Over 10,000 young people make a difference with EFL Trust

This week during #iwill week, we are celebrating the #PowerOfYouth in the EFL Trust network.

Our Impact

In 2019, through the NCS programme, over 10,000 young people have volunteered over 130,000 hours of their time making a difference in their local communities across the country.

These hours have amounted to some incredible impact:

650 Social Action Projects

£230,000 fundraised for local charities and causes

158 projects focus on improving the local environment

179 projects tackled isolation and loneliness

144 projects focused on transforming community spaces

330 projects were delivered to raise awareness of mental and wellbeing

Cassie Barnett, an NCS Graduate from Sheffield, was a part of a team of young people on the programme using their social action project to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing.

She said: “It feels great to use our social action project to actually make a difference and raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing in young people and adults and change something that we all really feel needs to be changed.”

Watch highlights of our network’s impact in the video below:

#iwill Ambassador

NCS Graduate, Connor Burleigh, from Doncaster, was recently recognised nationally for his work in the community after being named #iwill Ambassador last month.

Connor joined fifty inspirational youth ambassadors on a high profile national #iwill campaign aimed at encouraging young people to take an active part in their community.

Connor is an EFL Trust NCS Graduate who took part in the life-changing programme in the summer of 2018 with Club Doncaster Foundation.

Since completing the programme he has made a huge difference in the community as part of Doncaster’s Youth Council for a number of years and was awarded the Princess Diana Award for his work on anti-bullying in schools as well as renovating a playground for children with disabilities whilst on NCS.

He said: “NCS opened my eyes and gave me a better understanding of the community I live in.

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

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

Watch the video below to find out more about Connor:

Utilita launch Kids & Girls Cup partnership


Utilita, the Official Title Partner of the Kids and Girls Cup competitions, marked the launch of their partnership with the EFL with a tournament which took place at Brentford FC.

Schoolchildren from Rabbsfarm, Marlborough and St Anselm’s Primary Schools took part in a six-a-side tournament to mark the start of the partnership and celebrate the Kids and Girls Cup competitions.

The event was supported by Brentford FC and the Brentford FC Community Sport Trust, who hosted the tournament. Wycombe Wanderers’ Adebayo Akinfenwa, Brentford FC players Josh Clarke and Joe Hardy and Brentford FC Women’s stars Charlotte Tanner and Nicole Goolab were on hand to coach the teams, acting as mentors for the round robin tournament.

Utilita are one of the UK’s fastest-growing energy suppliers and a leader in the smart meter revolution – installing Britain’s first ever smart meter way back in 2008. 14 EFL Clubs are currently partnered with Utilita, with sponsorship ranging from stadium naming rights to junior retail kits.

Earlier this season, the EFL and Utilita announced the new partnership, which will be in place until at least the conclusion of the 2022/23 season and will see the community competitions renamed as the ‘Utilita Kids Cup’ and ‘Utilita Girls Cup’, respectively.

Over 22,000 schoolchildren take part in the competitions each year, with the aim of representing their local EFL Club, as they battle for the opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium. The Girls Cup Final takes place before the Leasing.com Trophy Final and the Kids Cup Finals during the Sky Bet Play-Off Finals weekend.

In the run up to these Finals, EFL Clubs and their Club Community Organisation’s deliver local and regional stages of the competitions. By encouraging these young people to participate and develop a love of sport, the Clubs and CCOs are helping to deliver the EFL Trust’s overall vision to create stronger, healthier, more active communities, whilst also supporting Sport England’s ambition of creating an active nation by focusing on the benefits sport can bring to people and society.

The competitions have also historically played a part in the development of some now established professional players, with Will Hughes (Watford) and Scott McTominay (Manchester United) having previously represented their schools in the Kids Cup Finals.

Adebayo Akinfenwa said, “I think initiatives like the Utilita Kids & Girls Cup are a brilliant thing and are a must. To give children the opportunity to play the game and have the ultimate reward of playing on that hallowed turf at Wembley Stadium, which is a dream for many kids and adults, is immense.”

Brentford FC Women’s player, Nicole Goolab said, “It’s been great to be down here today coaching the teams and making it enjoyable for them to play football.

“I took part in a similar competition to the Utilita Kids & Girls Cup when I was younger and providing children with the chance to potentially play at Wembley is a once in a lifetime opportunity and an achievement they can hold on to for the rest of their lives.”

As well as the title sponsorship, Utilita will have a portfolio of rights across the Utilita Kids Cup and the Utilita Girls Cup, including digital rights and prestigious access at all EFL Wembley Finals.

