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.”



Emily Price: “The traineeship at Wigan Athletic Community Trust is one of the best things I’ve ever done”

The traineeship programme – aimed at 16-24 year olds – is designed to enhance the skills and experiences of unemployed young people, making them better prepared for further education and employment.

Thousands of young people, including Emily Price, have got their careers off to a flying start thanks to the traineeship programme.

Since completing the traineeship in summer 2018 with Wigan Athletic Community Trust, Emily has recently started an 18-month apprenticeship with the Club.

The 20-year-old, who is a keen coach, with a huge passion for sport, helped deliver PE lessons in local primary schools as a part of the traineeship and states that this has been a ‘vital’ part of her development.

She said: “I’ve had a huge passion for sport since I was a little girl. I knew I really wanted to get into coaching, so to be given the opportunity by Latics was a real honour for me.

 “I was a little worried about it all at first though because I’d never really coached much before, but the more I got involved in activities the more comfortable I got.

“The traineeship is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It helped me to develop my confidence skills, and just being able to shadow the coaches and work with children from different backgrounds, allowed me to pick up new skills and learn ways to adapt to different sessions, which was vital.”

A traineeship also offers opportunities in fields such as business administration, media and hospitality, and includes Maths and English functional skills, access to qualifications, job application support, Club kit and bursaries.

“I met some great people on the traineeship and it’s not all about sport because you can go down so many different paths, which makes the programme an appealing one.

“If it wasn’t for the traineeship I’d probably still be trying to find my way into the sports industry, so I’d definitely recommend it because it brought me a lot of pride.”

Upon completing the traineeship, Emily successfully gained a place on the Trust’s apprenticeship scheme in September 2018, joining five other young people on the project.

“I knew I wanted to continue with my studies so I thought the apprenticeship would be an ideal thing for me to apply for.

“I’ve loved every minute of it so far and enjoy visiting schools and working with children.

“I’m ambitious so when I finish my apprenticeship I’d like to study a USW sports degree (University of South Wales), but my long-term aim is to one day get a UEFA Pro Licence, I really want that.”

Recently, Wigan Athletic were named North West EFL Community Club of the Year and were recognised alongside five other regional winners at Parliament for their outstanding work in the community.

Emily was chosen to represent the Latics as a part of the event and showcased her fantastic story. Talking about the award and being involved in the event, she said:

“Wigan Athletic Community Trust provides so much to the community. I’m so inspired to be a part of it because of the positive impact it has on so many local people.

“We are all very proud and overwhelmed that the hard work has been recognised with this award.”

To find out more about traineeships visit:

Joe’s Journey

Like most teenagers, Joe, from Sheffield, wasn’t sure what to do in life or what options were available to him for his future; until he did NCS with Sheffield United Football Club back in the summer of 2012.

Joe was one of the first teens to take part in NCS, not knowing the impact it would have on his life. He was part of the first and only national graduation that took place at the O2 Arena in London which was followed by a seat at Wembley to watch England in a World Cup Qualifier.

At the time, Joe felt that learning in a classroom environment wasn’t for him and he was adamant about not going into further education, until Chris Bailey, who was Education Manager at Sheffield United Community Foundation opened Joe’s eyes to the opportunities at the Club.

Eventually, Joe enrolled onto a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport with Sheffield United and went on to achieve a First Class BSc (Hons) in Sport Development with Coaching at Sheffield Hallam University.

Chris Bailey, now Head of Sheffield United Community Foundation, met Joe on NCS in 2012:

“Joe was a bit of a challenge to start with, but the investment of our time with him paid off tenfold. Two years after Joe had achieved a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport, he earned himself a place at University.

“Not to mention, Joe represented SUFC in the Futsal National Finals, winning trophies and accolades along the way. Not bad for someone who didn’t want to go on and continue his studies.”

Whilst studying at University, Joe volunteered his time on the NCS programme, drawing on his experience to support other teens on the programme at a number of south Yorkshire Clubs including Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday before eventually landing a full time role as NCS Recruitment Engagement Officer at Sheffield United.

Joe spoke about NCS:

“NCS and Sheffield United really opened my eyes to opportunities I didn’t know were available.

“Working full time on NCS is an incredible. I am now in a privileged position to give back to NCS and support teenagers who were in similar situation to me.” 

Chris was delighted to have Joe full time on the programme where he started his journey six years ago:

“When I found out Joe had applied to join the Foundation as an employee on NCS, I knew instantly that we had a very trustworthy and committed young man.

