Canaries Support Community with £200K Donation From Players and Directors

2020 has been challenging, but Norwich City’s Community Sports Foundation has continued its sterling work for the people of Norfolk

During the lockdown, the Foundation launched the Canaries Covid-19 Community Support Project thanks to a donation of over £200k from the first team squad and directors. The project has two phases, response and recovery: an initial response to help vulnerable members of the community during lockdown, and a longer-term plan to help the community to recover from the impact of lockdown such as inactivity, social isolation, and unemployment.

Members of the first team, Club staff, and Foundation staff made several thousand wellbeing calls to potentially vulnerable season ticket holders, and deliveries of food and activity packages were made to a range of charities and local causes. Throughout lockdown, the Foundation team adapted quickly to continue their community support remotely, through the development of an app, live and recorded online sessions, and other support for usual and new participants.

While balancing the challenges that everyone is facing in 2020, the Foundation is nearing completion of the construction of its community hub The Nest. The first phase of the project, which saw the rejuvenation of a disused sports facility on the outskirts of Norwich, was completed in late 2018 and included the renovation of the existing clubhouse and relaying of seven grass football pitches.

A second phase includes a full-size floodlit 3G pitch, which has been open over the summer of 2020, and a brand-new building housing two multi-use areas, an IT suite, and accessible changing facilities to help the Foundation increase its community reach by over 12,000 people a year.

The Build the Nest fundraising campaign is nearing its conclusion thanks to an injection of £500,000 from Norwich City FC, match-funding the efforts of supporters and fundraisers to raise the final £1million of the £4.6million total cost. The Foundation’s team are working to reach the final target in time for the completion of construction in the coming months.

Recently, Norwich City season ticket holders and members showed their pride in the Club’s community presence by donating over £175,000 of potential rebates in order to help the Foundation reduce its lost fundraising revenue in 2020 from cancelled events.

Lisa’s Story: “It helped me gain confidence in myself and stop feeling ashamed all the time.”

 “Over the past 3 years I have piled on the weight especially when I changed my job. I lost all self confidence in myself.” says Lisa Allen.

However things changed for Lisa when she joined FIT BAGGIES, West Bromwich Albion’s Healthy lifestyle programme.  Lisa adds,

“I was ashamed at how big I was and knew I really needed to do something about it. However, I surprised myself by emailing Lyndsey at West Bromwich Albion Community Trust and asking about the FIT programme and then joining up. What encouraged me to join was the fact that it was all around my age group.”

The 12-week programme, which funded by Sport England through the National Lottery is run at over 30 EFL clubs, provides those aged 35-65 with an opportunity to make a life-style changes, to help lose weight, get fitter and lead a more active life.

Having lost an impressive 8.8kg on the programme Lisa is now living a much healthier lifestyle, she continues,

“The programme has given me the will power to actually do something about my weight. After the first week of doing some exercise at the programme I got the bug and started do some exercise at home for 3-4  times a week. I am now exercising 7 days a week and am now starting to get more movement in my joints as well.”

“I got to meet a great set of people on the programme. Every session we attended was great fun and not once did I feel uncomfortable.  It has helped me gain confidence in myself with going out and stop feeling ashamed all the time. “

Click here for more information and find a FIT FANS near you


Shielding Cherries Fan Plays his Hero on FIFA

Young Bournemouth fan Adam Sevenoakes got a huge lift after a long period of shielding when his hero, Cherries winger Junior Stanislas, popped round for a game of FIFA.   Adam, who is also a player for AFC Bournemouth Warriors, the club’s powerchair team, had been shielding at home between March and the end of July.

Once shielding was over he welcomed Stanislas round for a long-awaited FIFA rematch. As Adam explains this isn’t the first time they have played and the pair’s rivalry goes back a couple of years:

“I was at Julia’s House (the local hospice) when the players came in around Christmas, and there was a game between me and Junior against another person and Ryan Fraser.”

Since then the pair have stayed in touch as Adam explains,

“I message him quite a lot on my dad’s Instagram, during lockdown I’d say well done if he had a good game, then he asked: ‘Can we have a rematch?’”

