A campaign by Hull City to scrub and re-use football boots is just one example of the variety and breadth of the EFL’s Week of Action, says EFL Trust Chair Liam Scully.
On a visit to Hull earlier in the week, where volunteers of all ages came together to take part in a boot cleaning activity, Scully highlighted how the campaign has evolved over the years, culminating in a first-ever Week of Action.
“The big success story for the EFL Trust and the network over the last 10 or 15 years is that this has really developed and grown,” he said. “The breadth and depth of the work that goes on within the EFL and the EFL Trust and the network is incredible.
“We know this goes on week in, week out, but what the Week of Action really does is to shine a light and elevate it and to show on a grander scale exactly what goes on within the communities through the Football Clubs and the community organisations.”
Scully has witnessed the impact that Football Clubs can have on their local towns and cities, having previously served as the CEO of Doncaster Rovers Community Trust, before taking up a role at Lincoln City.
He emphasised how EFL Clubs can go above and beyond to serve the needs of local people, away from what goes on in the space of 90 minutes on a matchday.
“The EFL and the pyramid is ultimately 72 Clubs and 72 communities,” he said. “They’re the absolute cornerstone of the community. I just look at my time and my role in my day job at Lincoln. The Football Club is absolutely everything to everybody in the city.
“I owe my livelihood to this side of the game. It’s an incredible education I’ve had since the year 2000 when I came into this side of the game. I’m fortunate to have seen it grow to where it’s come to and where it is now.
“We don’t just want to use the Football Club to make sure that we provide entertainment and a great spectacle on a Saturday afternoon but equally, we use the vehicle and the social reach to drive change and to make sure we’re good citizens having a lasting social impact.”
Tigers players Matt Ingram and Richie Smallwood also came along to the Tigers Trust Arena to help get unwanted football boots donated by the local community in shipshape to distribute to those less fortunate and without the kit to take part in the sport.
For Scully, who was impressed by the programme at Hull City, the East Yorkshire team is one example of EFL Clubs coming together to benefit the local community, and there’s a variety of ways that they can do so.
“The project that we have in Hull was a very, on the scale of things, simple one; it’s the fact there wasn’t enough footwear, and it was a barrier to participation,” he noted. “Participants have mobilised, got together and found a really creative and innovative solution. That’s the real power – it’s delivered by the community for the community.
“You go from everything from the boot room that you see at Hull then I know at Lincoln City we had English as an additional language and lessons that are going on there. There’s walking football and education right across to NCS and other matters.
“The fundamental thing is this is local solutions for local challenges; that’s what’s important about this, it’s not one size fits all. It’s about Football Clubs and community organisations getting right to the heart of their community.”