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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.”

Stevenage FC become latest club to sign up to USW Football Foundation Degree

Stevenage FC Foundation have teamed up with the University of South Wales and EFL Trust to launch a brand-new foundation degree for aspiring coaches to study a higher education course whilst gaining practical experience out in the local community.

The Foundation’s two-year Foundation Degree programme is a course designed for individuals wanting to attain a university qualification and are passionate about pursuing a career in the football industry.

Students develop the necessary skills, qualities and characteristics that are required to work within professional football club community departments or national governing bodies.

Delivered in partnership with the University of South Wales, Stevenage FC Foundation become one of over 35 clubs across the country to deliver the course including Shrewsbury Town, Newport County and Sheffield Wednesday.

All lectures, seminars and tutorials are delivered in a supportive and inspirational club environment, based predominantly within your own football club via online material. This is supported with residential stays at the University of South Wales campus in Cardiff where students from all the clubs, come together twice a year.

Alongside the academic element of the course, students will complete up to 200 hours of voluntary coaching within the community, alongside the Foundation staff, allowing the students to embed and develop the coaching techniques learnt within lectures.

Through the Foundation’s partnership with the University of South Wales, all students will be enrolled as a student at the university. Students will be able to access the university’s online library, blackboard and learning materials, providing them with the best possible learning platform to excel within.

Head of Foundation, Joe Goude said, “We are incredibly excited about the being able to bring the USW Foundation Degree to Stevenage. This is something we’ve been working on for nearly a year now and we cannot wait to get started.

“We already have a fantastic apprenticeship pathway in place for further education with Sporting Futures Training and this is the next tier of that pathway that will allow those apprentices to progress to a higher education programme whilst continuing to build on their practical experience out in our community.

“This programme has seen great success elsewhere in the country with some amazing examples of what students have gone on to achieve and the Foundation is looking to replicate that success locally, to create a viable pathway for people to gain new knowledge, but it into practice in the local community and ultimately make themselves more employable.”

Prerequisites to Apply:

  • BTEC Level 3 – MPP. A Level – DD
  • Enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check
  • Three A*-C grades at GCSE, including English and maths

More details of the course can be found here.

Clubs unite for EFL Day of Action

All 72 EFL clubs and their community trusts will come together on the same day for the EFL’s Day of Action to demonstrate the positive impact football can have in changing young people’s lives.

From Plymouth to Peterborough and Sunderland to Southend, on Tuesday 20th March, EFL clubs across all three divisions will showcase the innovative and ground breaking work they do for young people in tackling some of the biggest issues in society across education, health, community inclusion and participation.

Managers and players from the EFL’s 72 clubs will be attending events up and down the country including projects that target mental health, disability and obesity.

In London, Millwall are running a mental health football tournament being held in memory of one of their players who recently died. Over 100 people are due to take part in the Dwain Inniss Cup with manager Neil Harris on hand to offer his support.

Six first team players from Bristol City will be seeing the innovative work of the club’s Youth Council, a group of young people that are making a big impact in their local area by shaping and delivering Bristol City’s community activities including girls, disability and street football. Whilst neighbours Bristol Rovers are inviting their 16-18 year old disability squad to join the first team for a training session lead by manager Darrell Clarke, followed by lunch with the first team squad.

In Yorkshire, Doncaster Rovers have committed to a whole day of activity, including a special appearance from midfielder Matty Blair, who has fronted the club’s efforts to raise awareness of mental health by drawing on his own personal experiences after the loss of his brother Ross to cancer in August 2017.

In the Midlands, Derby County will be celebrating the success of their cancer recovery programme over the past twelve months, with appearances from former Birmingham City striker Geoff Horsfield and Celtic and Aston Villa midfielder Stylian Petrov, who themselves have been affected by the illness.

There is plenty of activity being held by League Two clubs, with Cambridge United showcasing their Enterprise Project, an innovative new programme designed to help secondary school students develop their entrepreneurial and employability skills. School children in Lincoln will be running the Sport Relief Mile around the pitch at Cecil Park alongside players from the Club to raise money for the charity.

EFL Chairman, Ian Lenagan said:

“Football continues to support its communities seven days a week, 365 days a year through our unique network of Club community trusts.

