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EFL Awards

EFL celebrates 2021 Community Award winners

14 April 2021

Six EFL Clubs have today been recognised as the regional winners of the Your Move Community Club of the Year as part of the EFL’s Day of Action.

The ongoing work of EFL Clubs highlights the power of football as a force for good in a year when communities have needed them most. During the pandemic EFL Clubs have provided critical support to the communities they serve, from delivering important food parcels to those most at risk to helping people who are isolated and suffering from loneliness.

The six winners have been chosen for the outstanding impact they continue to have in changing people’s lives for the better across a wide range of areas including: physical and mental wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, employability and tackling loneliness. 

2021 Your Move Community Clubs of the Year:

North East & Yorkshire – Sunderland AFC

North West – Blackburn Rovers

Midlands – Port Vale

London – Watford

South East & East – Portsmouth

South West & Wales – Bristol Rovers

In addition, the divisional winners of the 2021 PFA Players in the Community have also been announced.  The award recognises the positive impact players can have ‘off the pitch’ and is given to those that go above and beyond what would normally be expected, either due to the breadth of involvement or for the depth of support for one particular project.

 

2021 PFA Player in the Community divisional winners:

Championship – Will Vaulks, Cardiff City

League One – Alex Rodman, Bristol Rovers

League Two – Matty Dolan, Newport County

The six Clubs and three players will receive their awards at a special virtual EFL Community Awards event on Wednesday 28 April.  The overall winner of both awards will be announced at the EFL Awards, broadcast live on Sky Sports Football on Thursday 29 April at 7.30pm.

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Further Information:

North East & Yorkshire – Sunderland AFC

Sunderland’s official charity has focused on bringing together its community with local fundraising, a key focus to support the Covid response and rebuild the community based on the impact of the pandemic. In the run up to their Wembley Papa John’s Trophy Final, a special initiative raised over £170,000 for local charities. The judges were also impressed with the Club’s unique work through projects in partnership with the NHS and their focus on men’s mental health through the #BeAGameChanger campaign.

North West – Blackburn Rovers

Despite the challenges of the year, Blackburn Rovers managed to increase their community team workforce in order to respond and to continue to deliver over 40 projects. Projects focusing on mental health, providing positive engagement opportunities for young people and ‘Rovers Connect’, designed specifically to bring people together using technology, stood out to the judges, alongside their impact locally due to the public access testing centre, self-managed by the Club’s Community Organisation team.

Midlands – Port Vale

Port Vale’s Foundation and their response to the pandemic caught the judge’s attention due to its authenticity and their impressive ability to mobilise their community. An unbelievable 300,000 meals were delivered by the Club reducing the serious impact of recent times for those in need. Their ability to provide such widespread support alongside maintaining projects that focus closely on smaller diverse groups of individuals, such as their sport and dance youth club, was applauded by the panel of judges.

London – Watford

Watford’s position as a pillar in their community in normal times, was adapted to respond to events in the last year, including direct work supporting the NHS during the pandemic. Some 300 volunteers came together as part of the response, making calls to connect isolated members of the community. Alongside the response to the pandemic, Watford’s ‘Positive Minds’ education programme supporting Year 6 children aiming to improve their relationship with their mental health and wellbeing and work focused on employability, supporting people living with dementia, were all key to their win.

South East & East – Portsmouth

Portsmouth’s innovative ‘Blue Kitchen’ project caught the judge’s attention, given how one idea can spark a series of community activities, serving a range of ages and creating solutions to a variety of key societal issues. The ‘Blue Kitchen’ was born out of Pompey’s Covid response but has since diversified and expanded into a variety of forms to support engagement of young people in cooking and healthy lifestyles; online cookery lessons to engage care homes and fans across the country and, supporting long term unemployed adults to help them gain meaningful employment.

South West & Wales – Bristol Rovers

The judges were impressed with Bristol Rovers’ focus on providing opportunities for women and girls to develop skills and confidence in the sport. Bristol Rover’s Women’s ‘Gas Girls’, aim to break down barriers to female participation. And the involvement of many of the ‘Gas Girls’ in their ‘Tackling Loneliness’ project showed how the community has come together this year, changing individuals’ lives with the support provided.

 

Championship – Will Vaulks, Cardiff City

Vaulks’ commitment to community activities was unparalleled in terms of self-motivated volunteering and passion. Vaulks has dedicated significant personal time to people in the community and is a strong advocate of the benefits of volunteering for both charitable and mental health reasons.

League One - Alex Rodman, Bristol Rovers

Rodman is extremely passionate about education and has taken on an ambassadorial role within the Club to support current and prospective students of the Club’s charity. His connection with the students throughout the lockdown periods was outstanding and has played a key part in the successes achieved. Alex was also involved in food parcel deliveries and calls to fans in his own time, going over and above expectations.

League Two – Matty Dolan, Newport County

Matty has been a committed ambassador for the Club’s mental health programme, ‘We Wear the Same Shirt’. Matty attended virtual ‘connect and quiz’ sessions over 30 times during the past 12 months. He became known for multi-tasking to ensure he could take part in these virtual events whilst at home with his two-year old daughter during lockdown.


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