Posts

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 Footballers take on NCS Grads

Over the next 2 months, footballers from the EFL will be going toe-to-toe with NCS Graduates to take on the YES/NO game and find out more about NCS.

NCS (National Citizen Service) is a flagship government initiative that has provided 400,000 young people aged 16-17 the chance to take on new challenges, experience exciting activities, make long-lasting friendships and develop vital skills that will support them later in life.

The first footballer in the firing line is Rotherham United defender Ben Purrington who met Casey Holmes, a current member of EFL Trust’s Regional Youth board, and NCS Graduate from Rotherham.

Ben said: “It’s been a pleasure to meet Casey and learn more about NCS and her experience. The opportunities that NCS and Rotherham United offer are great for young people and I urge more to get involved.”

Talking about the YES/NO game, Ben continued: “It’s a lot harder than you think, but it was great fun and I did okay!”

The EFL Trust have been delivering the NCS programme since its pilot year in 2011 and now have a network of over 40,000 graduates. Using the power of football, EFL Trust are in a unique position to publicise the work that NCS are doing during the programme and after. Last year, the social media campaign #NCSMatchDay reached over three million people.

On 15th March, NCS Graduate and now professional footballer Louis Jones at Doncaster Rovers will take on fellow NCS Graduate Holly Dennis. To keep up to date, follow #SayYestoNCS.

To get £15* off NCS this Summer, click here.

Charlton Athletic mark Football v Homophobia Month with unique training session

Charlton Athletic’s management team took time out of their EFL League One promotion race on Thursday [22nd February 2018] to run a one-off training session for Charlton Athletic Community Trust Invicta FC. 

CACT Invicta FC are the first LGBTQI+ friendly team to be affiliated to a professional football club, as a part of February’s Football v Homophobia Month of Action.

Demonstrating Charlton’s commitment to supporting CACT Invicta’s aims to raise awareness of LGBT issues and tackle homophobia, CAFC First Team Manager Karl Robinson was joined by his Assistant Lee Bowyer and First Team Coach/Club Captain Johnnie Jackson.

The trio put the team through their paces with a punishing session at the Club’s Sparrows Lane training ground in New Eltham during a chilly lunchtime.

CACT Invicta FC is open to all players, regardless of their background. In their inaugural season in Charlton’s colours, Invicta are sitting top of the London Unity League, 6 points clear, with 4 games to play.

CACT Invicta Player/Manager Gary Ginnaw reflected on the nature of the ground breaking work his team were undertaking saying: “All we want to do is come down, play football, work hard and be successful.

“Hopefully we will have something to look back on in years to come that we achieved together and made a difference.”

Football v Homophobia is a grassroots campaign that exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football.

Charlton Athletic dedicated their home game against Oxford at the beginning of February to tackling homophobia, the second annual themed match-day of this kind at The Valley.

Speaking at the event, CACT Chief Executive Officer Jason Morgan MBE spoke about how Charlton Athletic has always led the way in fighting discrimination: ”There are certainly echoes of the work we undertook to combat racism in football back in the 1990’s. Those projects were picked up and taken to a national level.

”Similarly, it’s now great to see other clubs across the country now affiliating LGBTQI+ friendly teams and taking positive steps to promote inclusion and supporting this within club and community projects.”

 

To find out more about Football v Homophobia visit: www.footballvhomophobia.com/

Over 1800 females active through Female Fitness Exercise project

Over 1800 women across London have got more physically active thanks to the EFL Trust’s Female Fitness Exercise (FFE) project supported by the Mayor of London.

1287 of those females on the project were previously inactive and by December 2017, the project aims to have engaged at least 2,625 females across London.

The project also targets reducing the number of females who are classed as ‘inactive’; and specifically those who struggle to exercise regularly, such as the over 40’s or those with a disability.

Seven EFL clubs run the project through their community trusts, offering a wide range of activities – in addition to football – to help women keep active and improve their overall health and well-being.

One club in particular, Leyton Orient, have been working with the local Asian Women’s Support group through the FFE project to help ladies lose weight, increase fitness levels and improve their health and fitness knowledge.

Leyton Orient Trust have been working with the group, trying out a range of sport based activities and ran a 12-week football fans in training (FFIT) session alongside ‘soccersise’ – exercise fun using a football and football based techniques.

Philip Smith, Head of Health and Wellbeing at Leyton Orient Trust said: “It’s been great to work with the Asian Women’s Support Group to set up these sessions. Over the 12 weeks the group got to try out a range of activities, helping to build an enjoyable and positive experience around physical activity along with an understanding and deeper knowledge of how to make healthier lifestyle choices.

