World Cerebral Palsy Day: Jordi’s story

As part of World Cerebral Palsy Day (6th October), we are highlighting a fantastic story about one individual who has attended Cardiff City FC Foundation’s sessions for over seven years.

Jordi, who is now 12 years old, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of two, with his disability having the most impact on his legs as well as his arms and torso from time to time.

Jordi has been using a Kaye walker in everyday life, but luckily was “born with a happy and sunny personality which has enabled him to cope with his disability in a remarkable way” says his Mum, Natalie.

The Bluebirds Charity run a number of PAN disability sessions funded by Children in Need throughout the week, which uses sport as a tool to encourage physical health and activity, social interaction and improve confidence.

Natalie said: “I took Jordi along to a session just before his fifth birthday, and it was the first sporting activity he had ever taken part in. After attending these sessions, it has inspired Jordi to go on and try other sports like tennis, swimming and cricket,” she says.

Jordi has had three separate surgical procedures in the time he has been attending the disability sessions run by the Bluebirds Charity, seeing him have his Achilles’ tendons extended, consistent Botox in his legs and most recently, re-adjusting his femurs with the hope that he’ll eventually be able to walk unaided.

Natalie added: “Jordi really does enjoy the sessions; they were one of a kind when we were looking and we’re now so grateful that they were running because it’s helped him so much. The other sports that Jordi took part in sort of faded away, whereas the Children in Need sessions have been ever-present.”

Jordi was recently rewarded by the Foundation for his hard work and positive attitude to recover from his recent operation by being given a mascot position, leading the Bluebirds out against Brighton at Cardiff City Stadium. Giving Jordi the opportunity to take part in sport despite his disability has seen him take a huge step in achieving his full potential.

Jordi was also recently named as the Foundation’s Community Participant of the Year at Cardiff City FC’s 2019 Awards Night after showing dedication and passion to our Bluebirds Ability sessions.

Jordi said: “The sessions on a Sunday are very good, I wouldn’t miss them for the world. They really help me improve my football skills and I’ve made loads of new friends.”

Cardiff City FC Community Foundation is celebrating 10 years of changing lives. Over the last 10 years the Bluebirds Charity has invested more than £10 million into sport and education programmes in local communities and supported over 230,000 individuals to achieve their full potential.

Louie: “NCS made me who I am today”

“They were the worst two years of my life. I was shy, nervous and wouldn’t talk to people” says Louie Salmon, 16, from Peterborough.

However fast forward two years after completing NCS (National Citizen Service) and Louie is a very different person, he now has the confidence to stand in front of peers and tell his story whilst also securing a job with his local football team.

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Conrad’s story: From participant, to student, to full-time coach.

From Community Trust participant, to student, to full-time member of staff, Conrad Britton has been involved with the Bristol City Community Trust for nearly half of his life.

Conrad first got involved with Bristol City Community Trust (BCCT) at the age of ten, through the Trust’s Premier League Kicks programme.

After finishing school, Conrad pursued his passion for football by joining the Community Trust’s post-16 education and futsal programme. Whilst studying there, Conrad frequently volunteered to shadow and assist BCCT coaches on their delivery of various different footballing sessions.

As a youngster Conrad was a shy individual however these coaching opportunities enabled him to build up his confidence.

Conrad’s excellent commitment to both his studies and his volunteering saw him offered a coaching apprenticeship at BCCT which has since become a full-time job as a community coach.

Conrad told the Trust, “As a kid, I was quite a shy individual and I didn’t have much self-confidence, I used to use football as an outlet to express myself.

“I used to absolutely love coming along to the Premier League Kicks sessions that the (Bristol City) Community Trust held as all of the coaches were really welcoming and friendly and it just gave me a good way to get out and have fun.”

“I guess it was these sessions that first gave me the inspiration to pursue a career in football coaching.

“I’m really proud of how far I have come. I now coach football sessions at the same school that I used to go to when I was younger.”

Chief Executive Officer of Bristol City Community Trust, Dan White, commented, “Conrad is an absolute attribute to the Trust and it’s brilliant to see how much progress this young man has made during his time with us at the Community Trust.

“Conrad’s progression also highlights what our education programme is all about, we don’t simply focus on exam results, rather we focus on developing our students all around and providing them with the skills they need to pursue a career in the industry that they love.”

#GreatCoaching #CoachingWeek

Trevor: “I’ve lost 6 stone in 2 years with Stevenage FC Foundation and it’s physically and mentally changed my life.”

