Proud to deliver Joy of moving programme in milestone year

The EFL Trust is proud to celebrate 10 years of delivery across England and Wales of the Ferrero social responsibility programme, Joy of moving, with its network of Club Community Organisations (CCOs).

As the impactful programme enters its milestone 10th year, Joy of moving has inspired over 550,000 children to get moving through play and delivered over 2.5 million hours of learning in hundreds of schools.

With more than 70,000 children set to benefit from the programme this academic year via 27 CCOs, Joy of moving is based on a unique methodology, developed by Ferrero alongside independent experts.

Joy of moving encourages children to get active using play as the foundation, whilst helping them to develop key skills, such as motor coordination, creativity, and social skills.

In the UK, the unbranded Joy of moving programme consists of two elements: the Move & Learn project and the Joy of moving Festivals, delivered in schools.

Charlie Cayton, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications at Ferrero UK, said: “We are incredibly proud to be celebrating ten years of our Joy of moving social responsibility programme.

“The programme, delivered by our amazing partner and their fantastic Club Community Organisations, inspires children to get moving while playing and having fun.

“We know that this approach is key to get children engaged and I’m delighted to be able to say that together we have been able to reach over half a million children since our initiative began.

“Joy of moving has gone from strength to strength over the past decade and we’re excited for the programme to continue its success as we look ahead to the future.”

Adrian Bradley, Head of Healthier Communities at the EFL Trust added: “More than half (53 per cent) of children do not meet the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of taking part in sport and physical activity for at least 60 minutes every day, according to Sport England findings*.

“Our Club Community Organisations (CCOs) are at the heart of their communities and have been integral in the development and delivery of the Joy of moving programme designed to inspire active lifestyles in children, teaching children how to enjoy moving through play, and to help them develop positive habits for adulthood.”

To learn more about the Joy of moving programme visit www.efltrust.com/joyofmoving

‘Inspiring’ Blackpool FC School offers chance to children who ‘struggle with mainstream education’ 

Blackpool FC have showcased their onsite school which looks to offer children who experience challenges in mainstream education a chance to fulfil their potential and be known for their personalities and aspirations.

The school, which opened its doors in 2021, has proved to be a great success, with manager Neil Critchley and goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell heading down to the school last week to oversee one of the many football sessions the school hosts for the pupils.

ITV Football visited the school to find out more.

Speaking to ITV, Critchley said: “I’ve been really impressed and the January transfer window is still open, so some of these players might be coming in on Monday! I used to work in schools many years ago when I was a young coach starting out and you know the impact you can have on some of the younger people, the happiness it brings, their sense of belonging, social interaction, their inclusion.

“Coming down here today and being just a small part of it is quite amazing really, it’s quite inspiring to be honest with you.”

The school, which is open to children between the ages of 14 and 16, is the vision of Blackpool FC Community Trust and is found at Blackpool’s home ground Bloomfield Road, in a purpose-built facility in the North Stand area of the stadium.

Gemma Trickett, Headteacher of Blackpool FC School, told ITV: “The school’s open for students who struggle with mainstream [education]. That could be for a variety of different reasons, whether it’s special needs or it could be behavioural issues.

“Our vision and ethos at the school is to ensure that every child in Blackpool has an alternate provision where they can access a curriculum that’s suited to their needs.”

Blackpool FC School offers a unique experience which looks to inspire and engage each young person who walks through the doors of the building. The school aims to recognise each person individually and take a holistic approach to meet their needs and development.

The Tangerines are one of 72 Clubs across the EFL that use the power of football to engage young people who have not found the ideal place to grow. Figures from the latest ‘Measuring the Impact of EFL Clubs in the Community’ revealed 85% of the 309,648 participants engaged on education, training and employment programmes at EFL Clubs reported improved attainment at school.

Gemma continued: “I think it’s a great opportunity that the students have to be able to play alongside the first team, for the first team coach to come down and watch our students involved in football.

“They’re really excited.”

Ashley Hackett, CEO of Blackpool FC Community Trust, said: “The biggest success for me was last year we had our first cohort finish year 11 of 12 students. 11 of them have now gone onto positive destinations and by that we mean they’re in college or they’re in a job.

“This is an unbelievable achievement by the team.”