The partnership will also allow Utilita to activate within communities nationwide across area and regional Finals of the respective competitions, as well as four newly created football festivals.

“We would like to thank Brentford FC for providing the location for today’s event and to the EFL, for their continued support in what has been an exciting start to the partnership.”


Plymouth Argyle’s Changing Room programme inspiring brighter futures


Mickey McCloskey, who admits he ‘lost 22 years of his life to drug and alcohol abuse’, is using his troubled past to inspire unemployed adults with substance misuse in Plymouth to find work through Plymouth Argyle Community Trust’s Changing Room programme.

Changing Room is one of many programmes that the EFL Trust offers through Department Work and Pensions (DWP) that help people who are facing barriers find work, many of whom with a physical disability or mental health condition.

The 12-week adult education programme is run at football Clubs around the country and looks after the body and mind with a combination of improving employability skills and health and wellbeing.

Employability is improved by teaching key skills such as team building, interpersonal skills, CV writing and money management and the health and wellbeing element of the programme combines two hours of physical health through the EFL Trust FIT Fans programme with two to four hours of mental health every week.

The programme offers participating Clubs the flexibility to tailor their courses to suit local issues. At Argyle, an issue locally with substance misuse was identified and 15 people have so far completed the course since its launch.

Mickey, who is Plymouth Argyle Community Trust’s Health and Disability Officer and has been working for the Club Community Organisation (CCO) for 12 years, hopes to use his troubled past to inspire others on the course to make the right choices and like him, turn their life around.

He told EFL Trust: “I lost 22 years of my life and spent 11 of those years in jail. I’ve been there and know what they [those on the course] are feeling. I know what it’s like to get to that point where you don’t think you’re worth anything and there’s no way out.

“My ‘normal’ when I was growing up was drugs and alcohol; it was gangs fighting other gangs. All of my mates were doing it, so I did it too, just wanting to fit in – you don’t know any different. When you’re in that situation and you’re making bad choices and you can’t see a way out that’s your ‘normal’.

“I can see as I share my story with the guys in the room. They know what I’m talking about. As I was talking at one session about the knock on effects to your loved ones, one guy broke down and said ‘I can’t do this anymore’.

“At first, I thought he was talking about leaving the course. However, it all just hit home, it turns out his Dad was an alcoholic and he’s fallen into the same lifestyle.

“I think this was his realisation moment and he went to complete the course with a new determination. When I came clean, I went along to a coaching course that Plymouth Argyle Community Trust were running and started volunteering. I really enjoyed and kept in touch with the guys at the Trust, and it felt so good to have a routine and a responsibility.

“I’ve been clean now for 15 years, I’ve got a good job and a little boy. This just didn’t seem possible when I was sitting where they [those on the course] are now, but I want to show them that it is possible and that there is a way out.

“The choices I made were all mine, and that’s the message I want to get across. You have to make the right choice, not the easy one.”

To find out more about any courses available at Plymouth Argyle Community Trust, contact community@pafc.co.uk.

Millers recognised as Sports Upstander at #NO2H8CRIME awards

Rotherham United were delighted to see the Community Sports Trust honoured with the recognition of winning #NO2H8CRIME’s Sports Upstander Award at last night’s ceremony in London.

Head of Community Jamie Noble was on hand to receive the coveted accolade which saw the Millers recognised for their efforts in the local community to stamp out hate crime.

The high-profile event which was held at InterContinental Park Lane in Mayfair, London on Thursday evening saw other prizes handed out for awards including Parliamentary Upstander, Young Upstander, Business Upstander and the CPS Award.

The Millers, together with the Community Sports Trust wing of the club, are constantly reinforcing the message that nobody should be subjected to any form of hate crime. Our recent home games have been dedicated to reaffirming this message too, with fixtures played in support of the Kick it Out and Show Racism the Red Card campaigns, as well as the Hate Crime Awareness match which took place against Oxford United.

RUCST work closely with a number of local charities and partners who work hard to ensure that hate crime isn’t an issue in the South Yorkshire region and beyond and we are incredibly proud to have been presented with this award.

Speaking following the event in London on Thursday night, Head of Community Jamie Noble expressed his delight at the national recognition of the club’s work on the matter.

“We are honoured to be presented with such a high-profile award and to receive it at such an illustrious event,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.

“As many of our supporters will already know, we have done a lot of work, particularly this season surrounding the issue of hate crime and it is particularly pleasing to see those efforts culminate in us receiving this award.

“It is a privilege to work so closely with all of the people that we do in and around Rotherham around the topic of hate crime and without their support, none of this would have been possible.