Adam didn’t think it was possible as they were on different platforms so they couldn’t play an online game. However, Stanislas was undeterred and made the offer to come over once Adam was out of shielding.  To which Adam says

“I answered that quite quickly!”

The promise of the FIFA battle provided something positive to look forward to during a long period of shielding for the 14-year-old, Adam says,

 “Shielding has been a bit difficult and a bit annoying, we’ve been doing it since March and at some points shielding was a real struggle but when Stanno said he was coming it was something to look forward to, ”

True to his word once shielding was over Stanislas, arranged to visit. Adam says “It was quite surreal really” although like most teenagers Adam, had a job to do before the visit. “We cleaned my bedroom first, that was mum’s job!”

With the bedroom tidy – which as you can see from the photo, is of course in the Cherries red and black, the stage was set for the rematch, and across three fixtures it turned into a nail-biting affair, as Adam explains

“In the first game we were both Bournemouth and Stanno won 4-0, I picked him in my team, and he picked himself too,” said Adam of his slow start.

“Then I won the second game 3-1, I was the Soccer Aid team and Stanno was an Argentinian team. In the last game it was Manchester United against Chelsea, it was 1-1 but luckily I won 3-2 on penalties. That meant I won two and he won one, so I won! He’s already suggested that we have another rematch soon, it’s a friendly rivalry we have now.”

Ever-positive Adam hopes to return to Vitality Stadium in the new season.

 “I hope we’re able to get back to the stadium soon, it’s my second home. It will be a bit odd, but the atmosphere won’t have changed I think.

Teen discovers passion for volunteering

Ashur Cali, 16, from Leeds has a whole new outlook on volunteering and a more positive outlook on life after completing the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘Keep Doing Good’ programme.

Had 2020 gone to plan, Ashur, was due to go away on the traditional NCS programme this summer to live independently, meet new people, develop new skills and contribute to making a difference in the  community. However, social distance restrictions meant this was not possible,  Ashur was still able to make a difference in the community through completing NCS’s‘Keep Doing Good’ programme. ‘Keep Doing Good’ aims to pledge 1 million volunteering hours into local communities to help them bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.

Before the two week ‘Keep Doing Good’ programme, Ashur thought that volunteering was limited to working for free for a company and wasn’t aware of the charity work he was able to get involved with. Whilst on ‘Keep Doing Good’ Ashur took part in some volunteering at Shine community garden in Leeds. The gardens provide the local community with a scenic place escape to, relax and enjoy a little bit of countryside in the heart of the city.  After helping with the renovating of the gardens, Ashur has a much better understanding of volunteering and is keen to volunteer again the future. He would also like others to be inspired by what the group have done, and get involved with volunteering themselves.

Ashur said

“I’ve not only volunteered and done some good but I now feel a lot better than I did before starting the program. My time has been spent doing something worthwhile and bringing something positive to another person’s day

Whilst on ‘Keep Doing Good’ Ashur developed his teamwork skills. The group was tasked with gathering and debating ideas for a Social Action Project before presenting them as a group.

Ashur said

“At the start of the two weeks, I would have put myself forward for a leadership role, leading and making decisions, assuming I was the best at the job. However, the time with NCS has taught me the value of stepping back and listening to others and that not only my voice matters in a collaborative environment. Now, I loosen the reigns in a way and allow other members of the team to make a choice and I will follow their leadership, more of a team player than before the program.

Stacey Fannan, Team Leader, at Learn By Design noticed a change in Ashur and said

“On day one Ashur was a quietly confident young person. Always keen to give an answer or volunteer to take charge. He has been a driving force amongst the team from the get-go. However, a noticeable change in Ashur is although he is confident and first to offer an answer or response, he would doubt himself in his answer especially if challenged. Now on the final day, Ashur is quick to answer and able to confidently give justification for his answers and positively meet challenges. He also made positive development in his teamwork and listening skills and can work collaboratively to achieve team goals.”

To find out more about ‘Keep Doing Good’ visit

Watford Community Sports and Education Trust continues to support a wide range of members of the community….just as it always has.

As the new season kicks off this weekend, we’re delighted to welcome Watford to the EFL and we’ve been looking back at Watford Community Sports and Education Trust’s response to lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Should you look up community in the dictionary, you would find a statement that lacks depth – ‘a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common’. However, when you see community in action, rather than words on a page or screen, that’s when you really understand what it means.

