The EFL has today launched ‘Together – Supporting Communities’, an initiative to support the communities and fans of the 72 League Clubs during the cost-of-living crisis.
The scheme will see EFL Clubs provide community services and matchday offers to help people in challenging economic times and will contribute towards the Government’s ‘Help for Households’ initiative.
In rapid response, EFL Clubs and their respective Club Community Organisations (CCOs) have already rolled out a variety of support to those hit the hardest, with foodbanks, clothing donations and even ‘heat hubs’ for members of disadvantaged communities in England and Wales.
EFL Club examples
- Bradford City – launching ‘City Hub’ food bank in January 2023, to support families with weekly food packages
- Bristol City – offering discounted tickets for selected fixtures in January and February
- Cambridge United – ‘Forever United Café’ runs twice a week and is a warm and welcoming space for people to attend
- Ipswich Town – ‘FIND a Warmer Community’ the Club will be collecting donations of warm clothing for others to use in the community
- Leyton Orient – ‘Kids for a Quid’ and ‘Football for a Fiver’ in December at selected fixtures
- Middlesbrough - ‘Warm Welcome Project’ open to all ages, inviting individuals into the Stadium for a hot drink, warm room, free Wi-Fi and a chance to chat
- Millwall – weekly coffee mornings, Lions Food Hub, discounted after school and holidays clubs and the ‘donate a coat’ scheme
- MK Dons – Season Ticket holders can bring a friend for free at a selected fixture in January
- Rochdale foodbank service and debt advice support on board its ‘One Stop Bus’
- Rotherham United – Every Miller Matters, the Club will offer warm spaces and support for families and individuals this winter. Running 3 days a week and open to anyone wanting to come to stay warm, charge their electronics and have a warm cup of coffee/bowl of soup.
EFL partners eBay, Lifebuoy and Papa Johns will also be joining the initiative, by providing ticketing and food offers for the rest of the season.
eBay will be using its partnership with the EFL to allow supporters and people in the local community, who may not usually be able to attend EFL fixtures, to do so through the provision of match day tickets, further showcasing a commitment and drive to bring communities, and EFL clubs within them together.
Lifebuoy will also provide tickets to EFL matches, specifically targeting families in need.
Papa Johns is offering all EFL ticket holders 50% off pizza through their Show Us Your Ticket campaign. This season-long campaign aims to boost fans’ matchday experience and reward their loyalty during the cost-of-living crisis.
EFL Chief Executive, Trevor Birch, said: “Providing a warm stadium for a coffee morning, a regular food bank or clothing collections, ‘Together – Supporting Communities’ will offer real tangible help for those people hit hardest by the cost-of-living crisis within our communities.
“While EFL Clubs support people all year round, we recognise that now more than ever we should come together and maximise the power of our network to support people who are struggling.”
Millwall midfielder and the 2022 EFL Championship Player in the Community, Billy Mitchell, said: “Having grown up in the area, I’ve experienced first-hand the outstanding community work delivered by the Club and the ongoing commitment it has to supporting local residents during these challenging times.
“I’m really passionate about the work Millwall does and as part of this initiative the Club will be running a number of projects including a Food Hub, discounted after school and holiday clubs as well as our weekly drop in coffee morning.”
Sports Minister, Stuart Andrew, said: “Football clubs are the heart and soul of their communities and this new initiative with the EFL shows the true value of these community assets.
"Clubs are nothing without their fans and in difficult times it is great to see clubs reaching out to help their followers with so much support.
“The government is helping people struggling this winter with our Help for Households programme and I warmly welcome the Together - Supporting Communities scheme which will provide another vital lifeline."