Degree programme with County in the Community developed Mo Jallow from a reserved teenager to a mature member of staff at County in the Community.

Having moved to Wales from Gambia, the University of South Wales Degree programme with County in the Community developed Mo Jallow from a reserved teenager to a mature member of staff at County in the Community.

Having initially settled in Aberdare at 13 years old before moving to Newport when he was 16 years old, Mo was always keen and destined to pursue his passion for sport, especially football. Mo was very shy and lacked confidence especially when he was the main focus of a group session whether that would be presenting in the classroom or coaching on the pitch.

However, Mo’s determination and desire to pursue a career in the sports career meant he was open to development and change as an individual to succeed. He studied a BTEC Level 3 in Sports Performance at Llanwern High School as part of the County in the Community college programme before progressing on to the Foundation Degree programme in partnership with the University of South Wales.

The degree programme allowed Mo access to the industry that he had always aspired to. Consequently, his depth of knowledge increased that partnered with his growing confidence evident in his academic success and the level of his coaching and teaching practices. Whilst on the programme, Mo began coaching at the County in the Community college programme and at the County in the Community Premier League Kicks sessions, this exposure and development saw him take up the Premier League Kicks Girl Coordinator role at Newport Community Trust. Alongside this, to further Mo’s knowledge and expertise he shadowed the County in the Community Premier League Primary Stars teachers in schools across Newport, and eventually started delivering PE lessons himself; something that a 16-year-old Mo would never have been comfortable in doing.

Having graduated with the Foundation Degree with a 1st class grade, Mo continued his USW journey by enrolling on the top up the Community Football Coaching and Administration degree.

County in the Community commented: “In the 6 years I have known Mo, seeing him as a shy 16-year-old boy who came down from Aberdare with the ambition to attend our college programme, he has turned into a mature, well rounded, a staff member of County in the Community. The children and young people who attend his sessions think a lot of him as he is very engaging, enthusiastic, and happy to provide opportunities for children and young people.”

Click here to find out more about the degree 


Refugee programme with Sheffield Wednesday grants Simon with the opportunity to better his education.

Simon aged 17 like many young people has a huge passion and love for the game of football, one that welcomes all and he first attended the Sheffield Wednesday Football Club Community Programme’s refugee session. Having recently moved to the county, he was keen to find and pursue activities and opportunities he could get involved with to integrate into the local community.

The refugee programme started in partnership with the Refugee Council whereby they organised and delivered free football sessions to refugees and asylum seekers. However, as the world was hit by COVID-19 and strict lockdown rules were implemented the programme grind to a halt. But, there were still 120 arrivals in the city being housed in a local hotel with very small quantities of the basic necessities required to live; money, clothes and the ability to have contact with friends and family. Not only did this impact their physical well-being but their mental health too.

This was their reality until SWFCCP partnered with Yorkshire Sport who helped fund COVID-safe activity sessions as well as providing equipment for people to continue exercising in their own time.

Having been involved in the refugee football sessions, Simon soon took up the opportunity to partake in the Premier League Kicks sessions where he was able to build further rapport and relationships with staff and other young people.

Not only did this benefit Simon’s football ability but also allowed him to build up his English skills and consequently his confidence. So much so, he has been able to apply and be accepted on the SWFCCP Education Post-16 programme completing a BTEC Sport Level 2 qualification.

Paul Hebda, Inclusion Officer said the following: “I have known Simon for around 2 years now, from working on the Refugee session and the PL Kicks sessions that Simon attended.

“From first attending, Simon was quiet, and he was not confident with his communication skills, with being new to the country and the sessions.” “Now Simon is attending our sessions with lots of confidence and has built some very strong friendships with other young people, and it is great to see him advance onto our Post-16 education programme.”

Simon explained: “I like [attending PL Kicks sessions] as I like the people and we have a lot of fun during the playing time. I like that the staff are giving their time for us to play for free. Everyone is nice to each other, and everyone comes to play football and get along with each other.”

Paul Hebda continued: “The Journey that Simon has come on so far is very positive, and Simon keeps on going from strength to strength, building his skills on a weekly basis.” “Simon would be a fantastic role model for other young people, and it would be great to see him involved in the PL Kicks programme for many years to come, and hopefully will move on to volunteering and helping out with the programme, which could open many doors and opportunities for him.”

