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World Health Day: Using the power of sport to improve health and well-being

Today (7th April 2018) 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.

One trust in particular, Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, run 48 projects on a daily basis that are all linked to health and wellbeing.

In 2017, the Trust had five projects focused on helping improve the health of the borough and as a result the football club’s official charity engaged with more than 2,500 people in the local area.

This year, Blackburn Rovers Community Trust launched a brand new health programme, EuroFIT (European Fans in Training), for men between the ages of 30-65.

The focus of the 12 week initiative is to increase participants’ physical activity levels and offer guidance on how to lead a healthier life with diet and exercise advice.

The weekly session, which is held at Ewood Park on a Tuesday night, has been led by trained staff from the Trust and Blackburn with Darwen Council.

As part of World Health Day, Blackburn Rovers season ticket holder Peter Graham, who is a regular EuroFIT participant, explained why the programme is perfect for him.

“I have been watching Rovers since 1966 and I found out about EuroFIT through the Community Trust’s Facebook page,” admitted the 59-year-old.

“I have put some weight on over the past few years and as soon as I saw the EuroFIT programme it appealed to me.

“The fact the programme was held at Blackburn Rovers was a huge motivator for me rather than going to the local gym.

“It is a real friendly group that goes to EuroFIT and we all motivate and challenge each other to keep going.

“I have changed my diet after the advice we received and we were also given a pedometer to challenge us to walk more places. I have been that impressed with EuroFIT that I have already recommended it to my friends.”

From the Trust’s point of view, Ilyas Patel leads the EuroFIT programme and he revealed the participants motivate each other every day, not just at the weekly sessions.

He said: “EuroFIT has been a real success and World Health Day presents a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness for this programme and all the other great health programmes we run at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust.

“The participants have all been great and they have all taken to the programme. They have set up their own WhatsApp group to let each other know what exercise they have done and see if they can beat one another.”

EFL Kids Cup finalists in safe hands at Rovers

Blackburn Rovers goalkeepers David Raya and Jayson Leutwiler offered their support to the club’s EFL Kids Cup finalists Whitefield Primary by hosting a special hour long training session with the school.

The training session, which was held on the 4G surface at Priory Academy in Penwortham, Preston, was in preparation for the regional finals of the competition next month.

Raya and Leutwiler held a variety of different sessions including passing, dribbling and of course, their speciality, goalkeeping, for the primary schools young shot stoppers.

The children finished off with a mini game between themselves, which provided Raya and Leutwiler the opportunity to observe and offer any advice leading up to Whitefield’s EFL Kids Cup showdown in March at Wigan Athletic’s Robin Park Arena.

A win for Whitefield and Rovers will see the South Ribble based primary school don the famous blue and white jersey at Wembley Stadium in May in the EFL Kids Cup final ahead of the League One Play-Off final.

Leutwiler, who lives less than a mile away from Whitefield, hopes they can go all the way and reach the EFL Kids Cup final at the home of English football.

“We were there to offer advice and help Whitefield prepare for their matches coming up,” admitted the Canadian international.

“They all seemed to enjoy the training session we put on and straight away we could tell how much they love football.

“They are now playing for a chance to reach Wembley and I am sure it will be a dream come true for them if they can go all the way. I really hope they do well and I wish them all the best in the regional finals.”

To find out more information about the EFL Kids Cup visit: www.efltrust.com/kidscup/