National Obesity Awareness Week: PNE Walking Football participant loses 18 kilos in under two years

As part of National Obesity Awareness Week, Walking Football with PNE participant Andy Laurie revealed how getting involved in the sport has helped him drop his weight from 108 kilos to 90 kilos.

Andy has been attending Walking Football sessions since February 2017 and has revealed how beneficial it has been to him and how it has contributed to him losing 18 kilos in under two years.

He said: “I started walking football in February 2017 and I play two or three times a week. I’ve used it not only as playing the game but as weight loss. I thoroughly enjoy it and have continued to play to this day ever since.

“I’m currently 90 kilos so to lose 18 kilos in just under two years is quite good. I’m feeling a lot healthier. I can walk up and down stairs now without getting out of breath and I really enjoy it.”

Andy uses his belt as an indication of the amount of weight he has lost and drills new holes into it as he continues to shed the pounds through regular exercise.

As well as the physical side of losing weight, it also requires a lot of mental strength and Andy believes that being part of group who support each other through the good times and the bad times is key.

“It’s very much mental,” said Andy. “What we have here in the group is very much two parts to the football. One is the actual football and the other is the banter and camaraderie we have as a group. We all support one another.

“If someone is feeling a bit down, doesn’t want to turn up, we still make them turn up and they still enjoy it. Even when some of us get injured, they’re still turning up on a Friday or Wednesday or Monday for a coffee.

“So that’s really good for what the Community Trust here and in other places have done to get us as a group. Because we all support one another, we turn up more often, we are doing more physical exercise and it’s better all round.

“What would be nice to know but it’s impossible to know would be what as a group, what our weight total was two years ago and what it is today. Between the whole group we would have lost a lot of weight because everyone has lost weight.”

Andy’s weight loss journey had originally begun in the summer of the pervious year when he decided that it was time for him to change his lifestyle and begin to try and shed the pounds.

“My weight loss started in July 2016. I was 108 kilos and I thought this is getting stupid, too fat whatever so I started cycling, started walking all that sort of stuff,” continued Andy.

“What I did when I started walking was, I did a distance and I was walking for an hour and 15 minutes. Each day I tried to cut that time down by a minute so slowly you get faster and faster and I was doing whatever mileage it was in an hour and that’s when I knew I was up to proper speed.”

The Preston North End fan has not just changed the amount of physical activity he undertakes and while he hasn’t changed his diet, he has reduced his alcohol consumption.

Andy admitted: “I’ve not actually changed what I eat, I still like the odd treat, however what I have done is cut down the amount of alcohol I drink at home.

“I still go to the pub twice a week and have a beer and occasionally I’ll have a drink at home but not very often so really diet hasn’t changed that much its purely down to exercise.”

North End host weekly Walking Football sessions on a Tuesday from 6pm until 7pm and on a Friday from 11am until 1pm at the Preston North End Community Training Centre for men and women over the age of 50, regardless of ability.

The first steps in losing weight can be the toughest, but Andy believes that the Walking Football sessions provide the perfect opportunity for people to lose weight and he is keen to encourage more to do so and get involved.

He added: “Get into a group which is fun to be with. If exercise is fun, then you’re going to do it. Start off slowly, don’t overdo it and just work up.

“We get new members because they are usually overweight as I was, you come on, you play for two minutes and you’re falling around on the floor, you can’t get up, you can’t get your breath but slowly you get through that and then you don’t ache now after games.

“I thoroughly enjoy it. They are a great bunch. We have the odd fracas where someone kicks someone, and all that kind of stuff. We have a go at the referees here because of their biased refereeing usually against my team but we all have a good laugh and that’s what life is about at the end of the day.

“So, I would say to anyone, start it gently and enjoy it but just carry one. Persevere and just carry on doing it.”

Blackpool FC Community Trust Job Vacancies

Blackpool FC Community Trust are recruiting in the following positions…


Job Vacancy: Education Officer

Job Description – Education Officer

Due to the expansion of our Education and Employability programmes, Blackpool FC Community Trust are looking for a new member of staff to join our vibrant and forward-thinking organisation, which helps develop a range of opportunities for the people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to improve their lifestyles, education and health.

