It has been another fantastic year for the EFL in the area of community and inclusion, with the EFL’s work coming to the fore once again.
The year 2018 was the 10th anniversary of the EFL Trust, and the milestone was marked by a significant achievement: our 100 millionth pound was invested into EFL Communities, highlighting the power of sport in positively affecting lives around the country.
The popular National Citizen Service (NCS) programme - a key area of the Trust's work - remains the country’s fastest-growing youth movement, and allows young people a chance to explore, be inspired and find their passion.
Having delivered NCS since the pilots in 2011, EFL Trust have had over 50,000 young people complete the programme, with over 10,000 completing with the help of the charity in 2018.
In addition, over 20,000 primary school children took part in this year's EFL Kids and Girls Cup, with the finalists given the opportunity to play during the Checkatrade Trophy final and Play-Offs weekend at Wembley.
EFL Day of Action
A standout community event on the EFL calendar arrived on 19 March, when all 72 EFL Clubs came together for the EFL's Day of Action, which presented a new and unique opportunity to simultaneously raise awareness of the impact football has by creating a national platform to highlight community work.
More than one million people are now participating in EFL Club-led community programmes and activities every season and approximately £50 million is being invested every season by EFL Trust and Club Community Trusts into key areas, including sport, education, health and community engagement programmes.
To raise awareness, managers and players attended events up and down the country including projects that target mental health, disability and obesity.
The day was a massive hit, with widespread media coverage, as well as #EFLDayofAction consistently trending on Twitter.
World Mental Health Day
On Wednesday 10 October, as part of World Mental Health Day, EFL footballers turned heads at King's Cross Station as part of a live exhibit highlighting the role that the EFL and Mind are playing in helping to tackle mental health problems.
Highlighting the statistic that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year, James Shea (Luton Town), Deji Oshilaja (AFC Wimbledon), Luke Prosser (Colchester Utd) and Darius Charles (Wycombe Wanderers) took part in a special “Live Exhibit” to raise awareness around the EFL’s partnership with Mind.
As part of the new two-year link-up, the 2018/19 season introduced, for the first-ever time in English football, a new lettering design which incorporates the charity’s logo into the player name on the back of every EFL shirt across all 72 Clubs in the Sky Bet Championship, Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two.
The squiggle part of Mind’s logo was, and continues to be, joined into the first letter of the player name – with the player’s name replacing the word Mind – in a unique design to celebrate the partnership and raise awareness.
Using #OnYourSide to raise awareness through social media, EFL and Mind reached more than 6.3 million accounts on Twitter, with Swansea City, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City among the top five contributors.
The partnership focuses on: raising awareness about mental health with fans, Clubs and staff, raising funds to deliver life-changing support, and improving the approach to mental health in the EFL, in football and in wider society.
The EFL and its member Clubs continue to embrace the LGBT community throughout the matchday experience, with Stonewall's rainbow laces campaign at the forefront again in 2018.
Between 24 November and 1 December, EFL Clubs across the country united in their support of LGBT inclusivity by turning their substitution boards and corner flags rainbow-coloured to raise awareness.
All Clubs selected a fixture to highlight their continued support for LGBT fans, players and staff across the game with rainbow captain’s armbands, laces and programme adverts also being provided to Clubs.