Badr sprinting to success hoping to inspire others

Badr came to the UK in 2019 in search of somewhere safe to live and somewhere he could pursue education opportunities to develop himself and his skills, to become a valued member of a community.

Arriving in East Lancashire, Badr who is originally from Kuwait began to engage in activities run by Accrington Stanley Community Trust and in partnership with other organisations, such as Active Lancashire, CSI (Challenge Through Sport Initiative) and the United Together Programme. Through broken English but with a clear passion to learn the language of his new community, Badr began to engage with Shane who is the Community Intervention lead at the Trust.

Working together, we helped Badr to overcome a number of significant barriers as he settled in, from setting up a bank account, to helping him find more suitable housing as his time in temporary accommodation came to an end and he risked homelessness. From here, Badr began to integrate himself into the local community, making connections, attending groups and activities and also pursuing formal education locally.

Through one of these new connections, Badr was identified as someone who could be given the opportunity to run the London Marathon, supported by Active Lancashire and their support staff team and representing the work they do. Badr was then supported into a training schedule which saw him build up towards the big day and his latest achievement in his inspiring journey. Completing the marathon in under 4 hours, Badr also spent time exploring London and making the most of his trip to the capital, the least he deserved for his tiresome effort.

Shane Hudson, Community Intervention Officer at Accrington Stanley Community Trust commented,

“Badr and his journey are a genuine inspiration to everyone who knows him. The struggles and adversity he has overcome to get to where he is today is testament to his attitude and endeavour and nothing less than he deserves. Running the London Marathon is yet another significant achievement in Badr’s long line of successes and we’re all exceptionally proud of him!”

Currently, he is taking part in the Government Kickstart scheme, at Accrington Stanley Community Trust as part of the maintenance team. The scheme allows those that are aged between 16- 24 on Universal credits, gain valuable paid work experience with companies.

Badr has fit in with the other staff members at the Trust and has become a valued member of the team. As well as working as part of the maintenance team, in his own time Badr has assisted in other areas such as assisting on some coaching sessions. He has also played as part of the staff team that won the Orphanage Cup this year that saw the Trust team fend off stiff competition from other local companies’ football teams in aid of the charity CANW (Child Action Northwest), which supports children, families and vulnerable adults within the local community. He has also joined AFC Burnley which play in the Manchester Football League.

Badr hopes to use his achievement to inspire others his age to achieve positive changes and experiences and he hopes to eventually go into coaching and supporting other people to replicate his achievement.


Football Clubs go to Extra Time to help more people away from Loneliness

1’000s more older people set to helped away from loneliness thanks to their Football Club.

Eight more EFL Football Club charities have joined the EFL Trust’s Extra Time Hubs following the completion of a successful 3-year pilot. Funded by Sport England, the first 11 Extra Time hubs were launched in 2019 to help older people make the most of their retirement years.  Despite the pilot phase including an unprecedented global pandemic, the hubs have been a great success.

Around 3,000 people have benefited from the Hubs so far. People like Avril who attends Wigan Athletic Extra Time Hub, she comments, “I lost my husband in July 2019 after a very long struggle with dementia and up to that point I’d had to give up most of my activities as I was always looking after him and taking care of him up until he went into care. When he passed away, I thought I had to get back into some sort of activities because I had lost touch with everything. I came across the Extra Time Hub and popped in to have a look and thought it looked good and I was hooked from there. I’m very grateful as it dug me out of a very lonely hole.”

Adrian Bradley the EFL Trust’s Health and Wellbeing lead, explains, “We set out to do something different. The prevision of older people’s services tended to be small coffee morning groups or bingo sessions.  We knew that involved culture change. We had an ambitious concept in mind. We still do. We want to create a social community of people in their retirement years who meet regularly to socialise and to do the things they enjoy. The 3-year pilot phase demonstrated that our concept works, and we have a strong ambition to replicate across our network.”

The Extra Time hubs were funded by Sport England’s Active Aging programme, however as Adrian explains there was a deliberate move not decision to promote the hubs as a physical activity programme, “We never promote the exercise and physical activity. We work on the principle of health by stealth and instead promote the social elements of the hub. We wanted to help people to feel better by reducing their social isolation and loneliness and increasing their life satisfaction and happiness. We did not set out to create ‘loneliness clubs’ though, because who would want to join one of those. By building these long-term relationships we have ‘nudged’ people them towards more active lifestyles.”