Green Football Weekend Kicks Off

EFL Clubs and the network of Club Community Organisations are once again supporting Green Football Weekend.

Running from 2-5 February, EFL Clubs and their community organisations are hosting a wide range of activities and initiatives to have a positive impact on our planet, including to encourage football supporters across the world to incorporate more vegetables into their diet, not only benefitting their own health, but also having a positive impact on the planet.

We’ve already seen lots of activity, including:

  • Northampton Town holding their Green Game last Saturday, with local community and environmental groups attending to share their work with fans.
  • Wycombe Wanderers launching their new BeOne Sustainability Strategy.
  • Leicester City in the Community joined volunteers in planting 90 trees at a local playing fields.
  • QPR sharing their sustainable travel pledge as part of their green game last Sunday.
  • Watford announcing a new sustainable travel partnership to help understand and address the impact of fans travelling to matches.
  • Bradford City players visiting vegetarian restaurant Prashad to learn more about plant-based cooking ahead of the Community Foundation’s launch of new veggie and vegan options in their community hub.
  • West Bromwich Albion introducing their Baggies Pastures Green to fans and shared some of the work they’ve done since forming in 2022.
  • In the lead up to their game against Southampton, Rotherham United launching their Swap Shop, offering fans the chance to trade in their surplus Rotherham United kit and swap it for something new.
  • Blackburn Rovers Community Trust linking up with their Club partner, BGreenn, to provide guidance energy saving guidance to two groups of young people who regularly attend the charity’s Neighbourhood Youth Offer programme, and promoting the benefits of smart meters as part of their Smart Energy GB community work to Remember the Rovers participants.

Damon Fox, Sustainability Lead at the Northampton Town FC Community Trust, said: “People in our community are very interested in doing what they can to help the environment and prevent climate change.

“I urge everyone to get involved because engaging with Green Football Weekend is a lot of fun for you and your family, and you’re helping a great cause.”

Keep an eye out on activity by following the #GreenFootballWeekend hashtag over the weekend.

Supporters can log their actions on the Green Football Weekend website in order to score green goals helping their team climb up the leaderboard as fans support the campaign.  

EFL Clubs crown more Community Champions on the second EFL Community Weekend

The English Football League (EFL) continued to celebrate the important role that their Club Community Organisations (CCOs) play in their local communities this weekend; with more staff, volunteers and participants nominated as their Clubs local Community Champions.

Unfortunately Stevenage’s game against Barnsley was postponed due to a frozen pitch. However, Stevenage FC Foundation’s still took time to celebrate their Community Champion XI, although they will have to wait for their plaudits at The Lamex Stadium.

Pete Moss one of the eleven nominated by the Foundation is a frequent participant at walking football sessions where he first attended in 2016. Just four years later in 2020, Pete was selected to represent England against Welsh counterparts until COVID-19 made him wait until 2022 to finally get his hands on his England cap.

His support for the Foundation extends further than his beloved walking football, as he also volunteers for the charity Samaritans and supports the Extra Time Hub sessions at The Oval Community Centre on a Thursday.

Pete noted “These events have been positive for my mental and physical wellbeing through interaction with new people and taking part in new activities. I consider myself fortunate that my involvement in the Foundation sessions has had such a positive impact on my life”.

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A 0-0 draw for Derby away to Lincoln was not what the Rams fans would have wanted to celebrate this weekend however they will be celebrating one of their own Community Champions, Alex Owens.

Derby celebrated their Community Champions ahead of their last game against local rivals, Burton Albion where they were presented to the crowd and pictured with both captains at Pride Park.

Alex has played football with Derby County Community Trust since the age of 10 where she was part of the Regional Talent Centre set-up. Now aged 17, she’s part of the popular Football and Education programme whilst continuing to represent Derby County U20’s in the FA Women’s National League Reserve Midland Division where her side is currently unbeaten.

As well as being a distinction student, Alex also qualified as a referee in October and officiates on the Female Talent Pathway fixtures every Saturday. As well as giving her time to support these fixtures, she regularly volunteers as a coach on a Friday evening at the ETC helping to inspire the next generation of female footballers.

 

Another fixture in League One where Wigan’s Thelo Aasgaard scored the only goal in their game against Reading to secure his side three points.