“It’s been lovely to see the group develop and see the impact it has made on their health. We are always keen to explore ways we can work with local groups to achieve positive outcomes for the community and this project is an excellent example of the impact partnership working can make.”

Many participants on the project had a chance to try out sports for the first time and after reaching their 12 week goal as a group, losing over 3 and half stone in weight, the ladies were invited to attend their first ever football match, enjoying a day out as guests of the club.

Manjit, one of the participants, commented: “The sessions were excellent. It was really interesting learning how to make healthier good choices and doing it together in a group made it lots of fun. I really enjoyed playing football and tennis; two sports I’d never tried out before. It was also great to attend my first ever football match too.”

Parm, another participant said: “I have become more active, lost weight and improved my diet. I still have some bad habits to get over in consuming food but I know they are bad now through the knowledge I have gained doing the course! I’ve also made lots of new friends through the programme too.”

To find out more about the Female Fitness Exercise programme visit: http://www.efltrust.com/female-fitness-exercise/

EXTRA TIME: ‘It takes years off you! I always claim I’m 29. I’m 87 and I love it.’

Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s ‘Extra Time’ programme is offering people over the age of 50 in Shrewsbury a new lease of life, and you have to look no further than participant Alan Bowers to see the impact the sessions are having on those in the community.

Alan, 69, is a season ticket holder at Shrewsbury Town, but also an active member of the Extra Time programme.

Alan has been a regular participant at the club since it started five years ago, and up until recently was also a part of the Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s walking football team.

Extra Time, is aimed at getting those over the age of 50 involved in sporting activities and socialising, with sessions run every Thursday.

It’s not just limited to football, either. Alan and co find themselves doing a range of different activities each week, and whether it’s hockey, rounders, basketball, walking football or ten pin bowling, there’s something for everyone to get stuck into.

Speaking of the programme, Alan said: ”It’s such a good group of people, and they all get on with one another.

”It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, they just get out there, get some air in their lungs and just do something a bit different.”

When asked how much he has gained since joining Extra Time, he added: ”So much. Making friends, keeping healthy, keeping fit. When you retire, you get to a point of, ‘what do I do next?’

”You can’t go to a pub every day, can you?…Well maybe you can!

”But you don’t want to do that, you want to do something different. We want to do visits, we go to the pantomime every year at Theatre Severn and we have  a trip every year.”

Joining Alan at Shrewsbury Powerleague every Thursday is Irene, 87, who has been part of Extra Time for four years.

Like Alan, Irene can’t speak highly enough of the sessions, and the group that she has become so close and friendly with.

”It’s the best club I’ve ever been to, it really is.” Irene said. ”It’s a laugh from the time you go in, to the time you go out, and everybody joins in.

”It doesn’t matter if you’re any good at it. I am no good at hitting the ball in rounders, the ball goes the wrong way!

”Everybody cares for one another, it’s great! If anybody is off colour or ill, we’ve got out phone numbers.”

For a healthy and youthful lifestyle, Irene insists Extra Time is the programme for you.

”It takes years off you! I always claim I’m 29! I’m 87 and I love it.

”The laughs you have, and the friends you make…A laugh a day makes all the difference.”

To find our more about Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s Extra Time sessions visit: https://www.shrewsburytowninthecommunity.com/activities/extra-time/

Kinder + Sport Move & Learn project shortlisted for FDF Award

The Kinder + Sport Move & Learn project, developed by EFL Trust and Ferrero, has been shortlisted for the ‘Education Initiative Award’ at the Food and Drink Federation Awards 2017.

The activity programme is designed to get children moving by encouraging dynamic play and sports amongst young people and their families, promote nutritional education and build awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

As childhood obesity levels continue to rise across Britain, Ferrero recognised a responsibility to take positive action to promote nutritional education and build awareness of the importance of a balanced diet and active lifestyle amongst children.

After forming a partnership with EFL Trust in 2014, the project has expanded to reach over 54,000 children in the UK and continues to grow.

Accrington Stanley are 1 of 24 EFL clubs who run the project through their Community Trust reaching out to schools across the country.

To read more about the FDF Awards 2017 click here.

FUTSAL AND EDUCATION: ‘From not knowing what to do in life, to representing my country in front of thousands’

EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme scholars, Morgan Pratt and Momodou Touray, are two prime examples of how the course can open the door to life changing pathways and experiences.

After approaching the end of secondary school, both boys were hesitant of what to do next in their lives. Never could they imagine that two years later, they would be playing for their home country in front of thousands of fans.

