EFL DEMONSTRATES THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOTBALL’S COMMUNITY WORK DURING 2021 DAY OF ACTION
On Wednesday, the English Football League (EFL) marked its fifth Day of Action, where all 72 Clubs from its three divisions came together to demonstrate the impact that football has in positively changing people’s lives.
Throughout the Day of Action, Club players and managers joined participants in a range of community activities. Blackpool FC Captain, Chris Maxwell, joined the Community Trust’s Team Talk session on Wednesday evening. Team Talk is a weekly session that encourages fans to stay connected by discussing the game with others. Louise, Health Officer (Community) for Blackpool FC Community Trust said, “We had a wonderful evening in the Ladies Team Talk group. Thank you to Club Captain, Chris Maxwell, who gave a really good insight through the Q&A session into his personal life and background as a professional athlete and club captain.
“Chris talked about the responsibilities of being keeper and captain of the team, holding a senior position in the dressing room and how he’s taken his experiences from his own playing career and the staff he’s played under to shape how he is as a footballer. He also touched on other subjects including, how important it is to have self-belief, how he is working towards a degree in business management and how he hopes to complete a masters to plan for his own future career after football.”
Despite the financial and logistical challenges that EFL Clubs have faced during the last 12 months, community work has remained at the heart of football, with Clubs and Club Community Organisations (CCOs) continuing to provide vital support to some of the most vulnerable people living in England and Wales. The importance of football Clubs to their local communities has never been clearer than in the last year, with millions of people across the nation relying on their local Club for food donations, mental health and wellbeing support and even transport to and from Covid-19 testing and vaccination sites.
Since March 2020, EFL Clubs have collectively distributed over 1.4 million food parcels, more than 179,000 items of PPE, 22,000 prescriptions and donated over 2,100 laptops and tablets to people facing technology poverty. Club staff and their players have had in excess of 527,000 outgoing and incoming conversations with fans and vulnerable people, and over 600 job opportunities are being delivered for young unemployed people. There is a real need for Clubs to bounce back from the financial implications of the pandemic in order to sustain the delivery of these life-changing community programmes. Using the power of football, the EFL is able to engage some of the most vulnerable members of society to address important issues in the areas of equalities, diversity and inclusion, education, employment and health and wellbeing.
Every season, EFL Clubs and CCOs provide more than half a million hours of group activity and over 40 million hours of participation.
On Wednesday, Nathan, Community Health Officer, and Alan, who benefits from our sessions, in particular the Tackling Loneliness Together programme, joined Colin Murray on BBC Radio 5 Live. During the interview Alan said, “If it hadn’t been for Nathan, I don’t think I would have survived. He’s been absolutely brilliant. Personally, I’ve gone from sub-zero to 5 or 8 on the happiness scale. It’s been brilliant.”
You can hear the full interview here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000v34p our section begins about 35minutes in.