“I would also like to thank the first team players and staff, who are always happy to support our campaigns on the matter and help to raise the profile of the important work that ourselves and associated organisations are doing in the community.”

Oxford United in the Community and Oxford University Club join forces to deliver blind football coaching

Oxford United in the Community and Oxford University Association Football Club have launched a new football course for the blind and visually impaired.

The new weekly course takes place at Acer Nethercott Sports Hall in the Iffley Road Sports Centre. It is open to people aged 18 and above and is run by qualified blind and partially sighted football coaches.

The opening session was led by special guest Steve Cunningham, who played blind football for England. It was attended by able-sighted students from Oxford University AFC, to experience how the visually impaired play sport and to sport the launch of the programme.

The course has been made possible thanks to donations from Oxford United fans to the club’s charity when purchasing match-tickets which is being used to contribute towards the cost of coaching. Additionally, Oxford University AFC have donated the cost of pitch hire and Bucks and Berks FA have loaned specially adapted footballs and eye-masks. Other key partners include Oxford United, Oxfordshire Association for the Blind, Oxfordshire FA and Active Oxfordshire.

Chris Lowes, Head of Oxford United in the Community, said: “We’ve been working closely with a number of key delivery partners to make this course a reality and are proud to launch this week. This demonstrates what can be achieved when local charities and football clubs work together, and we look forward to making a positive impact for the blind and partially sighted community in Oxfordshire.

“Hopefully we can inspire people to take part and enjoy sport and become part of a wider community. We’re delighted to be expanding our provision and offering new opportunities to people in Oxfordshire. We’re extremely grateful for the generosity of Oxford United fans, Oxford University Association Football Club and the OFA for making this happen.”

Michael Thurlow, Football Development Manager at the Oxfordshire Football Association said: “We are delighted to support Oxford United in the Community to expand the disability football provision on offer in the county with this fantastic new and exciting project. This supports our ambition to provide everyone in Oxfordshire with a disability an opportunity to participate.”

The course will be run by Oxford United in the Community coaches on Thursdays between 12.30 and 2pm. It is hoped an U18 programme will be introduced in the future. For more details please contact community@oufc.co.uk.

Oxford United in the Community is the football club’s official charity and helps inspire youngsters to reach their potential and improve their health and wellbeing via the power of football, engagement and education.

The charity is currently celebrating its 30-year anniversary. As part of the anniversary celebrations the charity launched a Dream Big Appeal to raise funds in its 30th year to help it do more impactful work across Oxfordshire. People can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/OUITC30YEARS

Cardiff City celebrate Black History Month

Cardiff City FC Foundation (the Foundation), the official charity of Cardiff City Football Club, were joined by Cardiff City first team squad members Curtis Nelson and Leandro Bacuna as they celebrated Cardiff’s rich cultural heritage as part of Black History Month.

Working with Race Council Cymru, the Foundation welcomed young people from Cardiff, Barry, Ebbw Vale and Aberdare to Cardiff International Sports Campus Air Dome to take part in a football tournament and interactive workshops.

The workshop focussed on Black people in Wales and their positive contribution to society followed by a drumming workshop, an engaging and fun way to get everyone working in rhythm as wel as a workshop on hip-hop dancing.

Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African history and heritage throughout the U.K, educating communities on the impact that these icons had on history and the economic and cultural development of the country we live in.

Speaking at the event, Curtis Nelson said:

“Events like these are really important because they encourage diversity within the community, so I think what the Foundation is doing with Kicks is really good.

“Bringing everyone together by playing football and then bringing in that Black History element is a great combination and allows the young people to learn in a relaxed environment.”

Cardiff is a mutli-cultural, diverse community and Black History Month is a chance to celebrate the barriers that have been broken but to also recognise the issues that remain as we work to move equality forward.

Ibby, a Kicks participant from Llanrumney said:

“It’s been a brilliant event. Combining football with workshops has really made a difference in the way we learn about Black History. It’s also been great to meet boys from other Kicks sessions who share the same interests as me and play football with them.”

Kicks uses the reach and appeal of Cardiff City FC to regularly engage children and young people of all backgrounds and abilities in football, sport and development – providing a trusted, positive influence in high need areas across South Wales.

Thousands of young people will join a National Youth programme through their local Football Club

In 2020, the EFL Trust will double its network and reach to engage over 24,000 young people aged 16 and 17 each year through its network of Club Community Organisations (CCOs), delivering National Citizen Service (NCS), a 4 week programme funded by the Government. 