The boys were chosen to represent Wales at under-18 school boy level and played in international fixtures against England, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

“I wish I could relive the experience,” said Morgan. “From not knowing what to do with my life two years ago after finishing school, to then singing the Welsh national anthem away in Scotland in front of over a thousand people was unbelievable.”

Momodou commented: “I’ve always dreamed of playing for the Wales team. The atmosphere whilst coming on against Northern Ireland was phenomenal, it will be a moment I will never forget. It brought me to the realisation that this is only the beginning for me.”

The EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme specialises in offering a platform to young people who love sport but aren’t motivated by the classroom environment, presenting a different way to learn and progress in their careers.

Unlike regular college courses, students are able to combine studying sport, gaining qualifications that will enable progression into university, and play football and futsal with regular coaching to develop their technical, tactical and physical ability.

Morgan added: “I was unsure what to do next when I finished school. Then I came across an opportunity to go on the programme. At first I was worried about leaving my comfort zone and leaving my old school and friends – but it turned out to be the best decision I ever made.”

“I’ve always been interested in learning how the body works with nutrition, in different situations of exercise and activity,” Momodou said, “I’m so glad I chose to join the programme as I now realise it has helped me to understand nutritional information as a footballer and the best food and meals appropriate to contain a healthy diet.”

After representing Wales and going into his second year of the programme, Momodou has since signed a two year scholarship with Newport County AFC’s academy team.

He has already been named five times on the substitute bench for the first team, something that Newport County’s Futsal and Education Programme co-coordinator Dave Lewis is proud of.

He said: “It was fantastic to see Momodou offered a two year scholarship with the academy team and I am immensely proud to have played a part in his development.

“Both individuals [Momodou and Morgan] have showed a fantastic attitude towards their studies and consistently performed to an excellent standard during both futsal and football 11v11 games programmes.

“They both had unforgettable and outstanding experiences during their international fixtures which wouldn’t have been made possible if they weren’t part of the programme.”

The two scholars were also keen to encourage others with an interest in studying and playing sport to sign up to the programme.

“Anyone should consider signing up to the programme as it gives you the opportunity to not only study sport and get good qualifications, but also travel to different cities within the UK and play against experienced players,” Momodou said.

“You should sign up to the programme if you want to get a good education behind you,” added Morgan. “It gives you the tools to go to university and you get the chance to play lots of football and futsal which will definitely improve you as a player as the coaching is second to none.”

To find out more information about the EFL Trust Futsal and Education Programme visit: www.efltrust.com/futsal

TRAINEESHIPS: Young people kick start life with Blackpool FC

Young people who have struggled to find employment have been offered a life changing opportunity to turn their lives around, thanks to their local football club.

Blackpool FC Community Trust are one of many EFL club trusts offering youngsters the chance to gain invaluable work experience on the traineeship programme.

The course, aimed at people aged 16-23, has been made to offer those who are currently not in education, employment or training a stepping stone back into further education.

Trainees on the programme get to spend three days a week based at their local professional football club, whilst shadowing experienced members of club staff and community football coaches.

In just 12-16 weeks, students get free training in employment skills including; CV writing and experience, employment opportunities, interview skills, coaching skills resulting in a FA Level 1 qualification, high quality work experience in business administration, hospitality, grounds maintenance, match day, retail and experience of working in the sport and leisure industry.

Connor Snape, aged 18, is currently on work placement with Blackpool FC and has been helping the Seasiders staff to prepare for pre-season and life in League One.

Connor said, “As a massive Blackpool FC fan, I’m delighted to be receiving my work placement at the club. I’m helping out in the kit-room and making sure everything is ready for when the players return for pre-season training.

“This is my second placement as I was at TEE Time Golf Centre last month working with the grounds staff. Both placements have given me key employment skills which will hopefully get me some full-time work.”

Blackpool FC Community Trust also offer a ‘Kickstart’ programme allowing those who successfully complete the traineeships programme the chance to continue their further learning and employment opportunities.

James Hanson, 17, has just finished the Kickstart course and is now working at Ascent Trampoline Park as a court marshal assisting customers.

James thanked Blackpool FC Community Trust for turning his life around. James said, “At 16 I went into the army and I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t know what to do with my life but I enrolled on to Blackpool FC Community Trust’s Traineeship course and learnt important life skills.

“I progressed on to the Kickstart course. It really gave me the boost I needed in life and the Trust set up interviews with different organisations. I’m now working at Ascent Trampoline Park and I’m really enjoying it. Both courses (Traineeship and Kickstart) have changed my life. Thanks to Colin and Rick for their support.”

