EFL Day of Action a huge successThe EFL, EFL Trust and all 72 EFL clubs demonstrated their collective influence on Tuesday 25 April by coming together to participate in the first ever EFL Community Day of Action.
Clubs across all three divisions showcased the significant positive affect they are having in their local communities 365 days a year, seven days a week, working with more than one million people in football-led community programmes and activities every season.
The Community Day of Action attracted widespread attention for the activity of EFL Club Trusts, who coordinated a variety of different projects across key areas of sport, education, health and wellbeing and community engagement.
Carlisle United showcased their Mental Health and Walking Football programmes, with the help of first team player Mike Jones, and also conducted visits to meet young fans and families around the local area.
Community coach and NCS coordinator John Sander said: "Our Mental Health and Walking Football sessions have gone from strength to strength over the last few years and it was good to be able to put the spotlight on them during the EFL Day of Action.
"Having a first team professional here gave everyone a huge lift and it helped us once to again to spread the word about some of the things we do at the club.
"Both programmes are about staying active, social inclusion and bringing people together to look after their well-being and all round health. Hopefully the day of action will have made more people aware that we are here and we are ready to get them involved as well."
QPR supporter James Casling’s inspiring story, featured on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on Tuesday morning and set the tone for highlighting the life-changing impact that clubs can achieve. James attempted to take his own life on multiple occasions after his father committed suicide, but playing football for Rangers’ mental health team gave James renewed hope and enthusiasm for life.
Elsewhere, Sky Bet League Two side Doncaster Rovers held a community takeover day with health and well-being sessions, NCS and football sessions all taking place, while Checkatrade Community Club of the Year, Portsmouth, also ran numerous sessions for their local community including a ‘Wheels for All’ session. Defender Christian Burgess was in attendance and showed his support by participating in the event.
As the day progressed, Bristol Rovers Community Trust invited their Extra Time Club, who are over the age of 60, to join first team players and the club’s management for a physical activity session and quiz. At Sky Bet Championship club Wigan Athletic, pupils in year six at St Peter’s Hindley Primary School were given an exclusive tour of the club’s training centre before first team players Matt Gilks and Craig Morgan took part in a disability football session as part of the Every Player Counts programme.
In the evening, Charlton Athletic Community Trust educated young people about knife crime at Woolwich Common Hub. The parents of Jimmy Mizen, who was stabbed and murdered in 2008 in south east London, spoke about knife crime. Charlton Athletic players Brandon Hanlan and Jordan Botaka were in attendance to share personal stories and show their support towards the club’s work to combat knife crime.
Players and managers across the 72 clubs showed their support on the day, and EFL Trust Chairman John Nixon praised all the fantastic work that happens on a daily basis by clubs in their local communities.
He said: “Our clubs engage with people from all walks of life and the EFL Community Day of Action has been a fantastic effort,” said Mr Nixon. “Football inspires people to do activities they wouldn’t normally do and all 72 clubs work hard in areas such as health, inclusion, sport and education.
“Approximately £50million is being invested every season by the EFL Trust and Club Community Trusts into these key areas and the Community Day of Action has brought everything to life.”