With three points being celebrated at the DW Stadium, the Lactics also had Dennis Heaton to honour ahead of kick off as he was chosen as their Community Champion.

Dennis has Parkinson’s disease and is a member of Wigan Athletics’ Community Trust’s Extra Time Hub programme.
The Extra Time Hub aims to tackle loneliness and isolation amongst over 55’s with the weekly sessions allowing participants to enjoy their retirement years, remain active and meet new people.

Since joining the sessions, Dennis has gone from strength to strength and gained a new lease on life. Dennis has taken on several challenges, including learning to rock climb, flying a plane and taking on the world’s longest zipline to raise over £1,000 to support the work of Wigan Athletic Community Trust.

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Plymouth Argyle almost had their fans worried after they conceded early on in their Championship fixture with Cardiff City who sit four points ahead of Argyle however a Ryan Hardie double and a late Morgan Whittaker goal earnt a comeback win at Home Park.

Argyle’s Community Heroes attended Home Park as special guests on Saturday, and were presented with a bespoke framed shirt, referencing their incredible commitment and hard work to the community.

Alec is Cornish born but Argyle through and through and has held multiple roles with the Club and Trust across his long and proud career. A career which has spanned decades and began with Alec running the Argyle youth team and Centre of Excellence, supporting and mentoring local young people in football.

Alec became involved in the Trust when the EFL introduced the original Community Scheme, and he has dedicated the last 25 years leading ‘Matchday Magic’ at Home Park Stadium – a matchday provision inspiring local young people and creating the next generation of the Green Army.

Al’s passion for the club and professionalism has made him a firm favourite at Argyle and within the city.

Argyle Community Trust’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Lovell said: “We are extremely grateful for the incredible work of our community heroes and the commitment they show. This is a great opportunity to honour them and celebrate these special people, people I am proud to have worked with and to call my friends.

“We are delighted to welcome them as guests of honour in front of a sold-out Home Park and give them the recognition they deserve for their hard work and dedication.”

 

EFL Clubs celebrate local community heroes

Last weekend marked the first-ever EFL Community Weekend campaign, as Clubs across the EFL highlighted and rewarded the tireless work of staff and volunteers at Club Community Organisations (CCOs), whilst also showcasing the stories of participants within their local communities whose lives have been changed through the power and work of their football club and their charities.

As matches took place up and down the country, community champions everywhere were thanked and rewarded.

In Suffolk, Ipswich Town honoured season ticket holder Adam Woodmason who led the teams out in their fixture against Sunderland on Saturday. Adam was registered blind five years ago but was determined to continue his independence despite his diagnosis, this included attending his beloved Portman Road to enjoy his side playing football.

With matchday assistance from the club and its foundation, including access to Soccer Sight descriptive commentary which offers detailed real-time coverage to assist visually impaired supporters in being part of the matchday experience, Adam is able to enjoy his matchdays to the full.

As well as attending regularly as a season ticket holder, Adam also participates in numerous programmes that the Ipswich Town Foundation facilitates. He takes part in weekly walking football sessions as well as being a frequent attendee at Senior Blues, which is an inclusive environment designed to support social inclusion and light physical activity.

Adam says that his involvement with the Foundation has been a great help: “When I got told I lost my sight five years ago, there was a dread of the unknown,” he said. “Senior Blues and walking football have both helped me to interact with new people, which has helped me no end.”

Ipswich Town's community champion Adam Woodmason leading out the sides ahead of their fixture against Sunderland.

Photo Credit: Michael Zemanek/Shutterstock

From the South East to North Wales, where Wrexham shone a light on their Wrexham Miners Project at their game against AFC Wimbledon.

Alan, Margaret, George and Sharon were presented with a certificate by Executive Director Humphrey Ker in celebration of the positive impact the Miners Project has had on the local community.

The Wrexham Miners Project preserves the borough’s heritage and commemorates the tragic 1934 Gresford Colliery Disaster, as well as providing a hub for the local community to partake in various recreational, educational and social activities.

As Wrexham climbed to second in League Two with their win over AFC Wimbledon, Cambridge United hosted Fleetwood Town in League One with Sully Kaikai the hero for his side as his stoppage time winner saw them take all three points from the visitors.