The Community Trust is an independent registered charity that is looking to add another member of staff to the very successful Education and Employability delivery team.

We are looking for an Education Officer who will deliver a high quality BTEC Sport programme and football coaching sessions as part of the Football Academy strand, aiming to inspire and motivate students, in accordance with the guidance and outcomes of the BTEC Sport Curriculum and funding providers expectations.

Please send your C.V and a covering letter to explain why you are suitable for this role to Selina Hayes by either of the following methods:


Post: Selina Hayes, Head of Education, Blackpool FC Community Trust, Bloomfield Road, Seasiders Way, Blackpool, FY1 6JJ

Applications must be submitted no later than 5pm on Thursday 31st January 2019.

Interviews will take place week commencing 4th February 2019.




Job Vacancy: Physical Education Officer

Job Description – Physical Education Officer

Due to the expansion of our Premier League Primary Stars programme, Blackpool FC Community Trust are looking for a new member of staff to join our vibrant and forward thinking organisation, which helps develop a range of opportunities for the people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to improve their lifestyles, education and health.

The Community Trust is an independent registered charity that is looking to add another member of staff to the very successful Primary Stars delivery team.

We are looking for a Physical Education Officer who will support and develop local primary school staff in delivering high-quality PE lessons, aiming to inspire and motivate school staff, in accordance with the guidance and outcomes of the PE and Sport Premium funding.  The role will also include enthusing young people to take part in regular physical activity.

Please send your C.V and a covering letter to explain why you are suitable for this role to Chris Debar by either of the following methods:


Post: Chris Debar, Senior Physical Education Officer, Blackpool FC Community Trust, Bloomfield Road, Seasiders Way, Blackpool, FY1 6JJ

Applications must be submitted no later than 5pm on Friday 8th February 2019.

Successful candidates will be informed of their invitation to interview on Thursday 14thFebruary 2019, with interviews taking place week commencing 25th February 2019. 




Job Vacancy: Pastoral and Learning Mentor

Job Description – Pastoral and Learning Mentor

Due to the expansion of our Education and Employability programmes, Blackpool FC Community Trust are looking for a new member of staff to join our vibrant and forward-thinking organisation, which helps develop a range of opportunities for the people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to improve their lifestyles, education and health.

The Community Trust is an independent registered charity that is looking to add another member of staff to the very successful Education and Employability delivery team.

We are looking for a Pastoral and Learning Mentor who will provide support to students across our education and employability programmes, aiming to inspire and motivate students academically, emotionally and socially.

Please send your C.V and a covering letter to explain why you are suitable for this role to Selina Hayes by either of the following methods:


Post: Selina Hayes, Head of Education, Blackpool FC Community Trust, Bloomfield Road, Seasiders Way, Blackpool, FY1 6JJ

Applications must be submitted no later than 5pm on Thursday 31st January 2019.

Interviews will take place week commencing 4th February 2019.  

Blackpool FC Community Trust has many projects and are always looking for reliable, good quality Level 1/Level 2 coaches to get involved in coaching on a casual basis.

If you think you have what it takes to join the Blackpool FC Community Trust team, please send your CV, attached to a covering letter to, and they will contact you if any vacancies become available.

NHS Chief hails scheme to help football fans slim down

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has backed a scheme that lets overweight football fans train at their club’s stadium, encouraging them to get fit and live a healthier, more active life.

Five of the English Football League (EFL) Trust’s network of community organisations are participating in the Scottish Professional Football League Trust’s licensed Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme where overweight men and women are coached for 12 weeks at their team’s home ground.

The EFL Trust aspires to see the programme spread to more communities in England by establishing new partnerships that can increase the impact of the scheme.

Clubs put on a three-month programme of exercise and sports and also give advice on healthy eating. One programme at Swindon FC saw 30 men lose more than 40 stone in weight.

The scheme was developed and is operated by the Scottish Premier Football League Trust in 2010 north of the border.