To see this community in action you need look no further than the way the Watford FC family has reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fantastic efforts of staff from across the club alongside groups of magnificent volunteers and partner organisations, with the Hornets at Home and Vicarage Road Stadium Sanctuary initiatives – have been wonderful to witness.

Contrary to the definition, at Watford, community transcends ‘common personality traits’, in fact it is the polar opposite. This is a community made up of an array of members boasting diversity across age, gender, background, culture, mental health, physical health and yes, even across ‘particular characteristics’. This is at the heart of the work of Watford FC’s Community Sports and Education Trust. Even in these difficult, unprecedented times it continues to cater for a wide range of members of the community, just as it always has.

There has been support for local schools and pupils with a range of home learning resources across PSHE, English, Maths and physical activity, as well as a mental wellbeing course delivered online. Elsewhere youngsters have been kept engaged with footballing technical challenges, drills and tips, with tailor made strength and conditioning clips provided for players who are part of the disability hub.

Young people have been kept engaged with a series of online offerings including FIFA tournaments, forums, quizzes, bakery classes and skills practises. To keep the mind active as well, there have been online classroom sessions and employability mentoring.

The focus for adults has been health – both physical and mental – from home workouts and weight management support to programmes focussed on providing motivation and signposting to appropriate exercises via phone calls, texts, and emails. Weekly mental wellbeing catch-ups and quizzes have also been running via Zoom.

The Trust has also kept in touch with some of our older members of the community. On top of the regular wellbeing calls as part of the Hornets at Home initiative, there has been engagement with older members of both Cedars Youth & Community Centre and Meriden Community Centre. The specially designed publication of the Golden Times newspaper provided further sustenance for the mind.

Match all of this with the intergenerational work of encouraging children and young people to get in touch with the older generation with letters and hosted quizzes, there really is some inspirational work going on around this community and we’re delighted they are joining out network.

International success at Harrogate Town AFC Community Foundation

After winning promotion from the National League last season, Harrogate Town AFC Community Foundation are now part of the EFL Trust’s network of Club Community Organisations (CCO)….and they bring with them an England International!

Harrogate Town AFC Community Foundation are one of the many CCOs who have a Walking Football team. Walking football is a slower paced version of the game that is designed to keep the older generations, specifically over 50’s, active.

The social aspect of the game is also huge part of its appeal, bringing people together who all have a shared passion for football is great for the mental health of participants.

In October 2019, one of the participants was about to embark on a journey that would see him reach the top of his game. Harrogate Town AFC were invited to trials by Danny Ward, England 70+ Walking Football Team Manager, who was seeking players for the national team. During the trials, two assessors were assigned to scr

utinise each team, looking for; passing skills, work rate, positional play, attitude, commitment, stamina and teamwork.

Out of 78 players, Harrogate Town AFC’s Lawrie Coulthard was one of the few selected for the next round of trials which consisted of a shadow match against England’s walking football ‘A team’. After a star performance, Lawrie was invited to a final practise match and the following day Lawrie received a phone call from the England manager to say he would play be for the A team in their next match against the new shadow team!

Lawrie said:

“Needless to say, I am immensely proud and delighted to have come this far and perhaps with more good performances I could break into the side in a full international

I have to say that the work that Harrogate Town AFC Walking Football Club have put in to develop us old boys has been instrumental in my  progress – in particular Ian Service and Glyn (our coach). The quality of play has improved tremendously since the Walking Section was introduced in early this year. I would also like to extend my thanks to Bernie Lyons who organises the Walking Football sessions on Thursdays, and from which the Town’s section was born.”

At the heart of all the hard work going at Harrogate Town AFC Foundation is Head of Community, Iain Service.

“We have been developing Walking Football here at Harrogate Town AFC for a number of years. It’s a fantastic way for those aged 50 years + to make new friends and rediscover their passion for team sports and competition. Plus there are multiple health benefits, increasing fitness levels and reducing social isolation and loneliness. Our competitive teams regularly compete in the Northern Premier League each month, with our oldest member Lawrie Coulthard representing England at 70 years plus! The most pleasing aspect is the way deep routed friendships have developed. During Covid we all genuinely missed both football and everyone’s company. We are certain that the Walking Football section at Harrogate Town AFC will continue going from strength to strength.