However, Cambridge United Foundation’s Simon Wall may just put into perspective a true hero.

The Foundation’s Community Engagement manager, Simon lives just a short walk from the club and truly embodies committing to make a difference to his local community.

Simon is invaluable to Cambridge United Foundation’s team as he plays a pivotal role in hosting sessions for those young and old from holiday camps to Forever United. Evidently, Simon has strived to ensure his community are better served as he has dedicated thousands of hours to delivering meals, hosting bootcamps, and doing garden gate check-ins with vulnerable adults during covid and providing lifesaving CPR to one of our walking football participants, saving his life before paramedics arrived.

From League Two to the Championship, where Cardiff City Foundation showcased two very worthy community champions.

Zack’s involvement with the Community Foundation spans more than two years, during which time he has consistently attended an impressive four sessions per week. His commitment goes beyond mere participation as he actively contributes to Inclusive Football Sessions, supporting beneficiaries with complex needs on a one-to-one basis.

Despite facing multiple disabilities, he has demonstrated unwavering determination. The support of his parents has been crucial, as they ensure his attendance at sessions since Zack is not able to drive. This collaborative effort showcases the strength of community and familial support in overcoming challenges.

Through his involvement with the Community Foundation, Zack has experienced significant personal growth. His confidence has blossomed, and with the Community Foundation’s support, he now leads aspects of session delivery.

As Wrexham climbed to second in League Two with their win over AFC Wimbledon, Cambridge United hosted Fleetwood Town in League One with Sully Kaikai the hero for his side as his stoppage time winner saw them take all three points from the visitors.

However, Cambridge United Foundation’s Simon Wall may just put into perspective a true hero.

The Foundation’s Community Engagement manager, Simon lives just a short walk from the club and truly embodies committing to make a difference to his local community.

Simon is invaluable to Cambridge United Foundation’s team as he plays a pivotal role in hosting sessions for those young and old from holiday camps to Forever United. Evidently, Simon has strived to ensure his community are better served as he has dedicated thousands of hours to delivering meals, hosting bootcamps, and doing garden gate check-ins with vulnerable adults during covid and providing lifesaving CPR to one of our walking football participants, saving his life before paramedics arrived.

From League Two to the Championship, where Cardiff City Foundation showcased two very worthy community champions.

Zack’s involvement with the Community Foundation spans more than two years, during which time he has consistently attended an impressive four sessions per week. His commitment goes beyond mere participation as he actively contributes to Inclusive Football Sessions, supporting beneficiaries with complex needs on a one-to-one basis.

Despite facing multiple disabilities, he has demonstrated unwavering determination. The support of his parents has been crucial, as they ensure his attendance at sessions since Zack is not able to drive. This collaborative effort showcases the strength of community and familial support in overcoming challenges.

Through his involvement with the Community Foundation, Zack has experienced significant personal growth. His confidence has blossomed, and with the Community Foundation’s support, he now leads aspects of session delivery.

Continuing with personal growth, dedication and commitment is Grace Snell.

Struggling with mainstream education and having had a challenging experience engaging in her subjects, Grace found her calling in the world of sports and sought an alternative path to pursue her interests.

Grace’s journey with the Community Foundation began when she joined the BTEC Level 3 sport programme. Now in her second year of the Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development in partnership with the EFL Trust and the University of South Wales, Grace has not only excelled academically but has also emerged as a true community hero through her commitment to volunteering and community engagement.

Grace’s impact is particularly noteworthy in her role within the Foundation’s secondary education programme at St Cenydd Comprehensive School. Working closely with pupils, Grace has built a rapport and understanding by drawing on her personal experiences. She connects with young individuals facing similar challenges, providing them with a relatable role model.

These individuals showcase the important work going on at Club Community Organisations nationwide, and with this coming matchday weekend (19th-21st) being the second EFL Community Matchday, clubs will continue to spotlight their huge successes in providing and bettering their local communities.

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EFL CLUBS SHINE LIGHT ON LOCAL COMMUNITY HEROES

Local community heroes will be celebrated up and down the country from Friday 12 January to Saturday 20 January as the EFL, EFL Trust, 72 EFL Clubs and their Community Club Organisations launch the first-ever EFL Community Weekends.  

