Brentford Football Club and its Community Sports Trust will today join the rest of the EFL in highlighting the positive impact football has in changing people’s lives.
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.
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. Every season, EFL Clubs and CCOs provide more than half a million hours of group activity and over 40 million hours of participation.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on charities up and down the country and Brentford FC CST is no exception. With restrictions keeping much of the population housebound for the last year, the Trust’s #BeeAtHome campaign has encouraged children and adults to remain active from the safety of their own homes. Since April 2020, the Trust has engaged with more than 12,000 young people and adults through a wide range of sports and community programmes. The Trust have been streaming live fitness, yoga and Pilates sessions throughout the pandemic, along with delivering engaging educational content, including weekly Maths and English challenges.
Launched in January 2021, the #BeeInTheTeam campaign engaged with over 5,000 participants from all walks of life, with more than 550 participants engaging from areas outside the Trust’s areas of work. Brentford midfield player Christian Nørgaard and forward Tariqe Fosu, along with Brentford Women’s FC player Rabia Azam, are among those to have shared their knowledge with participants mostly aged between 8-19 years old during a weekly webinar programme. Tom Perryman, from the Club's Strength and Conditioning team, has also done a session, as have referees Akil Howson and Rebecca Welch. Rebecca recently made history by becoming the first female referee to be appointed to an EFL game.
Donald Kerr, Brentford FC Vice-Chairman and a Trustee of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and the English Football League Trust, said: “The Day of Action is a high point for the EFL – it’s a great opportunity to show how football clubs interact with their local communities – but it’s a bit double-edged! This is a day in the sun for football clubs and their charities, but there’s another 364 days each year that see a large number of coaches, often invisibly to the general public, doing fantastic work within our local communities. We’ve got to remember that this work happens every day, not just this day!
“The pandemic has had a dramatic affect on charities. This time last year, we immediately looked at how we could deliver as much as possible digitally rather than through physical contact. Lockdown has seen clubs and their charitable arms swing into action to ensure vulnerable people are looked after.
“It’s a hugely exciting time for both Brentford Football Club and the Trust. The new stadium is a fantastic facility and the Trust will be moving to new offices adjacent to the stadium in the near future. Some of the Trust’s staff have now moved into the new Sports Hub at Gunnersbury Park, which is particularly exciting as we’ve never had a base with sports facilities attached. Now we’ve got all-weather pitches and an indoor sports hall. Anyone who’s walking through Gunnersbury over the coming weeks will see all sorts of activities going on there.”
To hear more from Donald about the EFL Day of Action and the work done by Brentford FC CST, watch the video above.