Today, it was announced that all 72 EFL Clubs have been recognised for their collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic by being named as the recipients of the You Gov Community Project of the Year Award at the 2021 EFL Community Awards.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, shutting down all aspects of society, including bringing football and all elite sport to a halt for the first time since the outbreak of the Second World War, Clubs came together as a force for good and were among the first to respond to the needs of local communities across England and Wales.
Clubs and their Club Community Organisations (CCOs) – including Wycombe Wanderers and us here at the Wycombe Wanderers Sports & Education Trust – adapted their outreach programmes in line with Government guidance and restrictions, to ensure the safe continuation of their incredible work. Its work has provided a lifeline for so many, helping to keep people healthy, active and connected since the outbreak of coronavirus.
From Cardiff to Carlisle and Bristol to Blackpool, Clubs and CCOs continued to provide vital support to some of the country’s most vulnerable people.
Wanderers teamed up with the One Can Trust foodbank to provide support in a number of ways, including an online fundraiser which was kicked off by manager Gareth Ainsworth, who later became an ambassador for the charity. Director Trevor Stroud and chaplain Benedict Musola also lent their help with a number of regular food drops to local families in crisis, including a shipment from the Football For Peace movement which sought to deliver parcels from Wembley Stadium to a wide range of communities. The club also provided more than 500 hot meals for those less fortunate during the October half-term, with first-team stars David Wheeler and Daryl Horgan lending a hand to chef Will Shaw in the kitchen, dishing out food to a number of organisations that help vulnerable people across High Wycombe.
This award is a testament to the fantastic work the network has done in responding to the needs of their communities during the global pandemic. Over the past year EFL clubs and community schemes have:
– Delivered over 1.4million food parcels
– Made and received over 500,000 phone calls to elderly and vulnerable people, as well as their season ticket holders
– Donated over 2,000 laptops to local schools
– Distributed almost 200,000 items of PPE
– Footballers signed up to volunteer for the NHS
– Weekly garden gate visits to the most vulnerable and lonely
This award showcases the collective and individual responses made to the challenges of the pandemic and demonstrates the fantastic work the network has done in responding to the needs of their communities during what has been an incredibly difficult period for everyone.