“As a growing Charity Harrogate Town AFC CIO are absolutely thrilled to be part of the EFL Trust network. Our inclusion will allow us to significantly increase the number of programmes that we deliver, positively impacting on the residents within Harrogate & District. We are excited for the growth of our Charity and look forward to working in partnership with the EFL Trust and other partners.”

To find out more about Harrogate Town AFC Community Foundation and the work they do visit

“Harry’s confidence increased and anxiety decreased…he loved every minute.”

The NCS (National Citizen Service) programme is designed to give young people the independence and confidence they need for life after school. Kelly Day was delighted at the difference that the two weeks had on her son, Harry Day, who struggled with his confidence prior to taking part in NCS.

Harry, 19 joined the NCS ‘Keep Doing Good’ programme with MK Dons Sport & Education Trust. ‘Keep Doing Good’ is part of the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’, a wider pledge to enable teens to take an active role in helping the country recover post COVID-19.

Due to having additional needs, Harry was very shy, reluctant to take part in group activities and talk in front of group as he was worried he would not be accepted.

Harry said:

“At the start I didn’t want to go on the programme as I find it difficult to meet and talk to new people. I was also worried they may treat me differently due to my learning disabilities. On my first day, I worked with another participant who was really kind by helping me with my writing and giving me time to process the task and express my thoughts as getting my words out can be difficult sometimes.

In his first week, Harry took part in a variety of workshops including CV writing, interview skills and even got involved in a public speaking session. These workshops gave Harry the confidence to communicate more freely and express his views. These new skills were important as he put himself forward as the lead role for a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch about their social action project which was to show their appreciation for key workers.

This was a virtual pitch to the ‘Dragons’ which included MK Dons Sports & Education Trust CEO, MK Dons Head of IT and MK Dons Head of HR. As lead, Harry created his own script and was an important part of developing the PowerPoint presentation. The pitch concluded with a number of difficult questions asked by the ‘Dragons’ which Harry was always first to answer, giving clear and precise responses about his teams project.

This was to the delight of Harrys Mum, Kelly Day, who said:

“Harry’s confidence increased and anxiety decreased…he loved every minute. Since taking part Harry has confidently told many people about the project and his time on ‘Keep Doing Good’. He has shown everyone the artwork he has created and has an increased self-worth thanks to this.”

As part of his team’s social action projects, Harry played a key role in an art and coffee morning which the group held to raise money for the NHS and to say thank you for the hard work and dedication shown throughout the pandemic. Following his new found confidence, Harry decided he wanted to be at the door to welcome the guests to the coffee morning.

Harry also volunteered with SOFEA, a local charity that supports vulnerable people with food and education. Whilst volunteering with them, Harry helped create food boxes that will be sent to vulnerable people self-isolating.  Harry enjoyed this so much he has spoken to the Manager of SOFEA and asked to continue volunteering with them in his spare time.

Reflecting on his time on NCS ‘Keep Doing Good’, Harry said:

“I now feel more positive to start college as I am now more confident. I have learnt how to express myself clearly and ask for help without being worried of being judged”

To find out more about ‘Keep Doing Good’ visit


Teenagers from Sheffield have spent part of their summer tackling their local issue of homelessness.

The group of nine young people, aged 16-17, have recently completed the ‘Keep Doing Good’  programme with Sheffield United Community Foundation (SUCF). The programme is part of the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’, a wider pledge to enable teens to take an active role in helping the country recover post COVID-19.

Having learned of a tragic fire at premises of local homelessness charity the Cathedral Archer Project and the wider issue of homelessness, the group was passionate about supporting the charity, and they wanted to do what they could to help.

Sherin, 16, explains what they wanted to achieve through their project,

“We want to help give the public a better understanding of what it is like to be homeless and to be more empathetic towards homeless people”

The team set to work by creating eye-catching and powerful messages on pieces of cardboard which included ‘This could be you’ and ‘Lonely’. They then looked to raise awareness by visiting popular iconic places within the city of Sheffield and taking photos of them with their signs and then shared throughout social media.