Across the period, Clubs, managers and players will mark the incredible work that community staff and volunteers deliver 365 days per year, while participants from community programmes will be honoured by special visits from players and matchday activities.

As part of matchday activations, fans will get the chance to hear from participants that have had their lives changed or even saved by their Club’s community work and find out more details about the range of projects and ways to get involved.

A host of these community heroes and projects that will be recognised include:

  • Colchester United’s community champion, Lauren, who has recently been re-diagnosed with a brain tumour and is documenting her journey to raise awareness for other young people living with similar conditions
  • Volunteers from Hull City’s Street Soccer Academy, a funded programme designed to build confidence and life-skills for local young people
  • Programme leaders and participants from Ipswich Town’s ‘Senior Blues’ initiative, which provides an inclusive environment to tackle loneliness and promote active lifestyles
  • Kai, a member of Cambridge United’s autism football project, and his mother Becca who have been awarded the Club’s Inspirational Family Award
  • Derby County’s Alan Higgins, who has supported community sport at Oakwood for a number of years, including providing transport and subsidising fees for local children to play football
  • Yakub Mohammed, who has been a part of Swindon Town FC’s Refugee football squad since its launch in 2022
  • Rotherham’s community heroes who will be hosted in the Club’s Corporate Hospitality Lounge as a thank you for their continued efforts to the local community, including Jon Carnforth who was recently recognised in the King’s Honours list with an MBE for his services during the pandemic

 

Trevor Birch, CEO of the EFL, said: “Community remains a fundamental part of the EFL and its 72 Clubs’ identity, so we are delighted to launch the latest strand of activity in this area – the EFL Community Weekends. The work undertaken by Clubs has a hugely positive impact on the participants of the various programmes and the towns and cities where people live.

“Football continues to reach parts of local areas that others simply cannot and successfully addresses challenges linked to health, wellbeing, education and employment alongside helping to keep communities connected. We look forward to celebrating this incredible work in front of match-going fans over the coming two weekends across our network.”

 

Liam Scully, Chair of the EFL Trust, said: “Our Clubs and Club Community Organisations engage more than 840,000 people from EFL communities all year round. To be able to showcase the Club community work as a collective and acknowledge the work of participants and programme leaders, many of whom are volunteers, further highlights the unique ability of our network.”

The EFL Community Weekends build on the success of the recent EFL Week of Action in November – where the League and its Clubs shone a light on the significant impact Club community work has on towns and cities in England and Wales, valued at over £865m a season in the latest community impact report.

During the 2021/22 season, EFL Clubs deployed a workforce of almost 10,000 (of which over 4,000 are volunteers) to support community activities, delivering in-kind support of over £40m and more than 120,000 hours of free or subsidised usage of community facilities to benefit the lives of those living in the local community.

For more information on the EFL Community Weekends and the impact of EFL Club community work please visit www.efl.com

Stadium Big Sleep Outs In Lancashire Support Homeless

Deepdale and Ewood Park saw hundreds of people sleep rough to raise tens of thousands of pounds to support charities that support the homeless.

Both Blackburn Rovers Community Trust and Preston North End Community and Education Trust hosted hundreds of people on the same evening with participants sleeping on the side of the pitches and in the stands.

Preston’s Big Sleep Out returned for the first time since 2019 to raise funds for the city’s Foxton Centre’s Day Centre, that supports vulnerable young people and adults.

The money raised will go to frontline services at the Day Centre which offers a place after people have found themselves on the streets to have safe and warm space to be fed and receive support.

Blackburn’s event gathered donations and awareness for the Trust and Nightsafe, a local charity providing support and emergency help to homeless people in Blackburn with Darwen.

Martin Winters, Head of Operations at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust said: “This year’s Big Sleep Out, under the stars at Ewood Park, was a fantastic example of the community coming together to raise awareness and support around homelessness.

“The money raised will be split between Nightsafe and Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, all to help people from crisis to providing pathways into education and work.”

Nicola Roscoe, Operations Manager at Nightsafe, added: “The Big Sleep is just one night of experiencing homelessness and what it is like to be out on the streets, which is sadly an unfortunate everyday occurrence for some people.

“The Sleep Out raises much-needed awareness around homelessness and much-needed funds to keep services operating to support our young people who shouldn’t have to face any night on the streets.”