The Hubs are making a difference. They have helped members to connect with other people, to make friendships and to become more socially and physically active through a time that was particularly difficult for our older communities.

As Avril explains the hubs provide a wide range of activities, “We’ve had ball room dancing, tennis and scrabble, there’s just so much going on and you never knew what you’d be doing each week which gave you something to look forward too. The staff are just so vibrant, full of fun and during the pandemic they have kept us laughing.”

Adrian continues, “We created a framework in which the Hubs would be shaped by members.  It was not for EFL Trust to determine what activities and support was needed in Plymouth or Sunderland.”

Right in the middle of the pilot, however, the pandemic hit and prevented face to face meeting – the very ethos of the hubs – from taking place. However, if anything this proved the value of the hubs, meeting virtual, with members often helping other members with the new technology. The new friendships that had been forged at the hubs helped sustain people through the difficult months of lock down.

The learning from the Extra Hubs helped the Trust secure funding from DCMS to help tackle loneliness during the pandemic. In the 6 months the programme over 33,000 people were supported and the contribution the programme made was recognised with a Leaders in Sport Award

The project meant more Club charities engaged in loneliness work offered an opportunity to continue the legacy of our Loneliness work, by establishing Phase 2 of the Extra Time Hubs with the 8 new Club charities joining the 11 founder members.

The eight new Hubs are Cambridge United, Exeter City, Preston North End, Port Vale, Rotherham United, Stevenage, Hull City Tigers Trust and Newport County. They join the eleven existing Hubs Carlton Athletic, Crawley Town, Burton Albion, Derby County, Plymouth Argyle, Bolton Wanderers, Northampton Town, Wigan Athletic, Sunderland, Lincoln City and Shrewsbury Town .



FIT FANS with Bolton Wanderers opened Gemma’s eyes to health and wellbeing

Prior to attending her first FIT FANS session, Gemma was apprehensive and reluctant to get involved in the programme as she had some misconceptions surrounding the programmes morals and outcomes.

She believed that like other weight loss initiatives, weekly weigh-ins would be made in front of the group, with participants feeling as though they would have to explain themselves in an uncomfortable environment.

However, Gemma exclaims: “I was so very wrong.”

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change, and weight loss are sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, and reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in reduction in blood pressure, and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

Gemma saw her weight increase after her wedding, but she desired to feel better about herself.  FIT FANS has allowed her to do just that, all with the support of other women just like her.

She said:

“Once we had started and I had met the other ladies, I started to relax and think that I wasn’t the only person feeling the same way and started to feel like we were all in this together.”

The sustainable approach of FIT FANS is unlike any other where participants partake in a blended session of classroom and physical activities.

Gemma explains:

“I learned so much in our classroom part of the sessions, some things were an eye-opener – how much cheese is classed as a portion for example (shocking), other things I knew but weren’t putting into practice. It gave me a real boost to think about what I am putting into my body, about portion sizes, and about how much I move.”

With a boost of willpower and knowledge, Gemma was able to re-evaluate her diet and start to implement some of what the course had taught her. This was beneficial for Gemma’s weight loss but also for her general health and wellbeing.

She said:

“The physical exercise parts were the bits I loved the most. I really enjoy the feeling afterward and how much stronger and fitter I am becoming week after week.”

The 12-week FIT FANS programme with Bolton Wanderers has provided Gemma with the foundations to continuously implement a healthy diet and regular exercise in her day-to-day life.

Degree programme with County in the Community offers Curtis a brighter future.

Curtis had an unstable childhood that projected into his later life too. He grew up within the care system and a turbulent time saw him drop out of school early where he ended up being sent to prison. However, Curtis desired for a better outcome for himself by bettering himself through education.

Whilst in prison, he enrolled with the Open University and was able to volunteer at County in the Community’s We Wear the Same Shirt session. Upon release from prison, Curtis was considering his options to continue his second year of study when he chose to continue his connection with Newport County and enroll on their Foundation degree in partnership with the University of South Wales.

The degree course is one of several degrees offered at EFL Club’s across the country in partnership with the University of South Wales. The degree provides the skills and qualities that are required to work within professional football clubs community departments or other national sports governing bodies in areas of growth such as social inclusion, community coaching and football development. Students are uniquely based within their own local football Clubs where they gain valuable first-hand experience of working in a community sports environment for a minimum of five days per year at the USW Sport Park, a £3.7m state-of-the-art coaching and performance development centre.