Two years ago, Trevor Prowse, who was overweight and suffered from severe anxiety, never thought he would be able to do everyday activities like playing with his grandchild or talking to a stranger on the phone.

It wasn’t until he was referred by his GP to meet Healthy Lifestyles Officer Hannah Marsh at Stevenage FC Foundation, when his life turned around.

Hannah said: “When I first met Trevor he told me our meeting was the first time he had left his house in a week due to his anxiety being that severe and he was very unsure about taking part in any exercise.

“He agreed to try our ‘Introduction to Exercise’ class and despite his apprehensions, he took part, thoroughly enjoyed himself and hasn’t looked back since.”

Stevenage FC Foundation’s Introduction to Exercises classes are designed for people with long-term medical conditions (both physical and mental) and are mainly circuit based.

The sessions also incorporate other activities like Soccercise, Pilates and Boxercise and have a strong element of social support with the group regularly opening up and sharing their experiences and struggles with their health.

In the two years that Trevor has been involved, he has lost a remarkable 6 stone and his blood pressure has dropped, to the point where he no longer has to take medication.

Talking about his experiences, he said: “I started suffering with severe anxiety from my early 20’s, so really suffered for a good 30 years.

“It effects your whole life and makes you so self-conscious, to the point where you can’t even leave the house or do very much.

“Taking that huge step to take part in the sessions at Stevenage FC Foundation was such a life-changing decision for me.

“It’s made a huge difference, I’m doing things now I never dreamed of – last weekend I even went sky diving!

“It’s also the little things that make all the difference. I recently became a Grandad for the first time, and when I was overweight I wouldn’t have been able to do very much.

“But now, I can be active and spend time with him and it means so much.

“Anxiety has been a part of my life for so long – but those simple things are really what make all the difference.”

The 58 year-old credits the sessions for not only helping him physically, but mentally, as he no longer dreads meeting new people and looks forward to classes each week.

 He added: “Stevenage FC Foundation, the course they run and Hannah are all superb and I would recommend it to absolutely anyone.

“There are people there of all ages, all levels of fitness and everybody is there for their own reason – I consider the people in my class as not just friends, but even family now.

“The sessions have allowed me to realise that there are people who will help you if you are struggling, you just have to open up.

“Something may seem daunting at first but once you get over that barrier in yourself and try it, it may just be one of the best things you ever do.”



Active Minds Group proving a prolific hit, as Mansfield FC Football in the Community tackles Mental Health

Mansfield Town Football in the Community are delighted to announce that their proactive approach to tackling Mental Health is continuing to grow, having seen increased numbers attending their ‘Active Minds’ sessions.

Taking place every Friday at the One Call Stadium, the ‘Active Minds’ sessions tackle Mental Health issues such as loneliness, low self-esteem & self-confidence, PTSD and anxiety – along with improving the lives of those living with Dementia.

Since the groups launch in March, Football in the Community have seen a vast increase in the number of people attending the group, with participants enjoying a different activity each week, designed to encourage team work and improve confidence through the power of sport and play.

Led by Football in the Community coaches, activities have included a number of outdoor sports games, music therapy, board game sessions, interactive quizzes and indoor fitness classes – activities which have proved a real hit with participants, old and new.

“My husband is a different person when he comes here, and I know that many of the other wives have seen the same transformation” – Carol Wright, wife on long-term participant Peter, who lives with Dementia.

“It’s such a simple set-up and to get as much out of it as they do is unbelievable. It’s the friendship that they get out of it, they come here and can talk for hours, whilst they can be at home and not speak for hours, like you’ve fallen out, you haven’t that’s just Dementia.”

“He has a different expression on a Friday morning; he knows he’s coming here and he really lights up – it’s worked wonders for his wellbeing, knowing every week he’s coming here gives him a focus.

“The main things I get out of these sessions is seeing that he is happy, it’s different to the rest of the week. When you first get these sort of diagnoses you think that you’re excluded from the rest of the world and that nobody cares, there’s a stigma to it – but here [at Active Minds] that simply doesn’t exist.” 

Mark Hemingray, Head of Community, said: “Active Minds has been a really successful project for us so far, the fact that we can split in into two strands [Chat – Focussing more on Dementia & those unable to participate in physical activities, and Sport – focussing on outdoor sport for younger males] allows us to make an impact across the community.