As a result of both events, tens of thousands of pounds have already been raised for the causes.

Breaking Down Barriers

In 2021/22, EFL Clubs and Club Community Organisations engaged with over 840,000 individual participants in community-focused sessions and events.

Almost one in five of those people live with a disability, many of which are children and young people.

On International Day of Persons With Disability (December 3rd), Here are some stories of incredible young adults and youngsters, with the support of amazing community initiatives in EFL communities, who are excelling in the face of adversity.

Thomas’ National Success

Double amputee Thomas Atkinson uses his disability to inspire others in the community to follow in his path.

Thomas talks about his experience at Carlisle United Community Sport Trust and how his time there has helped shape him to become to the person he is today and play for the England Amputee Team.

“Being a student of the Carlisle United Community Education Programme was wildly beneficial for me,” Thomas said.

“I wasn’t just getting regular top level training sessions. I was learning about health and the way my body functions, which is so important.

“I was the only student with a disability, but I felt included every step of the way. Everyone was very supportive to help me achieve my goals.”

Thomas was referred to the England setup by the Cumberland FA after being spotted playing in various football camps, including Carlisle United’s soccer schools while he was a Community Sports Trust Football Development student at the Cumbrians.

As well as now being a coach at the Club Community Organisation, he has also managed to become a regular starter in goal for England Amputee Football, recently winning a Nations League competition in Poland, bringing back the team’s first major trophy in 30 years.

“Through my experiences as a community coach I know I have inspired people in their own way,” added Thomas.

“Whether it’s seeing a disabled person go on and succeed in sport. I feel a sense of pride when I am coaching, especially when young people have smiles on their faces during my sessions. It’s an amazing feeling to achieve.”

Thomas gives his advice to anybody facing challenges within the sports industry.

“The way you are is the way you are,” he added. “I was born with a disability and I can’t change that and you cannot change your situation, so your best move is to be grateful for what you have and do your best with what you can offer.

“I was born with one leg and I also have one arm. That doesn’t mean I can just sit back and watch everyone else and it doesn’t mean I can’t play. Everyone has their challenges; you just need to find your own way to overcome yours.”

Zac’s Journey

With his positive personality, Zac has brought his passion to every session and now aims to pursue a future in coaching.

At just 18 months old, Zac was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a lifelong condition that affects movement and co-ordination.

He became a Shrewsbury Town Foundation participant and joined ShrewsAbility in 2017. It was here that he found a passion for football and was able to play alongside other participants facing familiar challenges.

Zac joined the Foundation for a week of work experience in 2022, in which he got involved with different areas of the organisation from coaching to media.

One of the employment pathways the Foundation provide is their Coaches’ Academy, a programme that teaches 14 to 15-year-olds how to develop their coaching skills through both classroom and practical based learning.

Zac said: When I first joined ShrewsAbility I didn’t think I’d be able to participate in football, but they have me the opportunities to do something I didn’t think I’d be able to do.”

Jamie Edwards, CEO at Shrewsbury Town FC Foundation added: “What you see with Zac is about us getting him ready for employment which is what we’re doing  across all our programmes is about providing that pathway into employment.”

Upon graduating from the programme, Zac wishes to join the Foundation’s College and University programme and achieve a coaching qualification.

Oscar’s Story

Young Oscar doesn’t let his disability get in the way of him staying active and having fun.

Whether its handball, dodgeball, cricket or football, Oscar – a double amputee – always has a smile on his face and loves taking part in physical activity.

Much of that enjoyment is down to the support he receives from Watford FC Community Sports & Education Trust’s Ruby Jager who provides engaging and inclusive sessions for him.

Ruby, a Community Coach, spoke about what it is like to coach Oscar: “Not only has Oscar learnt about different ways to overcome his barrier and use it as an advantage, but he has also learnt what is healthy and unhealthy for his body.

“Oscar is a pleasure to teach and always gives everything a go. He always challenges himself and is not afraid to ask for help when he needs it. His friends are so encouraging of him, and he always has a smile on his face when he’s around them.”

Ruby added: “By schools having us coaches delivering different programmes, it allows kids to learn new sports, learn different skills, learn about healthy eating and frees up teachers’ times.”

