Ignition Sports Media Community Club of the Year and YouGov Sport Community Project of the Year winners were recognised at Parliament earlier today.
A number of EFL Clubs were recognised and celebrated at Parliament for their outstanding work in the community on Tuesday 2nd March.
As regional winners of the Ignition Sports Media Community Club of the Year, six EFL Clubs were selected for their innovative and ground-breaking work being delivered in their local communities.
New for 2020 is the YouGov Sport Community Project of the Year, where one club per division has been recognised for its outstanding work in delivering a specific project that has had a positive impact on areas such as health and wellbeing, education, and diversity and inclusion.
Hosted by Sky Sports’ Scott Minto, winning Clubs were honoured at a special event at the House of Commons earlier today, receiving their awards from the Sky Sports presenter and EFL Chair, Rick Parry.
Special guests and club representatives gathered on the River Thames as winners were celebrated and given the opportunity to showcase some of the outstanding work they deliver in their communities.
These worthy winners give an indication to the variety of outstanding work being delivered by Club Community Organisation’s in EFL communities across England and Wales.
Speaking at the House of Commons, EFL Chair Rick Parry said: “I was really impressed with what I saw today, and inspired too. We heard some wonderful stories, real life stories of the impact of some of our Clubs work and an event like this really does bring it home to you how much it matters.
“It’s one thing reading the stats, but when you’re actually seeing the individuals involved, seeing the passion and seeing their commitment to making a difference, that really means a lot.“We’re so fortunate in the EFL to have such a variety of football clubs. Our Clubs touch every single community across the country, 37 million people live within ten miles of an EFL club – that’s pretty extraordinary. We have a real breadth of reach and a high passion for the biggest football club down to the smallest, I don’t believe there’s another network like it.“I don’t think there’s a limit to the power of football – and the power of sport generally, but football is really playing its part. It encourages people to talk, it encourages people to communicate and it can bring people together which is sometimes all you need to get things started. Whether it’s mental health related, physical health, education or fighting crime, football is playing its part. It’s fantastic to see.”
North East & Yorkshire – Middlesbrough FC
- Middlesbrough FC Foundation launched a new community strategy with a core principle of ‘making a difference by being different.’ Through a number of specific projects, such as RiverSideBySide and ‘The Boro Bus’ it has been able to improve community cohesion, health provisions and education in one of the most deprived areas of the country for over 35,000 people.
North West – Wigan Athletic
- Focusing on three priority areas of schools, community development and training and skills, Wigan Athletic have continued to create a stronger community in their surrounding area. The partnership between the CCO and Club is a key factor in the success of Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s programmes and delivery to over 14,000 individuals.
Midlands – Derby County
- Over 30,000 individuals participated in Derby County Community Trust programmes in 2019 – its highest number to date. Its commitment to creating meaningful experiences, working closely with a range of partners, impressed the judges and the impact of the Club’s work is apparent across the community.
London – Charlton Athletic
- Charlton Athletic Community Trust impressed the panel with its continued ability to increase engagement (to over 46,000 people), participation and investment in programmes and activities within its locality on a huge scale. In particular, their Crime Reduction Project which has significantly impacted the lives of over 2,000 young people in the area by combatting anti-social and criminal behaviour was a standout feature of their entry.
South East – Crawley Town
- Crawley Town was recognised for its innovative approach to projects and their ability to continually improve programmes and services, particularly within its National Citizen Service delivery. Despite being a smaller CCO in terms of annual turnover than our other winners, Crawley have been able to introduce projects such as the Crawley Old Girls and the CCO was also chosen as one of the 12 EFL Clubs to launch the EFL Trust’s ‘Extra Time Hubs’.
South West & Wales – Cardiff City
- The judges were impressed with Cardiff City FC Community Foundation’s continued commitment to providing an inclusive environment for participation across all areas of their work. Its work engaging over 23,000 individuals has seen the organisation recognised in the industry, receiving a number of high-profile accolades this year.
Championship – Charlton Athletic
- In response to an increase in serious youth violence in the delivery areas of Charlton Athletic Community Trust, the Club launched the Crime Reduction Project, to reduce anti-social and criminal behaviour in the area. The project has had a significant impact on over 2,000 young people since launching, with over 350 involved in one-to-one mentoring, over 670 supported by introducing them to sport and physical activity and over 1,000 engaged due to emerging problems or concerns. Of those engaged, many individuals have since moved into education, employment, training or volunteering; many experiencing a stronger connection to friends and family and there has also been a reduction in criminal behaviour.
League One – Portsmouth FC
- ReFit is a project delivered by Pompey in the Community in partnership with the Society of St James, offering free daily activities to vulnerable adults in the city, affected by complex issues involving drugs and alcohol misuse, mental health or homelessness. The programme uses sporting activities alongside education, to promote a healthier way of living and provide participants with relevant skills and qualifications to improve their lives. In its first two years, the project has impacted over 600 participants.
League Two – Cambridge United
- Cambridge United Community Trust’s ‘Mind Your Head’ programme caught the judge’s attention for the unique way they have used the power of the Club badge to reach out to young people and share the importance of mental health. The programme, which was delivered to over 1,000 secondary school students, has improved mental health literacy across a number of schools in the area and has been recognised on a national level by the ‘all-party parliamentary group for a fit and healthy childhood.’