot. We know that football clubs are at the heart of the community and have the ability to reach young people, where others may struggle. This is another great example of how football clubs are leading the way in delivering programmes that improve the lives of people in their communities.”

Having delivered NCS since the pilots in 2011, EFL Trust have had over 50,000 young people complete NCS, working with over 30 local delivery partners to engage with over 10,000 young people each year.

To find out more about NCS visit:

Brentford FC announce Community Takeover Match

Brentford’s Sky Bet Championship fixture against Blackburn Rovers has been dedicated to the local community and young people will play a special role. The Club’s first ever Community Takeover Match will take place next Saturday, 2 February, and children from Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s community projects will have the exciting opportunity to take part in important matchday roles next week. From the press box to the football pitch, ten children – from across eight of the Trust’s community projects – will go behind the scenes and join a number of matchday staff to learn the ropes. 

Children with disabilities, a young carer, and a budding female footballer are just some of the participants who will take on the roles – including shadowing Head Coach Thomas Frank. And the takeover won’t just focus on Thomas Frank’s pre-match tactics, children will also join staff in the ticket office, Club Shop and shadowing Brentford’s legendary matchday announcer Peter Gilham.

Mia, 13, benefits from the Trust’s Young Carers project, which provides much-needed respite to young people across the boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow. She will have the chance to work at the match and will be shadowing the Club’s matchday photography team, pitchside taking pictures that will appear on

Speaking about the match, she said: “I really enjoy photography – it has allowed me to express myself and I’m honoured to be able to photograph a team that I have supported since I was little. It was only through the Trust’s Young Carers Project I have been able to develop my passion for photography: the project has helped build my confidence and helped me share experiences with other young carers in the same situation as me.” 

The match is part of Brentford FC’s ongoing commitment to community initiatives. For every ticket bought at the game, £1 will be donated to Brentford FC Community Sports Trust – helping people like Mia.

Cliff Crown, Brentford FC Chairman, said: “This is a fantastic idea and I am delighted we have been able to work with the Trust to create such a memorable event. It will be a great sight to see young people that engage with Brentford FC via our Trust heavily involved on matchday and getting a view behind the scenes. I am sure our fans will give them all the support they need on the day as well.

“The involvement with our local community is one of our key values. Events like this, as well as the day-to-day involvement of players and staff, are a great way to showcase the work done by the Trust. It is even better that it can happen on a day when we are donating £1 for all tickets sold to the Trust. I hope it is a day where money and awareness are raised.”