The PFA's 2015/16 Community Evaluation report highlights the positive influence professional footballers had during the season.In 2016 the PFA celebrated 30 years of its community programme which brings communities and football clubs together.
Since 1986 the PFA have been committed to raising the profile and awareness of the extensive work and participation of players in support of community and charitable activities.
Community involvement extends across many areas such as: health, education, social inclusion, and equalities, underlining our commitment to make a positive difference in society.
Throughout the 2015/16 season PFA members amassed 38,957 community visits supporting a wide variety of projects around the country.
Looking back on the year, the PFA’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility John Hudson said: “With just under 40,000 Community player appearances for the fourth year in succession, our work is extensive but far from over.
“A new capability status criteria has been implemented at all clubs providing opportunities to develop the player’s passions and improve relationships within the communities.
“It also ensures more inspirational ambassadors are established, provides a culture of action and social change, whilst it also implements a philosophy built around values and respect.”
The PFA also provides support for charities such as the Football League Trust, Football Foundation, The Prince’s Trust, The National Literacy Trust, Kick it Out and Show Racism the Red Card.
Each of the 92 professional football clubs in the country select a player every year as a community champion, recognising their efforts in supporting the club’s charity partners and community events.
In addition, 72 football clubs nominated their respective community champions for the top community award which was won by Middlesbrough’s George Friend.
PFA Management Committee member, Friend said he was “incredibly proud and honoured” to receive the award and hailed Teesside’s community spirit as an inspiration for his commitment to giving back to fans and local people. He has earned a reputation for going the extra mile to support charities as a Middlesbrough FC Foundation ambassador and is also involved in a number of social inclusion projects.
He follows a strong list of previous winners including; Graham Murty, Zesh Rehman, Darren Moore, Inigo Calderon, Tamika Mkandawire, Reda Johnson and Danny Shittu who have all made outstanding contributions to supporting community initiatives.
Over the past 12 months the PFA has continued to work closely with players to support the work and contributions made through their own Foundations. The James Milner Foundation, The Zesh Rehman Foundation and The 23 Foundation are just some of the charities set up by professional footballers to support and raise awareness for the player’s chosen cause.
For more information on your club’s community champion and a review of the PFA’s work in the 2015/2016 season: https://www.thepfa.com/magazines/communityevaluation16/index.html