In the build-up to the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final weekend, there was a focus on some of the best community work in the EFL. The EFL Trust is the charitable arm of the EFL and was established in 2008 to oversee the work of EFL’s club community organisations (CCOs). It is responsible for distributing core funding from the Premier League and The PFA to each CCO and highlights community work done by clubs across the country. Ahead of the Play-Off Final, work done by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust was looked at by the EFL Trust.
The focus was on the Trust's Young Carers project. 15-year-old Eshaal Khan, who cares for her sister who has complex special needs, is one of 314 young people supported by Brentford FC Community Trust Young Carers project. The project provides young carers with respite activity, the opportunity to meet other carers; attend homework workshops, youth clubs and provides support to find employment.
Eshaal said: “Life was quite difficult and overwhelming for me. I did not have a chance to stop and relax as I was constantly on my feet. I couldn’t make friends as I felt they wouldn’t understand my situation. I thought I was on my own and not able to have a break.”
Since joining the project, Eshaal has been a regular. She has attended youth clubs and workshops. She made new friends but also accessed a support mechanism that has proven invaluable to her.
She said: “I was able to become more confident in myself and realised that there are lots of other young carers like me. I relaxed and enjoyed myself in the workshops and youth groups. It made me forget my responsibilities, even just for an hour or so. It was respite for me to unwind and have some time to myself.”
Project Manager Kathryn Sobczak, a former carer herself, said: “The families we help find it unusual that we come from a charity connected with a football club. They always ask about that…. we explain that Brentford do a lot more than football, providing a range of social and welfare services. The football connection helps, a lot of families know the club and the young people are keen to engage with it.”
The full story can be seen on the EFL Trust website here.