The EFL Trust won the contract to deliver NCS from 2020 onwards more than doubling its delivery partners to 66 that will include 43 EFL CCOs, 11 Premier League Club CCOs and 12 youth organisations from across the country. NCS is one of the fastest growing youth programmes engaging 500,000 young people since piloting in 2009. The NCS experience will give young people a clearer idea of what they want from their future. They will take on fresh challenges, get a taste of independence and be given a platform to have their voices heard and deliver a social action project that will positively impact their local area.

The EFL Trust has have been involved in NCS since the pilot stages in 2011 engaging with over 60,000 young people during that time. Over 1.8 million hours of voluntary work has been delivered addressing local and national issues which young people are passionate about such as mental health, the environment and plastic waste.

Matthew Wimberley graduated NCS with Barnsley Football Club in 2019 and believes that the programme has change his life;

“I am a different person since doing NCS. It’s an impossible feeling to truly communicate without having experienced it first-hand but what I can say is you will feel fundamentally different in the best way possible. I’m closer to people I met on NCS after 4 weeks than people I’ve known for 4 years I now have all these amazing unforgettable memories that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

I spent my time on NCS challenging myself and doing things I really wasn’t comfortable doing, but couldn’t help being anything other than proud of myself afterwards.”

Parents and Guardians have recognised the impact NCS has had on young people. Lisa Murray, parent of NCS graduate from Pompey in the Community (Portsmouth FC) was amazed of the difference it has had on her daughter;

“The experience my daughter gained during the 4 week programme surpassed all our expectations and it was great to see her grow in confidence and social awareness throughout this period. This programme is a superb way to help modern children learn new skills, become more confident and understand the community they live in. I know this experience will remain with my daughter for the rest of her life.”

Mike Evans, Director of Operations, EFL Trust, is delighted with the amount of Football Clubs involved in NCS going forward saying;

“The EFL Trust’s vision is to create a stronger, healthier more active communities and we see the delivery of NCS as a significant part of achieving this.

 We are delighted to be able to grow our supply chain of Club Community Organisations and youth organisations involved in NCS and are proud of the impact we have had through NCS so far. Supporting thousands of young people as they transition into adulthood and then in turn make a positive difference in their community is something to be immensely proud of, and we look forward to continuing that in the future.”

Chief Executive of NCS Trust, Michael Lynas said

“I’m incredibly proud of everything that NCS has achieved in the last ten years. As it moves into the next phase of its life, I’m confident NCS can make a more significant difference for our young people and their communities than ever before.”

Brentford FC Deaf Football Coach is shortlisted for an award at the UK Coaching Awards

West London’s Ben Lampert, a coach with England’s deaf football team and Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, is among the first selection of finalists announced last week for the UK Coaching Awards.

The showpiece event, which will be held at The Tower Hotel London on the 5 December, celebrates the outstanding work of a diverse network of coaches who promote healthy and active lives, unlock potential and provide a platform for people to thrive.

Ben Lampert, who is one of the country’s only full-time deaf football coach, is among the finalists in the Changing Lives Award category. Through his work for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, his Deaf Sports Plus project is breaking down barriers by providing free sporting activities to deaf children and adults. Lampert also works with hearing and deaf children in west London schools, coaching football and teaching sign language. In addition, he is Assistant Manager for the England deaf men’s football team.

Speaking about his award nomination, Lampert said:

“I am honoured to be nominated for the award. It is important to show other Deaf people that it is always possible to achieve your goals.

“I got involved with the Trust so that I could break down the barriers I faced as a child and to ensure that sport can be enjoyed by all deaf people. Growing up I had to fit in and adapt to sports sessions – rather than the sessions being adapted to me and my communication needs.

“Sometimes I think there is a misconception about deaf people because of their commu­nication needs. If deaf people can achieve great things in sport, we can change this perception.”

UK Coaching’s Director of Coaching Emma Atkins, said:

“The UK Coaching Awards is a true highlight of the year, giving us an opportunity to formally celebrate great coaches from a diverse range of backgrounds and thank them for all of the incredible work they do.

“Over three million people regularly coach across the UK, from grassroots to elite level, helping to create and maintain happy and healthy lives, and benefit communities. Coaches have the power to enrich the skills of the people they work with.

“This year we have added the Changing Lives Award, which recognises coaches who are empowering, inspiring and connecting people from diverse communities to overcome life challenges. It is a category which illustrates the way in which coaches can transform lives.

“I would like to offer huge congratulations to all of those who have been nominated for the first four awards. The standard of nominations we received this year was extraordinary, demonstrating the strength of coaching in the UK.