One three-month programme at Swindon FC saw 30 men lose more than 40 stone in weight.

Simon Stevens said that rolling out the scheme in England will help cut type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related problems including heart disease and several types of cancer, relieving pressure on the NHS.

And as the NHS prepares to publish a long term plan that will have a renewed focus on prevention, he said commissioners should consider enabling GPs to refer supporters to the scheme as part of the growing move toward ‘social prescribing’.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Obesity is a public health emergency and tackling it needs to be a team effort.

“Football clubs are the centre of communities across England and working with them to encourage fans to get fit is a great idea that can produce real results.

“As the NHS prepares to publish a long term plan that will include a renewed focus on prevention, commissioners should consider whether schemes like this can help patients live fitter, healthier lives – and take pressure off on NHS services.”

In England the FFIT is currently available at Swindon Town, Wycombe Wanderers, Blackpool, Middlesbrough and Charlton Athletic.

Local NHS services also work with Widnes Vikings rugby team, helping children exercise regularly through coaching by the rugby players.

Mike Evans, Director of Operations at EFL Trust said: “The EFL Trust is committed to improving the lives of people within EFL communities across country and Football Fans in Training is proven to be a great way to get people to think about sustainable changes to improve their lives. We are proud of the work in our EFL Clubs in this area so far and hope to do more to address this important challenge going forward.”

The FFIT scheme is the only evidence-based programme of its kind.

Experts at the University of Glasgow, who studied the programme’s Scottish roll-out, said the men lost more than nine times as much weight as those who had not done the programme.

Men who followed FFIT in Scotland saw improvements to their health and wellbeing, with two in five maintaining a weight loss of at least 5% of their original body weight a year later.

The EFL Trust supports, advises and resources the network of community organisations associated with the 72 EFL Clubs.

Preston North End’s Louis Moult Visits Foxton Centre

Preston North End’s Louis Moult was able to relate in more ways than one during his recent visit to the Foxton Centre.

Fresh from his winner against Nottingham Forest the weekend before, Moult spent an afternoon at the Foxton Centre, a cause which works with those who face problems with poverty, addiction and mental health.

The centre is one of two charities that North End collected items for this year alongside Rock FM’s Cash for Kids, and the 26-year-old spoke about the impact people’s donations can have with members of Moult’s family also suffering similar situations.

“However small or large your contribution, it’s important that we try and help others,” said Moult at the Foxton Centre which celebrated their 50th Anniversary recently.

“We’re very lucky to be in the situations that we are and to have a roof over our heads for one, and to be fit and healthy and if we can help in any kind of way it’s massively appreciated.”

The six day donation centre hosted at Deepdale welcomed an array of items donated by supporters and the general public.

From non-perishable foods to toiletries, clothing and gifts for children, the community flocked to Deepdale throughout the week right up until the Millwall game on the Saturday at Deepdale.

Moult spoke emotively on a subject which he knows all too well after losing his mother in tragic circumstances at the age of just 15.

“These kinds of places are close to my heart” Moult added. “I’ve seen people suffer with these issues.

“My mum was an alcoholic and was just 43 when she died which is such a young age and it’s a horrible thing to go through.

“That’s why I want to help people in similar situations and people that were in my situation that have been left with not knowing where they’re going to go in life. I was 15 at the time and I had a couple of dark years but always tried to stay positive and I was lucky I had people around me who helped me.

“Everything I do, I do it for my mum, my dad, my brother and now, my wife and my kids who mean so much to me and It’s made me the person I am today.

“I had to grow up fast; people say you’re the most mature 26-year-old I’ve ever met, but that may be because I’ve had to go through that hardship. Time’s a healer and talking about it has helped me and if me talking about it helps other people, I’m more than willing to do that.”

Moult visited the Foxton Centre armed with selection boxes that had been donated by local company HGS and PNE hats, and took time out of his schedule to play pool and table tennis before making everybody a cup of tea and coffee!

“Some people haven’t got family and that’s what this place does remarkably well” described Moult on the type of atmosphere at the Foxton Centre.