“Bringing all 72 together on one day for the EFL Day of Action highlights the special role the EFL has in society and our collective ability to make a positive and lasting impact to the lives of millions of people.

“It is fantastic to see so many managers and players across England and Wales coming out in support of the excellent work being undertaken by their own Club right in the heart of their own community.

“There are few sporting organisations that can deliver the scale of innovative and ground breaking activity we do via our network of Clubs across so many important areas, including inclusion, charitable causes, community engagement, education or health.”

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/

USW: A once reluctant Foundation Degree student speaks of endless opportunities

Chanelle McManus, a USW (University of South Wales) Foundation Degree student at Preston North End, discusses the benefits of the education programme and how it’s opened new opportunities to her.

Known as ‘Nel’, the PNE student is a familiar face when Preston North End are out in the community; she is a regular deliverer of a variety of sessions – to providing national curriculum PE lessons in schools to primary school children, to overseeing walking football sessions to the over 50s, and it’s the natural variation and diversity of the job that saw Nel catch the ‘coaching bug’.

“I originally wasn’t going to carry on with education, just look to work my way through working as a casual coach,” said Nel.

“But having heard about the degree and how different it is to other courses with more practical modules, I decided to put myself forward. I’m obviously reaping the benefits now as I’ll hopefully have an extra qualification whilst doing the work in schools I would have been doing anyway.’’

The Foundation Degree that Nel fulfils, ‘Community Football Coaching and Development’ is delivered alongside the University of South Wales in partnership with the EFL Trust.

On the course, students like Nel are predominantly based at the football club’s facilities but will also attend a yearly residential at USW.

The course focuses on all aspects of children’s and youth coaching, football coaching, football development, social inclusion and sports management skills, allowing the student to study all sub-disciplines of coaching and football development.

The two-year course welcomes those who have completed the Level Three programme, as well as those who studied elsewhere such as a BTEC level three or three A Levels.

“Every day is different,” said Nel on working with the Preston North End Community and Education Trust.

“I’ve just come back from a school now and I had 20 kids in the entire school and I’ve never done that before, and later on I will go into a bigger school with more challenging children – every day is different.

“You can work in all sorts here; I do a nursery on a Wednesday then I’ll do walking football on a Friday so I’m literally involved in everything.

“I’ve always played football; I played for Preston North End WJFC up until open age so I’ve always played but it was when I did my work experience with Mel (Brown, Inclusion Manager) in high school where I got the bug for coaching.

“Now, I actually prefer coaching and developing players then playing it myself and I’ve actually given up playing now to concentrate on coaching as I didn’t have the time to do both.”

Nel’s roots of working in the community stem from working with Mel at an early age, but it was working with the Preston North End Community and Education Trust that saw her find out about the education opportunities that Preston North End provides to post-16 students.

She added: “I’ve enjoyed it after my first year so far. It’s very independent which is what I like as I like to go away and do it all in my own time and base it around my practical work.

“I’d certainly recommend the course but you’ve got to be committed and have a love of football to make the most of it.

“Because the course is independent, it’s easy for students to come onto the course and just not bother and not take the wonderful opportunities on offer, so you have to be committed.

“I make sure I go out of my way to take advantage of all the experience offered here. I do the walking football, I don’t need to do that but I took it upon myself to do that so I think you should just go for it and take advantage of the opportunities available.”

Nel is now looking at progressing from a casual coach into a full-time role at PNE or a similar capacity at another football club, a typical exit route that the degree provides.

“Hopefully there will be an opening here, told Nel – “Just so that I can continue working here, but in a full-time capacity and just keep doing what I’m doing. I love what I’m doing now, but I want to do it full-time eventually.

“I’ve always been a PNE fan so that’s always been a bonus. I’ve been given the opportunity to work match days and I’ve met the players and the manager whilst doing the birthday parties so that’s always a bonus for me.”

To find out more about Preston North End Community and Education Trust visit: https://www.pnefc.net/PNECET/

To find out more about the USW ‘Community Football Coaching and Development’ course visit: http://www.efltrust.com/communityfootballdegree/

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