Geoff Scott, 23, also used the Kickstart programme to gain full time employment. Following the completion of the course, the Trust set up a number of interviews for all Kickstart students. Geoff impressed local shop Co-op during an interview and was hired by them at the end of May.

Geoff is delighted with how the Kickstart got his life back on track after struggling to find full time work. Geoff said, “I’m so pleased to be working full time at Co-op and it wouldn’t have been possible without Blackpool FC Community Trust.

“They taught me key skills which I’ve taken with me into this new job and I’m really enjoying working at Co-op as I’m a big believer in quality of customer service.”

To find out more information about traineeships visit: http://www.efltrust.com/projects/traineeships/

Rotherham’s ‘Back Into Sport’ project shortlisted for award

Rotherham United Community Sports Trust’s (RUCST) ‘Back Into Sport’ project has been shortlisted for a 2017 National Lottery Award.

The project funded by Sport England and launched 12 months ago, reaches out to members of the black and ethnic minority community to encourage them to take up sport and physical activities.

‘Back Into Sport’ has increased levels of physical activity and sport among black and ethnic minority (BME) people at high risk of health-related issues. It has also worked with local schools, mosques and community groups to recruit participants and volunteers to help set up sports lessons and arrange matches.

Over half of Rotherham’s adult population do not take part in physical activity, according to a local authority survey. BME adults also face a number of barriers including hate crime, poor local facilities for sport, language and cultural barriers.

The project runs three netball sessions a week and has supported women from a local school to go on and set up a netball team to play competitive games. It also works with a local mosque to increase sport participation among male congregation.

Winners of the 2017 National Lottery Award will receive a £3,000 prize for their project and star in a BBC One television show.

Zanib Rasool from Back into Sport says: “We’re absolutely delighted to have made it through to the finals of The National Lottery Awards.  It’s wonderful for everyone involved in our work that our achievements with National Lottery funding have been recognised.   We hope all our supporters will vote for us so we can enjoy national recognition on BBC One later in the year.”

Inclusion officer Trudi Race said: “Rotherham is a town with a beautifully diverse mixture of culture and races. “Many of these people face barriers when it comes to accessing sport, particularly women. This project enables us to work with the participants to build trust and to make sport more accessible. The first year has seen an incredible increase in BME women accessing sport which is a proud achievement.”

To vote please click here: http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/back-sport

Jade Inspires Over 100 Girls to Learn and Play

Two years ago, Jade Elliot became the first ever female to join the EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme. Jade’s efforts have since inspired over 100 other girls to follow suit as women’s involvement in sport continues grow.

At the age of 17 Jade, from Clayton Brook, near Chorley, became the first girl to hold down a place with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, in an otherwise all male team on the Futsal and Education programme.

She explains that being the only girl was an obstacle she had to overcome to do something she loves.

 “It was hard at first being the only girl as I had no one to talk to. I faced a lot of barriers but didn’t let anything stop me and eventually the barriers were broken down. I always use the quote ‘Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Since Jade started the course, there are now 16 girls playing on the male programme, and last year a girls only programme was introduced with approximately 85 female players taking part.

She continued: “I’m very proud to of been the first girl on the programme as it opened up massive pathways for females in my area. There are more opportunities for girls in sport now than ever before. It’s great to see the figures continually growing.”

Jade’s interest in sport began when she was inspired by her older sister Jasmine, who was a goalkeeper for England’s U-18 national team.

From the age of eight, Jade played at grassroots level for Euxton Girls and moved onto playing at academy level for Blackburn Rovers from U-10’s to U14’s. After this, she shifted her focus to futsal and coaching.

Whilst on the course, Jade sparked an interest in coaching after she was influenced by her then coaches Darren Finch and Chris McGrail, a former professional footballer for Preston North End. She has since completed her FA Level 1 coaching badge and has almost finished her Level 2.

 “ I really wanted to get into coaching after watching them [Darren and Chris] and their different styles. The have both helped me with my badges and after completing my FA level 2 coaching badge, I am hoping to move on to get my UEFA B next year.”

Aside from her studies, Jade has been the driving force in helping to involve more young people on the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust NCS Programme and is involved in volunteering to help deliver football coaching to young players in the community.

 “For me, right now, there’s nothing better than coaching. Helping with the grassroots game at the moment is great as it’s like I’m giving something back from where I came from.”

Looking to the future, after recently completing the Futsal and Education programme and achieving top grades, she hopes to develop even further down the coaching route from grassroots all the way to elite level.

She concluded: “At the moment I want to continue coaching within the community and working on the NCS programme. My dream is to one day be involved in the England Women’s national team set up as a coach.”

To find out more about the EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme visit – www.efltrust.com/futsal/