“It’s almost become like a family here; they welcome everybody in and if people are coming here and doing what they should be and they’re on track then I am led to believe that they become part of this family.”

One individual who was able to meet the North End striker was Laura, who spoke of hardship stories of her own.

“I was homeless and I had pneumonia, but then the Foxton Centre helped me so much” she said. “If it wasn’t for them, I’d still be out on the street. I get food parcels, I get clothes, toiletries and it helps so much.”

Louis is also more than aware of the issue of homelessness in communities; his uncle has also endured nights on the streets as he too battled with alcoholism.

“My dad’s brother – my uncle was homeless which again was down to alcohol.

“We managed to get him on the straight and narrow but then he went off the rails again and lived on the streets for about a year and a half.

“Fortunately, he was able to fall back on to a similar set up like this and got back on his feet again and was able to get back into accommodation and is now a bit more happier as a result.”

To find out more about The Foxton Centre visit: 

To find out more about PNE Community and Education Trust visit:

Saddlers visit Walsall Manor Hospital for Christmas

The Walsall FC squad visited patients at Walsall Manor Hospital on Tuesday to spread some festive joy.

First-team players, along with manager Dean Keates and backroom staff, handed out children’s Christmas presents to families in the paediatric wards at the hospital.

The group also headed over to the elderly care wards, and swapped stories with the elderly patients.

As well as meeting patients, the Saddlers also spoke with hospital staff, from doctors and nurses to clerical staff.

Midfielder Liam Kinsella said: “It’s nice to come and see them at this time of year because you can put smiles on their faces. I think they enjoyed us visiting as much as we enjoyed visiting them, so it has been a big success.

“All the lads were excited to come down here and give something back. We are really lucky to be in the position that we are and just to come here and give a small gift, it’s nice and I’ve enjoyed it.”

Walsall Healthcare’s Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley added: “As soon as the team arrived there was a real buzz in the hospital.

“The annual visit is always really popular with patients – and our staff – and we appreciate the team taking the time to do so. It really does make our patients’ day.”

Adam Davy, Director at Walsall FC Community Programme, said: “The hospital visit is always a massive success and we were pleased to take the players again this year.

“Things are difficult for those who are in hospital at Christmas time, so it is wonderful that the players can give a few hours of their day to brighten up someone else’s. 

“The attitude of the players, speaking and sharing a laugh with the patients, was brilliant to see and they are a real testament to the football club.”

To find out more about Walsall FC Community Programme visit:

NCS: London Teens have Experience of a Lifetime

12 teenagers from London who took part in NCS (National Citizen Service) with Chelsea FC Foundation had a week to remember, meeting a legend, appearing on TV and delivering mental health workshops to over 300 children.

After taking on new challenges and learning new skills whilst on NCS with Chelsea Foundation, the group delivered two mental health and unhealthy lifestyle workshops to over 300 Year 10 and 11s.  The group then enjoyed their NCS Graduation at the FA Cup live draw in Stamford Bridge, and met Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola.

Recognising the pressure that is on young people of their age, the group partnered with a psychology teacher to deliver a mental health workshop on stress to children at Fulham College Academy Trust and Thomas Bennet Community College.

The workshop was a space for student to openly talk about stress and mental health whilst making their own stress ball and origami.

Sirra Bojang, who delivered the mental health workshop said: “I think we were all overwhelmed by the interest from our year 10 and 11 students, it was amazing!

“Everyone enjoyed making the stress balls and I think creating a safe space to talk about mental health just made us all feel really comfortable and supported, it was so rewarding and I can’t wait to do it again”

The other half of the group addressed the importance of teenagers living a healthy lifestyle. Connor Davis who took part in NCS with Chelsea Foundation: “We realised that we can really make a difference to our peers in the years below by sharing our knowledge about healthy lifestyles and providing them with ideas and different food options to improve their health and fitness”

NCS is a government backed programme that has had almost 500,000 young people take part,  delivering 12 million hours of social action that has impacted communities across the country.