“Playing games and doing something competitive releases endorphins into the brain and body and it’s been scientifically proven that that has a real positive effect on those living with Dementia, and those living with any form of Mental illness – which is why we design our sessions the way we do.”

Participant Kurt Eggington said “It’s great to have that camaraderie between the group, although we may not be in the same situation across the board we all have our own issues which we are trying to deal with.

“The important thing about basing the group around football and sport is that it’s a common denominator – everybody that comes here for example has an affiliation to the Football Club – it’s always a central point, a focal point.

“Without taking that first step [in joining the activity] you never know if it’s going to be of assistance to you, you may just find if it makes life that little bit easier for you and it does give you something to look forward to, as it does me”

Active Minds sessions take place every Friday at the One Call Stadium and are FREE to attend. ‘Active Minds: Chat’ is suitable for anyone living with dementia or may be living with mental health problems, unable to participate in physical activity – ‘Active Minds: Sport’ is for males aged 18+ battling any form of mental health issue and contains more physical sporting activities – to find out more about the sessions or what may be of benefit to you or a friend, you can contact Football in the Community in confidence on 01623 656 920 or email with the subject title ‘Active Minds’.

National Siblings Day: Twins Grace and Lauren are excelling at Bristol City Community Trust


On National Siblings Day we showcase the fantastic work of twin sisters Grace and Lauren Phillips who are second year students on Bristol City Community Trust’s football and futsal BTEC level 3 extended diploma in sport programme.

After excelling in their studies, they are both on track to achieving the grade of triple distinction star in their sports diplomas, a result which has led them to receiving offers to continue their studies at Gloucester University next year.

As well as exceeding in the classroom, the two sisters are key players in the Community Trust’s women’s futsal team and have played an integral part in the teams journey in making it to the National Finals which will be played at England’s St George’s Park next month.

Chloe Rogers, who is Sports Lecturer and Futsal Academy Coach at Bristol City Community Trust, has worked closely with the girls in improving their futsal performance. Talking about her experience of coaching the girls, she said:

“They are both a joy to coach, competing is in their blood and the passion they have every time they step on to play whether that be in training or fixtures is admirable, they encourage others and only recently whilst we were competing in Portugal they stepped up and encouraged the younger girls which is a coach’s dream.”

As well as studying with The Robins, Grace and Lauren are also members of the Trust’s Youth Council – a body of eight young people who help to shape the work done at the Community Trust – and have been since the council’s conception nearly three years ago.

During their time on the Youth Council, the twins have been involved in representing the Trust at Parliament during last year’s regional EFL Awards event and they have both received national recognition for their work after winning the 2017/18 FA Women’s Football Award for ‘Best Participation Initiative’ for the Trust’s ‘Future Fives’ initiative – a programme which they masterminded.

In addition to this, Grace and Lauren have each spent over 400 hours volunteering with the Trust on various different projects and programmes and are currently working at Easter Holiday football camps.

Head of Education at the Trust, Chris Stenner, commented that, “Lauren and Grace are two inspirational young women who have given a lot back to their local community.

“They have continued that hard work in the class room and on the pitch and are a credit to the Trust.”

Talking about her experience of volunteering for the Trust, Lauren said, “Volunteering for the Trust has been great, and it has been really rewarding to give something back to the local community.”

To find out more about Bristol City Community Trust visit: 


World Health Day – Extra Time Hubs

Today (7th April 2019) is World Health Day. A day to raise global awareness and local conversations about ways to achieve health for all.

We, alongside our 72 EFL Club Community Trusts, use the power of sport to improve health and well-being in local communities around the UK.

Working across all age groups and sections of the community from healthy eating sessions in primary schools through to sessions helping those suffering from dementia.

Extra Time Hubs

Extra Time Hubs is a national project from the EFL Trust that is delivered by 12 EFL Clubs. The Hubs harness the power of football Clubs in the local communities to bring people together and improve health and well-being.

The project, that was made possible thanks to National Lottery funding from Sport England, aims to bring together retired and semi-retired people, getting them involved in a range of activities such as arts and crafts, table tennis, walks, talks, bungee jumping, quizzes and music in their free time.

Those involved have the opportunity to meet and spend time with like-minded people in their area, proving that you’re never too old to learn to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.

Mike Evans, EFL Trust Director of Operations said: “With the support of Sport England’s Active Ageing fund from the National Lottery, we use the power of our football club badges to bring people together in a comfortable, familiar environment and allow them to shape their future path to improved health and well-being.”

