BURTON Albion and Burton Albion Community Trust are once again joining forces with EFL clubs, Trusts and the league itself to highlight and celebrate the impact that football has in positively changing people’s lives on EFL Day of Action.
This last year, more than any other, has shown the importance of taking care of your community and working to make a positive difference within it.
That community work is very much part of the DNA here at Burton Albion, which is why the club and Community Trust are proud to take part in the Day of Action.
And several members of the Burton Albion first team have taken part in a variety of Community Trust programmes over the last week to help support the Trust and EFL Day of Action, as the Trust in turn supports our community throughout the age groups.
Firstly, members of the Community Trust’s Soccer Schools programme were given a special treat as they watched the Brewers first team training on the Pirelli Stadium pitch.
First team players Jevan Anderson, Amber Denny, Ben Fox, Em Gillott and Charlotte Heggs then joined the Soccer Schools participants on the 3G pitch at the Community Football Centre to take part in a session, working with young fans on football skills and taking part in drills and games.
Defender Owen Gallacher and forward Tom Hewlett made a series of wellbeing calls to Burton Albion Academy players over Zoom, checking in with the young players, answering questions and offering advice to the footballers in our youth system, with Hall of Famer Aaron Webster also taking part.
Striker Mike Fondop has also been involved, visiting two households of Burton Albion fans from the EFL Extra Time hub and having socially-distant conversations with them as part of the campaign to check-in on people to help combat loneliness.
Tackling loneliness has been a key part of several BACT programmes – including the weekly Team Talk sessions, which were launched by the EFL and its charity partner MIND earlier this year.
All of this work has been going on throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with Burton Albion Community Trust’s dedicated volunteers and staff ensuring that those in our community who have needed support, from care packages to just a simple chat and a catch-up, have been able to get it.
BACT volunteers have also worked closely with the NHS as part of our support for the health service’s COVID response - from volunteering in the NHS’s vaccination centre at the Pirelli Stadium to receiving training and administering lateral flow testing.
“We’re very grateful to the players who have taken part in BACT initiatives over the last week and throughout the last year, at a time when community support is really needed,” said Head of Community Matt Hancock.
“The youngsters at our Soccer Schools session really enjoyed engaging with the first team, and our Extra Time members loved speaking to Mike as part of his surprise visit.
“It is a pleasure to support EFL Day of Action, this year more than ever, as we highlights the importance of the work that football clubs and their Community Trusts do within their community.”
“We have always said that community is at the heart of everything we do at Burton Albion and at no time has that been more important than this last 13 months,” said Club Chairman Ben Robinson.
“It has been such a tough year for everybody and we will always do all we can as a club and a Community Trust can do to help support those who need it.
“We’re delighted that we have been able to engage with so many people through our brilliant staff and volunteers within the club and Community Trust, as well as support our NHS and the incredible work they have done through this pandemic, and we will continue to do so.”
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.”