The programme brings together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience and helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens.

Chelsea Foundation are one of seventeen other Football Community Trusts from EFL and Premier League to partner with EFL Trust this Autumn to deliver NCS to over 400 teenagers.

To find out more about NCS, visit: 

Derby County Community Trust Invest Over £2.5million Into Local Community

The launch of the Derby County Community Trust’s 2018 Annual Report has detailed an investment of over £2.5million into the local communities of Derby and Derbyshire, delivering on their aims to improve health and wellbeing, sustain participation in sport and physical activity, increase personal attainment and enhance communities through helping over 24,000 participants in the last 12 months.

2018 has been a noteworthy year for the Trust, who celebrated their tenth anniversary as a registered charity, hosted their first Derby 10K, won the coveted EFL Community Club of the Year accolade, were crowned the winners of the Derby Telegraph Not-For-Profit Business Award and received the biggest single investment into the charity from the Department for Education’s Opportunity Area Fund. This saw the Trust awarded a £1million grant with the ambition to raise educational attainment and aspirations across the lower socio-economic areas of the city in partnership with a host of other sports, culture and arts organisations.

Simon Carnall, Head of Community, said, “To celebrate such a landmark year of our history with so many achievements is something we are truly proud of. The ability we have to engage members of the public who are often vulnerable, isolated or lonely, through our 60 strong full-time workforce, part-time coaches and volunteers continues to grow, and we are in the privileged position to influence and improve our communities.”

Stephen Pearce, CEO of Derby County Football Club and trustee at Derby County Community Trust, said, “The achievements of the Derby County Community Trust across not just this year, but their last decade of being a charity, and all the work that preceded that, is an embodiment of Derby County Football Club’s commitment to the community, helping people to become happier and healthier versions of themselves.”

The Trust’s diverse range of programmes aim to make sport and physical activity available for those from age three to 103, from Disability coaching sessions to cancer rehabilitation exercises, supporting those affected by substance misuse to overcome addiction to providing talent pathways in girls football, the number of opportunities to engage with the Trust have never been greater.

For more information on any of the programmes provided, and to read the full annual report, please head to

Foundation of Light launches Futsal Scholarship

Foundation of Light is offering school leavers with more opportunities to kick start a career in sport with the launch of its Futsal Education Programme.

Kicking off in September 2019, the two-year course combines studying professionally recognised qualifications with the experience of representing Sunderland AFC in a national league.

Delivered in partnership with South Tyneside College, youngsters aged 16-18 will study and play at the Beacon of Light, one of the leading sports and education facilities in the country.

Ian Dipper, South Durham Education Coordinator and Football Scholarship Coach, said: “We are delighted to launch our Futsal Scholarship which will give those with a passion for sport another pathway to progress into their chosen career.

“Running alongside our highly successful Football Scholarship and Coaches Academy at the Beacon of Light, our students access the very best learning environments and sports facilities available, enhanced by our first-class coaches and education officers.”

Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced small sided football game normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey sized goals and a size four ball with a reduced bounce which creates an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing.

Many of the top world class footballers played Futsal in their youth and credit it with supporting their footballing development including Pele, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Xavi, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Scholars will travel the country to face Premier League and EFL clubs including Brighton and Hove Albion, Chelsea, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United in the EFL Trust Futsal League while studying towards a Cambridge Tech Level 3 in Sport and a choice of FA qualifications.

Students will receive regular futsal coaching from UEFA and FA qualified coaches to develop technical, tactical and physical ability while gaining the skills needed to seek employment in coaching, sports science, sports facilities management, personal training, teaching, or progress to further education at university.

For more information and to apply, please email Ian Dipper or call 0191 5634747.

To find out more about EFL Trust Futsal visit:  

From Barrow Hill to Birmingham – How the SERVES tennis programme is bringing diverse communities together

A group of young people from Barrow Hill in Derbyshire have joined diverse communities across the country that are being brought together through tennis, thanks to the Tennis Foundation’s SERVES programme. 

