EFL Clubs recognised at Parliament for standout community work

A number of EFL Clubs and players were celebrated at the Houses of Parliament for their outstanding ongoing work in the community.

As part of the 2024 EFL Awards, divisional winners of the Community Club of the Season and Community Project of the Season were recognised for their exceptional work and outstanding impact in their respective communities over the past year.

Recipients of the EFL Player in the Community Award, which is sponsored by the PFA, were also celebrated in front of guests.


The EFL Community Awards celebrates the immense power of Clubs in their communities and the important role they play in making a difference to the lives of so many people.

For a long time, EFL Clubs have held a prestigious place in the heart of their respective communities. Engaging with more than 840,000 people per season, providing support 365 days a year, they play a crucial role in positively influencing lives up and down the country.

Hosted by Sky Sports’ Emma Saunders, winning Clubs were honoured at the annual EFL Community Awards – a special event at the House of Commons.

More than 150 representatives made up of guests, Clubs and Members of Parliament were present as winners were celebrated and given the opportunity to showcase some of the unique and outstanding work they are delivering in their respective communities.

People whose lives have been directly affected and positively influenced by this impactful work were also invited to share their personal stories.

EFL Chair, Rick Parry, said:

“It’s a fabulous day from the EFL’s point of view. To hear all the wonderful stories from people who are involved in these community schemes, reminding us all that Clubs are far more than just football teams, they are quite literally the beating hearts of their communities.

“There is so much good work going on having such a wonderful impact on people’s lives and the beauty of today is, it brings that work to life.

“The way I describe it is, in 72 Clubs, we have 72 social entrepreneurs. They are responsive, they are agile, they get things done quickly and effectively and they respond to the direct needs of people in their area. There are a number of underlying themes and Clubs share best practice with one another, but we constantly see so many new ideas and new programmes being introduced that make positive change.”

EFL Player in the Community for the Sky Bet Championship, Will Vaulks, added:

“I think you can argue that Football Clubs are mostly the most important thing in their cities, certainly at the Clubs I’ve played at.

“Clubs have such a responsibility in the community and with that, make such an impact on the local people. They provide jobs and they provide help in so many areas and they do a lot of work to tackle issues that are so hard to tackle, that’s what is great to see.”

Vaulks has won the award twice previously with former Clubs and expressed the importance of players’ presence in the community.

“Clubs can open their doors and bring people in because of the badge and because people support the Clubs, but players have a massive role to play. If players appear at charitable events, a mental health programme, a football session, whatever it may be, it tends to bring more people along. And I think players play a really important role in bridging that gap.

“In my opinion, we have a responsibility as players to dedicate this time to society and we have a duty to be a good role model.”


Overall winners for each of the categories will be announced and celebrated at the EFLl Awards Ceremony at Grosvenor House, London, on Sunday 14 April.

More information on each divisional winner is listed below.

EFL Community Awards – Divisional Winners:

EFL Community Club of the Season

Championship – West Bromwich Albion

During 2023, the Albion Foundation, the official charitable arm of West Bromwich Albion, engaged with 13,060 participants through a variety of projects and activities in the Sandwell area. More than 21,700 sessions were delivered with 434 per week and over 38 hours of contact time per participant. The ages of participants ranged from one year old at the Mini Baggies football sessions, to 101 at the Hawthorns Hub Memories Group sessions. A key area that the Foundation also prides itself on is the work done in disability sport, with 17% of participants having special educational needs and disabilities. Twenty-three of the Foundation’s 41 teams are disability focused including powerchair, blind football and cerebral palsy football.

League One – Charlton Athletic

In 2023, Chalton Athletic’s Community Trust (CACT) engaged with 25,000 participants, with the work of the Trust having a reported value to society of £49.6million (validated by Greenwich University). CACT’s health staff are integrated into the Queen Elizabeth Hospital discharge team, providing social prescribing and resolving practical issues to speed up patient discharge times and reduce bed blocking – a national Government target. More than 7,400 cost of living support referrals were received from Charton’s Primary Care partners, which lead to CACT making  11,222 outward referrals to support people in need of help. Charlton Athletic continues to remain committed to EDI excellence, with training provided to the Club’s Board and a women’s network established last year.  The charity has also established a young leaders programme to provide a training and development pathway for CACT’s future leaders.

League Two – Swindon Town

Swindon Town has remained committed to its goal of being a constant catalyst for positive change in 2023, focusing not just on football but on leaving a lasting legacy within Swindon. With participants aged over 90, Swindon’s Staying Connected sessions provide a support network for those whose needs might not meet the required standards for social intervention from the NHS or local councils. This year, Swindon also welcomed members of the Ukrainian community to Foundation Park, to help give them a sense of belonging in Swindon and feeling of home during their stay. Swindon’s 2023 Christmas Donation Appeal garnered an overwhelming response, with nearly 200 presents generously donated. These gifts were then presented to charities offering crucial support to Ukrainian refugees.

EFL Community Project of the Season

Championship – Bristol City – ADD Mentor

Bristol City’s ADD-Mentor project is centred around a commitment to supporting the development of a young person’s life through the use of a mentor who helps navigate mentees away from negative influences in their troubled life, find a new purpose and become a positive pillar that gives back to their community. The project sees trusting relationships built between known young people in the community and the mentors (who both have lived experience of the challenges the young people are dealing with) to give them an opportunity to change. Police reports have shown 100% non-engagement with anti-social behaviour with each mentee impacted in year two of the project.

League One – Port Vale Community Cupboard and Lounge

One participant from port Vale stated that ‘if the support Port Vale Foundation offers was in tablet form, then it should be prescribed to everyone!’ The Community Cupboard and Lounge has supported 6,000 visits during the last 12 months of the cost of living crisis. The Foundation provides access to advice and support in areas such as housing, benefits, mental health and employment and aims to be inclusive, compassionate, and practical. The project also works to reduce isolation, reduce reliance on statutory services and provide a non-threatening, non-clinical environment in which people can connect and access services they need.

League Two – Morecambe – Veterans project 

Morecambe’s project aims to reduce isolation of Veterans, as well as those that live alone and are elderly. The project has provided training for veterans of all ages, including employability, first aid, food hygiene, wellbeing and local history. Veterans have been referred into services such as debt management, benefit advice, home fire safety checks, and addiction services. Over 150 unique, individual veterans signed up to the project, with a record number of 72 attendees at 2023’s end-of-year-event. The session provides a bacon butty, unlimited brews and a safe space for veterans aged from 19 – 90 to socialise with likeminded people.

EFL Player in the Community, sponsored by the PFA

Championship – Will Vaulks, Sheffield Wednesday

Will Vaulks has won the award for his strong and supportive connection to the Club’s Community Organisation work and his wider charitable commitments including the Bluebell Wood children’s charity and the role he played in executing The Baton of Hope relay for mental health awarness.

League One – Marlon Pack, Portsmouth

Marlon Pack has been recognised for his keenness to support the wider community of his boyhood Club, his commitment to fan engagement, coaching in the community (including supporting the Academy team in his spare time) and his dedication to one-on-one time with several fans in need of support and special treatment.

League Two – Farrend Rawson, Morecambe

Farrend Rawson is acknowledged for his ability to carry his influence on the pitch into his community work and spread his enthusiasm for the importance of player support into the first-team dressing room. Farrend has supported school projects, the Extra Time programme for the over 60s and at Christmas, organised players and staff donations to buy presents for children at a local hospital.