The English Football League (EFL), EFL Trust and League Football Education (LFE) opened the doors at EFL House in Preston last week to host two Christmas events for people living in the local community, giving something back to those less fortunate at this time of year.
Service users of the Preston-based charity, the Foxton Centre, attended a Christmas dinner served by staff of the EFL. For more than 10 years, the EFL and its staff have been supporting the Foxton Centre with food and toiletry donations. The Foxton Centre has been providing support, safety and resources for homeless and vulnerable people in the city for 53 years.
Jeff Marsh, CEO of the Foxton Centre, said: “It’s really difficult for people at the moment, particularly with this very cold weather, so for the EFL to invite our service users in for a hot Christmas lunch in a warm, safe space to have a chat delivers a kind of human warmth that goes a long way.
“We’ve been doing this event with the EFL for many years now - it’s such an uplift for the people who use the Foxton Centre to have a bit of fun at this time of year.”
After the Christmas lunch, the EFL later hosted a Christmas party for children supported by the Club Community Organisation (CCOs) teams at Preston North End and Blackpool FC. The children, aged between 5-7, took part in a variety of games, Christmas buffet and a special visit from Santa who handed out presents.
EFL Clubs, including Blackpool and Preston North End, through their Club Charitable Organisations (CCOs) work with thousands of primary schools across the country, using the power of sport and appeal of the Club badge to help children learn in innovative ways, teaching a diverse range of subjects that go way beyond sport.
Olivia Parkinson, School Provision Co-Ordinator at Preston North End Community and Education Trust, said: “Christmas is a special time of the year, especially for children and we love working with local-based organisations like the EFL and the schools to create enjoyable opportunities for them. The young people have thoroughly enjoyed the EFL party and have all left with smiles on their faces after seeing Father Christmas and having a dance.”
Sean Hall, Holiday Activities & Food Programme (HAF) Manager at Blackpool FC Community Trust, said: “We pride ourselves on being at the heart of our community and providing opportunities for the schools we work with. The party at EFL House was a fun and memorable event for the children and something we were delighted to be part of.”
Mark Rowan, Communications Director, EFL, said: “It means a great deal for the EFL to welcome so many people from the local community into EFL House and hopefully brighten up their day.
“It’s important to be able to come together collectively as a community and give something back to those less fortunate at this time of year.
“It’s thanks to the dedication of charities like the Foxton Centre and the community work delivered by our Clubs including Preston North End and Blackpool that help to ensure thousands of people across the region won’t go hungry or face loneliness this Christmas."