This time last year, six EFL Clubs were recognised as regional winners of the Community Club of the Year Award at the Houses of Parliament – below, we catch up with the six Clubs to find out how they’ve carried on their excellent work during the pandemic.
Chosen for the outstanding impact they have on the people within their communities, the six regional winners were selected for the programmes they deliver in a number of important areas, including diversity and inclusion, education and health and wellbeing… and these same Clubs have been ensuring that they are delivering vital services to their communities over the past 12 months during the pandemic.
The impact of the work of EFL Club Community Organisations across the country is unparalleled and highlights the power of football as a force for good. The 2021 Your Move Community Club of the Year winners will be announced in the coming months, here we look back at the six winners and how they’ve adapted to help their community during the last year.
North East & Yorkshire – Middlesbrough FC
Middlesbrough FC Foundation launched a new community strategy with a core principle of ‘making a difference by being different.’ Through a number of specific projects, such as RiverSideBySide and ‘The Boro Bus’ it has been able to improve community cohesion, health provisions and education in one of the most deprived areas of the country for over 35,000 people. During the pandemic, the ‘Boro Bus’ has been used in schools to support key worker children – delivering health and education activities and also to support distribution of meals to houses which are socially isolated.
North West – Wigan Athletic
Focusing on three priority areas of schools, community development and training and skills, Wigan Athletic have continued to create a stronger community in their surrounding area with delivery to over 14,000 individuals. Throughout the pandemic, Wigan Athletic have worked closely with the council to assist food distribution, clothing and medicine to vulnerable people. They continued to work with older and socially isolated people through a number of programmes and also provided 720 hours of coaching and support to vulnerable and at risk young people during the lockdown last summer.
Midlands – Derby County
Over 30,000 individuals participated in Derby County Community Trust programmes in the year prior to the pandemic - its highest number to date. Its commitment to creating meaningful experiences and working closely with a range of partners has continued throughout the pandemic including their ‘Stay Safe. Stay Fit. Stay Connected’ campaign focusing on help and support for fans and the wider community.
London – Charlton Athletic
Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) impressed the panel with its continued ability to increase engagement to over 46,000 people. In particular, their Crime Reduction Project which has significantly impacted the lives of over 2,000 young people in the area by combatting anti-social and criminal behaviour was a standout feature of their entry. CACT have been running the Royal Borough Greenwich Community Hub through the pandemic. So far, the Hub has taken over 109,000 calls and made over 120,000 outbound calls. Over 3,000 food boxes and emergency food packages have been delivered and over 2,400 prescriptions have been collected. Recently, CACT have also been delivering lateral flow testing within the community, with the Trust responsible for the co-ordination, management and delivery of two testing sites in Greenwich where many thousands of tests have been conducted so far. Their work to support their community has been personally commended by Sadiq Khan.
South East – Crawley Town
Crawley Town was recognised for its innovative approach to projects and their ability to continually improve programmes and services, particularly within its National Citizen Service delivery. Despite being a smaller club in terms of annual turnover than our other winners, Crawley have been able to introduce key projects such as the Crawley Old Girls and the EFL Trust’s ‘Extra Time Hubs’. During the pandemic their Extra Time Hubs group have been engaged with virtual activities, meals have been provided for NHS staff and a focus has been placed on young people’s education and support.
South West & Wales – Cardiff City
Last year, the judges were impressed with Cardiff City FC Community Foundation’s continued commitment to providing an inclusive environment for participation across all areas of their work. Cardiff City has supported their community throughout the pandemic and are committed to delivering a future for Wales where children and young people can achieve their full potential despite the impact of the pandemic. They are committed to continuing to use the power of football to tackle the impact of inequality by creating opportunities for young people to lead healthier, more active lives, providing life-changing education opportunities and building safer communities. They recently held a ‘Bluebirds from Home’ learning festival, a week-long virtual festival supporting children's wellbeing and learning through daily fitness activities and football-themed English and Maths lessons.
This year, as part of acknowledging the outstanding support of EFL Clubs in their communities, six regional winners will be selected and celebrated in the coming months. An overall winner of the Your Move Community Club of the Year Award 2021 will be announced at the EFL Awards event towards the end of the season.
Louise Hudson, Your Move’s Marketing Director commented: “Our sponsorship of the Community Club of the Year is an important part of our partnership with the EFL, confirming our true commitment to local communities and the importance we place on our role as EFL’s Official Communities Supporter.
"Our teams are already fully engaged in supporting the local communities with the launch of our Your Club Your Kit competition, which provides the opportunity for them to directly support local grassroots teams. We’re really pleased that our sponsorship of the Community Club of the Year will add to this as we support the important and impactful work of EFL Clubs in the community - we simply can’t wait to see the entries that come in.”
To find out more about Your Move’s Your Club Your Kit competition go to: www.your-move.co.uk/kit