“Fortunately our NCS Manager thought the same, and Joe became an employee in 2018. It’s amazing what you can achieve by saying yes to the programme.”


Sheffield United are 1 of 22 other clubs across the EFL and Premier League who will be hosting an NCS Match Day in February. NCS Match Day is an annual event championed by EFL Trust to celebrate the positive impact that young people are having in local communities across the country. The club’s first team players will have an important role to play by warming up in NCS branded t shirts and meeting programme graduates.

To find out more about NCS visit:

Degree Apprenticeships Benefit the Employer and the Employees

How Degree Apprenticeships benefit the Employer and the Employee:  Chris and Oxford United Community Trust’s Story

School and mainstream academic learning can be a narrow pathway at a very specific time, early in your life. If pure academic learning is not for you or you’re not ready to learn in your formative years, then you often miss out on the chance of qualifications that could at some point affect your career progression.   A degree apprenticeship is a new way for someone in work to improve their knowledge and qualifications, benefiting both the individual and the business they work for.

Chris Lowes, Head of Operations at Oxford United Community Trust, is one person in our network that is currently benefiting from a degree apprenticeship.

“I’m not really academic.  I struggled to learn at school and ended up leaving with no GCSE’s.  Having Dyslexia doesn’t help. I wouldn’t say it’s the root cause of everything but it meant I struggled with written work. After school I went straight into part time work with the football club as a coach on minimum wage. Over the years I’ve worked my way up through various positions at the Trust.”

Chris was recently appointed Head of Operations, atop job at Oxford Community Trust.  Despite his success at Oxford, Chris has always been concerned about his lack of formal qualifications.

Chris continues, “I always regretted not having more qualifications and as my career developed I regretted it even more because I know that I have the knowledge and potential to succeed.  I thought about doing night school, or day release many times, but the cost was too much and the time it takes out of your life put me off when trying to balance a full time job. However, a degree apprenticeship doesn’t have those constraints, so it’s an opportunity that I jumped at.”

Degree apprenticeships have less effect on a student’s life, as they combine working with studying part-time at a university. Apprentices are employed throughout the programme and spend part of their time at university and the rest with their employer. This can be on a day-to-day basis or in blocks of time, depending on the programme and requirements of the employer.  More importantly a degree apprenticeship also removes the cost barrier, with only 5% contribution towards costs for non-levy paying organisations and no cost for levy paying organisations.

The course Chris is studying is the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship with the Open University. This degree provides apprentices with higher level management skills, core leadership competencies and behaviours. Thanks to his degree apprenticeship, Chris is now getting the opportunity to get the qualification he deserves and Oxford United Community Trust are benefiting from his wider skills, knowledge and expertise.

“I’ve always learned by doing. I’ve got basic understanding of what  I’m doing and why I’m doing it. However, the degree apprenticeship is broadening and deepening my knowledge and understanding.  The degree allowed me to understand the theory and learning at the same time you are doing the job is a great way to learn.”


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:

EFL Day of Disabilities: “Many of the young people involved have never attended a football match before.”

To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust gave a special task to children from our disability projects.

With the Community Trust engaging with 250 children and adults with disabilities each year, it is no surprise that we marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in a special way.

Children from our Short Breaks project, which supports children with disabilities through sporting activities, joined our deaf volunteers for the Guard of Honour at our Sheffield United Game last Tuesday. And Brentford players Emiliano Marcondes, Rico Henry and Moses Odubajo congratulated the youngsters on their important matchday role.

More importantly, for many of the young people involved, this was the first time they had ever watched a professional football match. Sherrie Carrington, whose son took part in the Guard of Honour, said:

“He has been non-stop talking about it – you have certainly made him a happy boy tonight! He was actually really nervous about being a flag bearer, in case he did it wrong in front of all those people, but in the end he really enjoyed himself.”

Established in 1992 by the UN, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to promote the welfare of people with disabilities and raise awareness of the difficulties they often face.

And the EFL, along with the 72 Clubs it represents, aims to highlight how football matches is an inclusive environment for disabled people.  Chris Tribe, Disability Project Manager at Brentford’s Community Sports Trust, said:

 “We thought it was really important to mark the EFL Day of Disabilities, and we wanted to invite some young people who have never attended a football match before, which made the occasion even more special. It was fantastic to see how much they all enjoyed the experience; not many people get the opportunity to step onto the hallowed turf of Griffin Park!”