Sherin Continued

We wanted the legacy of our project to raise awareness of Cathedral Archer Project as well as educating people on the reasons behind homelessness, in most cases it isn’t about no education or excessive use of drink and drugs”

Emily from the Cathedral Archer Project was delighted to have young people’s support,

“Raising awareness of homelessness is just as important to us, at the Cathedral Archer Project, as supporting people who find themselves homeless. The group of young people who got involved creating artwork and signs were amazing at spreading the word throughout Sheffield. Thank you for getting involved and for the amazing work raising awareness.” 

Sheffield United Community Foundation (SUCF) are part of a network of local organisations delivering NCS ‘Keep Doing Good. So far young people taking part with SUCF have delivered 1,290 voluntary hours to make a positive impact in their community.

Reflecting on her experience on Keep Doing Good and social action project, Sherin said,

“This has been a once in a lifetime experience. I have really enjoyed taking part in ‘Keep Doing Good’ and looked forward to each day. It has got me out of the house and allowed me to give back to the community”

To find out more about Keep Doing Good, visit

Pen Pal Scheme launched by Young People has help Tackle Isolation & Loneliness

One call can change a life.” Having heard the uncomfortable statistics about loneliness in their community, a group of young people made it their mission to help connect with elderly people. Over 359 calls and 2,100 minutes later, their new pen pal scheme was a huge success.

The group of young people, aged 16-17, have recently completed the ‘Keep Doing Good’ programme with Shrewsbury Town in the Community (STITC). The programme is part of the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’, a wider pledge to enable teens to take an active role in helping the country recover post COVID-19.

Statistics from Age UK suggest that 17 percent of older people in the UK are in contact with family, friends or neighbours less than once a week, and 11 percent in contact less than once a month.), Shrewsbury Town are part of 32 EFL Club Community Organisations who are tackling loneliness among older people, thanks to a grant of £810,000 from the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). Loneliness has been highlighted as a particular problem around Shrewsbury with Age UK for Shropshire estimating that 10,000 older people in the county are feeling “deeply lonely.” When the young people heard about the shocking loneliness statistic, they wanted to do something to help.

As part of the two week programme the young people also successfully organised and launched a new Pen Pal scheme, aiming to connect older adults in their community by have a chat, checking on their wellbeing and offering a helping hand.

 “Being at home throughout lockdown has been hard but I can’t imagine what it’s been like for those who are alone! I’ve really enjoyed being part of a team, tackling loneliness and making a difference” said Jenson, 16, who has been delighted to make a difference to people lives.

To support the group’s new pen pal scheme, Tesco Mobile donated 20 phones with credit so that they could start contacting elderly people, and eventually they could be passed onto those receiving the callsso they can use them to stay connected.  Within five days, the pen pal scheme had 20 registered and the young people sent postcards, stamps, newsletters and free café vouchers to get them started.

Before making the calls, the young people received training from STITC’s Health Activator to ensure they were able to connect with individuals over the phone and gain the confidence to engage in conversations.

Jensen continued,

“It’s been really good to get out and do something! I’ve spoken to over 40 people and they’ve all welcomed my calls, with some I was on the phone for over 20 minutes!

I’ve also improved my confidence in talking to someone over the phone, while getting those in need of support back in to the community, I’m so pleased I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer and make a difference”

Anna, the NCS Coordinator at STITC is ecstatic at the achievement of the young people. She said:

“It’s absolutely amazing to see our young people dedicating their time to do something so amazing for those who are facing being alone day in and day out.

The calls our young people are making are the life line that some of these people need. One of the ladies that we phoned was so thankful as she hadn’t spoken to someone for over 2 weeks and expressed how these calls are reassuring that someone is thinking about them during these times of uncertainty”

In total, 756 collective hours have been volunteered by the Shrewsbury NCS participants to help tackle isolation and loneliness in their local area and up-skill themselves with workshops such as CV writing, interview skills and public speaking.



Crawley Town “Maskateers”

8 teenagers from Crawley  have done their bit to stop the spread of COVID-19 with their ‘Maskateers’ Project, an innovative project that aims to get young people wearing a mask in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.  The young people involved have spent their free time making and distributing face-masks. This innovative project aims to get young people wearing masks in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Read more