Foundation help ‘role model’ Bryson

“If I hadn’t have gone to Phil’s sessions, I wouldn’t have been walking on my own.”

Bryson’s relationship with Cambridge United Foundation’s Phil Mullen has been lifechanging for the youngster who lives with cerebral palsy.

The 11-year-old started playing frame football at the Club Community Organisation when he was 4 years old and could not do independent steps at the time.

He has progressed from using a frame, to quad sticks, tripods and monopod sticks – now taking some steps without walking aids.

Much of this progression s down to the popular football-based sessions provided by Phil which helps participants who live with a disability.

The Foundation said Bryson is a fantastic role model to new participants joining the sessions and a shining example of how football can help improve coordination, agility and motor skills.

Bryson’s mother Ann said: “It’s just so lovely to see Bryson and Phil’s relationship because he trusts him completely.”

Bryson added: “My greatest achievement is walking and doing my sills with a size three ball now.”

Impactful Community Work Celebrated at EFL Trust Conference 2023

EFL Club Community Organisations attended the annual EFL Trust Conference this week to celebrate and further develop the impact they have in their communities across England and Wales.

EFL Chair Rick Parry and EFL Trust Chair Liam Scully addressed the Conference along with EFL CEO Trevor Birch and newly appointed Director of Community, Debbie Cook, who will take position in February 2024 to lead the EFL Trust.

At the Conference, the EFL Trust was announced as a strategic partner of Sport England to help people across communities move more and enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle. Sport England’s Executive Director of Partnerships, Phil Smith, took to the stage setting out the scale of the challenge faced as a nation to increase activity rates among the sections of communities least likely to be active.

The EFL Trust will receive long-term National Lottery funding from Sport England and has committed to influence positive change and drive improvements across the network and beyond. This forms part of Sport England’s approach to long-term partnerships with organisations aligned to the Uniting the Movement strategy.

The conference also welcomed key commercial partners, Kellogg’s and Sky Bet, outlining opportunities to support Club communities over the coming years.

 

 

Business Development Director, Andy Snell shared a range of updates including news that the Trust is now a member of the European Football for Development Network (EFDN), an organisation dedicated to strengthening the social impact of football across Europe.

The annual event culminated in a series of workshops for Clubs and CCOs addressing key areas that impact the impressive community work across our 72 Clubs in the Community.

Liam Scully said: “The annual EFL Trust Conference is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the impactful community work across the network and an ideal occasion to bring all the Clubs and Community Organisations together to build stronger, healthier and more cohesive communities.”

New EFL Community Director Appointed To Lead EFL Trust

Debbie Cook has been appointed as the EFL’s new Director of Community and will be responsible for overseeing the management of the EFL’s charitable arm, the EFL Trust.

Having worked in local government for 22 years, Cook brings a wealth of leadership experience, previously holding CEO positions at a national health charity and YMCA Humber respectively, before joining Grimsby Town as CEO in June 2021.

Announced at the EFL Trust’s annual conference today (29th November), Cook will also join the League’s Executive Leadership team to further strengthen the EFL and EFL Trust, building on the annual £865m social value contribution that the League’s 72 Clubs make in towns and cities across England and Wales each year.

Trevor Birch, CEO of the EFL, said: “I’m thrilled to welcome Debbie to the EFL, bringing with her a wealth of expertise and leadership skills across the sports and charity sectors. I have no doubt that Debbie will make a significant contribution to the League’s Executive team while overseeing operations of the EFL Trust.”

Liam Scully, Chair of the EFL Trust, added: “On behalf of the EFL Trust Board, we’d like to thank our senior team for their unwavering commitment and achievements in managing the charity over what’s been an uncertain 10 months for the EFL Trust. We welcome Debbie to the role and look forward to building on the foundations that have been provided by the network’s outstanding work in recent years.”

Debbie said: “EFL Clubs make a huge impact on communities on a scale which is unprecedented in this country and I’m excited to be joining the EFL as we seek to build on the amazing work that goes on day in, day out.

“It’s been a privilege to witness at Grimsby Town Football Club just how much a club can represent a community and impact the lives of so many people.

“The lessons I have learned during my wonderful period at the club will inform much of my work and I am excited to take on this new challenge.”