Curtis has shown great academic and personal development through his maturity and willingness to do better for himself and his future. In the early stages of the programme, he was achieving 2:2 grades but as the course progressed, he consistently achieved first-class grades.

Consequently, his drive and ambition led him to the Community Football Coaching and Administration Top Up Degree. Curtis explained: “If you’re looking for a career in sports coaching, this course provides you with the platform for this”.

This has been recognised by everyone that comes into contact with Curtis. A USW “Curtis is not only driven to achieve success on his educational pathway, but he is also committed to developing himself on a daily basis in all areas of his life. His passion to succeed at achieving his goals is unmatched, which he tries to inspire in others around him so that they achieve success in their lives too.”

Curtis’ personal journey has not always been linear or one of the positive notations but through the Degree programme he has left his past behind and can now only see a brighter, more positive future where he aspires to achieve a Masters’s degree.

For more information click here.

EFL Trust celebrate the volunteers and impact of young people

This past week #VolunteersWeek was displayed across the network, shining brightly examples of magnificent projects and initiatives which have been undertaken by inspiring young people at Club Community Organisations, as well as EFL Trust Staff themselves.

Additionally, #PowerOfYouth day also took place on Monday 6th June. The day highlighted the instrumental differences young people have made upon communities. Young people have been banding together in collaboration to help in tackling contemporary issues felt closest to them and their communities.

We take a look back on some of the fantastic examples of volunteering and inspiring young people across the network:

Claire Streeter

EFL Trust’s own Claire Streeter raised £10,000 to support people living with Dementia. Claire raised the money, as she determinedly set out on a 106-mile walk over 6 days from Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium to Manchester United’s Old Trafford.

Bradford City Community Foundation

NCS Changemakers at Bradford City Community Foundation created an innovative and informative video, with the aim of spreading awareness of unwanted sexual behaviour on British Railways, which gained special recognition for UK Parliament at Westminster.

Burton Albion Community Trust

Volunteers at Burton Albion Community Trust carried out more than 250,000 critical Covid-19 vaccinations at the Pirelli Stadium, winning EFL Community Project of the Season for League 1 along the way.

Peer Action Collective (PAC)

The PAC is a programme which involves giving young people a voice and a chance to make their communities safer, fairer places. As part of PAC, young people in Bradford set out on tackling youth crime and helping to keep people within the streets of Bradford safe at night.

Tigers Trust

Inspiring young NCS Changemakers at Tigers Trust set out on a project to tackle environmental issues within the communities of Hull, resulting in a beach clean up.

Award Winning young people from Bradford gain recognition from Parliament for project on unwanted sexual behaviour

A group of NCS Changemakers with Bradford City Community Foundation launched a project which aimed at spreading awareness of the need to report unwanted sexual behaviour on British Railways.

The project was a part of a competition pitched by Northern Trains Ltd (NTL), that tasked young people to develop a video campaign that would create awareness of unwanted sexual behaviour on trains and how to report this to the transport police.

From multiple entrants, Bradford’s NCS Changemakers came out on top as they created an impactful campaign, featuring an innovative, yet informative video on the need to report unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport and the ways you can report it to the British Transport Police.

The video and the topic it addresses has been transformational in the rail industry, clearly demonstrating the outstanding contribution young people can make to a range of issues with the right support guidance and support, thus making a positive contribution to communities across the North.

Within the industry and Train Operating Companies, this work by young people has gained universal acclaim across the Rail Industry and was shortlisted at the Women in Rail Awards 2022. Bradford City Community Foundation was the only non-railway organisation who were invited to attend these awards.

The project gained recognition from MPs such as Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up and Caroline Nokes MP – Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee . The UK Parliament Education and Engagement Team invited NTL Richard Isaac Community Manager, Lorna McEwan Chief Inspector Manchester District BTP and 20 young people involved in the project from across the North to present to MPs in the Palace of Westminster.

This gave young people the opportunity to share with MPs such as Holly Lynch MP – Shadow Minister (Home Office) and Hilary Benn MP on why this challenging topic was so important. Additionally, highlighting the importance of understanding the issues affecting young people, allowing them to be part of the debate leading to the development of positive actions and solutions.

We talked to Shamza, who was one of the NCS Changemakers to present the campaign at Parliament:

“The NCS/Northern Rail partnership made it possible to make an anti-sexual harassment video to educate people about trains and to be aware of the potential harm that could occur to them. The video we created has made me aware of different ways people can harass you on trains without noticing, such as up-skirting.  It has been a real eye-opener this project for me personally and we hope this video will give people the confidence to take the train and know what to do if any unwanted sexual behaviour happens.”