The group are part of a community project run by Derby County Community Trust at Barrow Hill Park, a site which is among the top 5% most deprived communities in the country.  The young people have only recently started playing the sport following a partnership between the Tennis Foundation and the EFL Trust.

Not only does the programme take tennis to new places and new people, many of whom have never picked up a racket before, but SERVES Festivals now see these groups from places as diverse as youth centres, mosques and church halls all come together to play the sport in a fun and social environment.

Among almost 100 young people present at the most recent SERVES Tennis Festival in Birmingham were the group of new tennis enthusiasts from Barrow Hill.

Speaking ahead of the Festival and about the recent introduction of the tennis sessions for young people in the Derbyshire village, Jack Parkes, Community Engagement Officer for Derby County Community Trust, said: “A lot of the people here don’t have access to transport, or they might not have the funds or the knowledge of how to participate.  With us working in these communities, we’re giving them a chance to meet, a chance to come together, and participate in something they may not be able to do elsewhere.

“A lot of our participants are going to the SERVES Midlands Festival, and a lot of them haven’t really been outside of Barrow Hill, so it’s a really good opportunity to broaden their horizons and show them what they can do outside of Barrow Hill.”

Claire Wheeler, SERVES National Programme Manager for the Tennis Foundation, said: “The SERVES programme is really helping to change the face of British tennis, building a greater diversity of both participants in the sport and the tennis workforce.  Over a third of our SERVES participants are from BAME groups and 86% live in areas of deprivation, with a similar picture reflected across our Tennis Activators.

“We’re bringing new people into the sport, and taking it to places it has never been played before.  Tennis may not previously have been perceived by those living in some of the country’s most deprived communities as a sport for them, but the SERVES programme is helping to change that as the sport is opened up to anyone and everyone.  It is a sport which can generate so many health, social and personal development benefits, and provide new opportunities and experiences.

“We’re delighted the young people of Barrow Hill Park are enjoying the opportunity to play tennis and had such a great experience meeting fellow young people from other community organisations across the Midlands at the SERVES Festival.  Joining up with football club community schemes like Derby County to take tennis into new places such as Barrow Hill is exactly why we are working with the EFL Trust as one of our National Partners.”

The SERVES programme will be integrated into the LTA,  the national governing body for tennis, at the end of this year along with the Tennis Foundation’s other activities as part of a drive to open up the sport with greater scale and greater impact.

To find out more about SERVES, how to get involved and the impact it is having, visit

Latics stars spread Christmas cheer at Hope School

It was a memorable afternoon for pupils at Hope School on Thursday as Wigan Athletic players Reece James, Cedric Kipre, Gavin Massey and Kal Naismith visited the school for a special Christmas visit.

They met more than 50 children and handed out presents and signed Latics merchandise ahead of this year’s festivities, as well as posing for photographs with some of their biggest fans.

A number of pupils at the school met Gavin in the club’s new Blue Room before the recent home fixture against Reading, with the facility a designated pre-match area in the Family Zone for Latics’ junior disabled supporters and their families to enjoy inclusive activities.

Speaking at the event, Gavin said: “It’s a wonderful school and the work the staff do is absolutely incredible so it was great for us to come along to meet the kids. To put smiles on their faces was excellent and I’d like to wish everyone connected to the school a very Merry Christmas.

He added: “I recognised a few faces from when I visited the Blue Room and they seemed to remember me too, so it was nice to come to their environment to surprise them.”

Latics have had an association with the school, based in Marus Bridge in Wigan, for over a decade with the club’s Community Trust delivering multi-sport sessions to pupils each week as part of their Every Player Counts disability sports programme.

Pauline Lynch, Deputy Head Teacher at Hope School, said: “We really appreciate the link we have with Latics and the Community Trust and it’s always a fabulous occasion for our school when the players visit us. They probably don’t realise how much of an impact they have on pupils, but their visits give them lasting memories and we’re incredibly grateful for that.”

Please email Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Disability Football Officer Joe Pym on or call 01942 318090 for more information about the Every Player Counts project and Blue Room.