World Health Day – Football Fans in Training

Today (7th April 2019) is World Health Day. A day to raise global awareness and local conversations about ways to achieve health for all.

We, alongside our 72 EFL Club Community Trusts, use the power of sport to improve health and well-being in local communities around the UK.

Working across all age groups and sections of the community from healthy eating sessions in primary schools through to sessions helping those suffering from dementia.

Football Fans in Training (FFIT)

The Football Fans in Training scheme, delivered by 5 EFL Club Community Trusts [Swindon Town, Wycombe Wanderers, Blackpool, Middlesbrough and Charlton Athletic], is aimed at overweight football fans, encouraging them to lose weight, get fit and live a healthier, more active life.

Fans on the scheme take part in a 12-week training programme delivered by Club community coaches at their team’s home stadium. They are also grounded in current science of how to eat more healthily and become more active.

Since running the FFIT project, Swindon Town FC Community Foundation have helped more than 200 fans lose more than 250 stone collectively.

One participant in particular on The Robins’ programme, Dave Potts, was the biggest loser out of the group that ran in 2018, after losing nearly 3 stone and 16cm off his waist (16.3% of his starting weight).

Talking about his experience on the programme he said: “Since starting the Football Fans in Training programme I’m a lot fitter, sleeping better and I’m lot happier.

“The result that was a real shock to me was that my blood pressure has come down by over 15%.

“The course has made so many huge changes in my life.”

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.”

World Health Day – Joy of Moving

Today (7th April 2019) is World Health Day. A day to raise global awareness and local conversations about ways to achieve health for all.

We, alongside our 72 EFL Club Community Trusts, use the power of sport to improve health and well-being in local communities around the UK.

Working across all age groups and sections of the community from healthy eating sessions in primary schools, through to sessions helping those suffering from dementia.

Joy of Moving

The Joy of Moving Programme, delivered locally by 23 EFL Club Community Trusts, is designed to help children develop their physical health, cognitive and social skills in a fun and educational way.

The Trusts run fun and engaging activities over a course of six-weeks, with children from year 5 spending time in the classroom learning about the body, nutrition and the importance of exercise, through participating in interactive activities.

The classroom sessions are then followed by a session dedicated to playing football, dodgeball or handball, with two weeks spent on each sport.

In the 2017/18 season the programme impacted over 60,000 primary school children.

Mike Evans, Director of Operations at the EFL Trust said: “The Joy of Moving programme and our partnership with Ferrero is growing from strength to strength.

‘’The power of sport and the club badge allows our network of Community Trusts to deliver key messages, such as tackling obesity, to reach out to the wider community.

‘’We are committed to helping the next generation discover the joy of moving and we look forward to continuing to work with Ferrero and our own network to achieve this.”

Dec’s story: ”If you really want something and work hard, you can do anything.”

Dec’s story

Dec Stone is a current student on the Bristol City Community Trust’s Sports Media course and is a member of the Community Trust’s Youth Council.

Dec, who is also autistic, was selected to be part of the Trust’s Youth Council – a body of eight young people who help to decide and shape the work that is conducted at the Community Trust – in the role of Media Manager as a result of his excellent social media skills.

Dec has now been a member of the council for nearly three years. Over this period of time, the council have helped the Trust to launch initiatives such as the Women’s and Girls football and fitness hub, and a Friday night social inclusion football session – which delivers football to 80 young people per session and has drastically reduced criminal activity in the area that it operates.

The work of Dec and the rest of the Youth Council has been recognized on a national level and has won both EFL and FA awards. In addition to this, the work of the Youth Council played an integral part in the Trust winning the award of Community Club of the Year in 2018 and retaining it in 2019.

When Dec first joined the Youth Council, he was quite an introverted individual who lacked self-confidence, however since then, he has grown into a confident individual and is a prominent member of the council.

Dec’s confidence has grown to such an extent that he now works on multiple Trust projects as well as holiday camps where he works as Lead Coach for several of the sessions.

Dec told Bristol City Community Tust that: “When I first started at the Youth Council, I was way out of my comfort zone. However, I did not let this dissuade me from perusing my goals, and I am so proud of all that we have achieved.

He went on to add that, “People shouldn’t really see autism as a disability or think that just because someone is autistic it means that they cannot do things. If you really want something and work hard, then you can do anything.”