Across the EFL today all of its member clubs are celebrating the EFL Day of Action for 2021.
Throughout the Day of Action, all 72 clubs are highlighting the great work they have been doing in the community including food bank deliveries, projects to tackle loneliness and mental health, support programmes for refugees and asylum seekers, initiatives for children living in poverty, and disability sports sessions.
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.
The Cheltenham Town Community Trust work alongside the club to support the local community providing education for young people, coaching and activity sessions for children in and out of school, mental health support, disability football, food bank donations and much more.
At the club in the past 12 months over £10,000 has been raised with the help of supporters, teaming up with Gloucester Rugby, for the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Players have also participated in community activities both online and in person, the Academy have supported the All Saints' Academy food bank, highlighted issues around mental health, made phone calls to season ticket holders during lockdowns and supported local people and the club's fans in a number of other ways too.
Rick Parry, Chair of the EFL, said: “The way that our Clubs and CCOs have adapted to deal with the challenges of the past year is remarkable, responding to the growing needs of their communities affected by the pandemic while also continuing to deliver critical life-changing programmes in towns and cities across England and Wales to people who need it most.
“The EFL Day of Action gives us a platform to step back and take the time to acknowledge the hard work that our Clubs are doing in their communities every day of the year.
“Community work delivered by football Clubs is without a doubt one of the key mechanisms in helping to address important societal issues with the aim of building stronger, healthier, active, more cohesive communities.
“It’s great to see all 72 EFL Clubs, players, managers, staff and participants come together to highlight the power of football in uniting people and working for the greater good.”