“Thank you to all our coaches across the UK, and to our finalists. We are all looking forward to celebrating your achievements in December.”

Finalists for the final eight awards will be announced in November, including The Great Coaching Moment of the Year prize. This will be shortlisted by the Sports Journalists’ Association and will be open to a public vote.

The UK Coaching Awards recognise and reward great coaching from a diverse array of backgrounds. Previous winners range from coaches and organisations working at an elite level to those making a huge difference in their community.

Wigan Athletic captain Sam Morsy attends football session for young people from Wigan Mosque

Wigan Athletic captain Samy Morsy attended one of Latics’ Premier League Kicks sessions at Wigan Youth Zone on Monday evening.

The weekly football session is for young people aged 8-16 who attend Wigan Mosque, with the visit part of the club’s equality and diversity programme Together, and in support of Kick it Out.

Latics captain Morsy helped youngsters with their football skills during the session and says it’s great to be able to create opportunities for Wigan’s Muslim community and, in particular, 8-16-year olds looking to develop their football skills.

He said: “It’s been amazing to be honest. It’s about raising awareness to the local community and the Muslim community too.

“For the kids to come and be able to play and enjoy their football, it gets them involved and they’ve had a great time and hopefully they can continue to enjoy playing football.

“Everyone should have the right to play freely and it’s not always like that, but being in football we can do something about that.”

Sunday’s game against Nottingham Forest will see Latics celebrate the work of Kick it Out and the Together programme and Samy says it’s important to get all communities involved in football.

“It’s an important message to offer opportunities to an under-represented group and there has been boys here today from all around the world.

“It’s about them enjoying the football and enjoying their free time. They are lovely people, great souls and are really happy and that is great to see.”

Through the Kicks programme, Wigan Athletic Community Trust provide free football and sports opportunities for over 1,000 young people a year between the ages of 8- 19, in five different areas of Wigan.

During 2018-19, 1,498 young people took people took part in Kicks, 25% of which were girls.

Labour MP for Wigan, Lisa Nandy, was also present at the Kicks session and was able to meet some of the young people.

She added: “I met some of the boys taking part and it is amazing to see them grow in confidence. I don’t think many of them would have had this opportunity if the Community Trust and Wigan Athletic as a whole hadn’t reached out to the Mosque and made contact.

“We are really lucky in Wigan to have that, because I know from speaking to colleagues in Parliament that many clubs don’t go to those great lengths to reach out to groups who are underrepresented in football.

“It shows once again that Wigan are leading the way in trying to bring new groups into football and keep the game going and reaching out to more young people and also changing lives.”

The scheme aims to help create stronger, safer communities by developing young people’s potential and also includes health and lifestyle workshops including dangers of drugs and alcohol and knife crime, and involvement can lead to volunteering, qualifications and apprenticeship opportunities for participants.

Emad Sawesi, 10, regularly attends the session at the Wigan Youth Zone.

He said: “I’ve been coming for about a year and a half and it’s great as you can play football with other players from the Wigan community and playing with them is enjoyable.

“It’s a sport that is my favourite and I have always loved a lot. Also being able to meet a player like Samy Morsy was a dream come true as well.”

The free sessions for young people from Wigan Mosque run every Monday between 5pm-6pm at Wigan Youth Zone.

For more information on Kicks, please contact Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Senior Community Development Co-ordinator Steve Eastwood by calling 01942 318090 or emailing s.eastwood@wiganathletic.com.

Disability Confident Announcement

The EFL Trust are proud to announce that they have achieved Level 1 of the Disability Confident scheme and are committed to the government’s objectives with regards increasing the number of disabled people in work. The scheme was launched in November 2016 and supports a commitment to having 1 million more disabled people in work by 2027.

There are over 7.6 million people of working age in the UK who are disabled or have a health condition. There has historically been a large gap between the numbers of disabled people employed compared with non-disabled people.

DWP has a vital role to play in supporting people with disability or longer term health conditions into or back into work.

There are clear positive outcomes from the scheme. For example, there were 3.9 million working age disabled people in employment in the UK in January to March 2019. This was an increase of 177,000 since last year (January to March 2018), and an overall increase of 947,000 since January to March 2014, the earliest comparable figure.

The EFL Trust joins over 5,000 employers in the scheme, all with the shared aim of improving support for people with disabilities or longer term health conditions into or back into work.

Achievement of level 1 of the scheme involves agreeing to the Disability Confident commitments and identifying positive action to be carried out that makes a difference for disabled people. The EFL Trust will be seeking Level 2 status in the near future.