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.