“Seeing this project come to life was amazing, the Bradford NCS Change makers have put so much hard work in making the final video by working as a team, being part of the project has been such a huge opportunity. The project is tackling and educating people about an issue which females all around the country are experiencing. Sexual harassment is a massive topic, and it makes me proud to be bringing out the message to make everyone feel safe and heard on and off trains.”

Richard Isaac, Regional Community and Sustainability Manager at Northern Rail is thankful to the young people for their work to tackle this challenging issue on trains. He commented;

“Young people across the North took up the challenge to raise awareness that unwanted sexual behaviour (USB) of any kind is unacceptable and must be reported to the British Transport Police. USB is challenging topic to discuss and something many people would rather not talk about. Supported by NCS youth workers, young people took on the challenge of creating something that would tackle this challenging issue head.

What NCS Changemakers have delivered is a tool to raise awareness of USB and the need for reporting created by young people aimed at young people. Our aim at Northern is to use this resource to engage with young people across the North to raise that awareness.”

Dominik Stingas Paczko, Head of NCS at EFL Trust, who attended the event at Parliament said the following:

“It was fantastic to see the amazing work of our NCS participants being recognised and celebrated in Westminster. Their social action project very much highlighted and helped to tackle a very real issue that affects the national railways, and we hope their videos go a long way to help encourage young people back on to public transport as part of the nation’s recovery from Covid. There is growing evidence that giving young people to confidence and ability to use public transport can have a significant positive impact on their futures and we thank Northern for their continued support for our EFL Trust led NCS programmes.”

To find out more about NCS, click here.

Huddersfield Town Foundation’s Walking Football has helped Sean and Phil improve their physical and mental health.

The Foundation’s walking football is aimed at over 50s and/or anybody recovering from an injury, facilitated by a partnership with Locala, the sessions provide participants with the opportunity to meet new people, improve their physical fitness, and communicate their struggles.

The programme has had a huge influence on many lives, especially Sean Downey and Phil Jesney who together form part of a core group that was part of the first group to partake in the activity in 2020. Two years later, the pair still attend and the programme attracts on average 15 individuals compared to the original five.

Phil, pictured fourth from the left on the top row, explained how he initially became involved:

“After the COVID-19 pandemic I’d made a little list to myself of things I wanted to do, and one of them was Walking Football.

“I live on my own, so I wanted to get out and meet new people. I’ve made friendships and we’re now doing other activities outside the football!”

Sean, pictured bottom right, added:

“I’ve got fitter, I’ve made loads of friends and I’m enjoying football. We’ve also taken up fishing and started going for coffees as a group afterwards.

“We all come with our own burdens, but football allows us to forget them.”

The sessions are free to attend, and will continue to provide a fun, safe, open environment for all.

The Reds supporting their local community in the greatest need

In 2021, Nottingham Forest Community Trust were awarded the contract to deliver Nottingham’s Holiday Activity and Food Programme in collaboration with Nottingham City Council and the Department of Education.

This is the biggest delivery programme in the Trust’s history providing ‘Free Fun and Food’, including a wide range of physical activity and creative arts sessions to children from across Nottingham’s diverse communities who may not usually access such high-quality provision.

Over the past 12 months almost 14,000 children have taken part with over 75,000 nutritious meals being distributed to children and families at 14 different locations across our City.

Kelly, a parent of a participant said, “This is an absolutely fantastic programme that’s both accessible and free. My three children came home happy and I’m excited that they got to experience activities such as rock climbing. This is something they would never get to try as I can’t always afford to pay for extra activities.”

Jennie, another parent said, “My daughter finds meeting new people difficult, so this has given her the opportunity to meet new friends as well as enjoy different kinds of activities and learn new skills.’

To effectively measure impact, the Trust commissioned an external specialist agency who carried out extensive consultation which showed that 88% of participants felt a positive emotion whilst at the sessions, 62% of participants became motivated to take up sport as a regular activity and almost 100% stated that they turned up every day because the sessions were fun and exciting.

The Nottingham Holiday Activity and Food programme is a positive strategic collaboration of the public, private and third sectors in Nottingham, who are on a mission to serve local people to the best of our ability.