Monday 12th March saw Derby County recognised and celebrated in Parliament for their outstanding community work having been named Midlands Checkatrade Community Club of the Year as part of the 2018 EFL Awards.

Following the exceptional work of the Derby County Community Trust, the Club were joined by the five other EFL regional winners at the House of Commons to receive their awards with EFL Chairman Ian Lenagan, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch and host Colin Murray present.

Derby County Community Trust impressed the judges with the Rams in Kenya project, an international scheme to help aid education, development and sustainability for hundreds of children at St Trizah, Ungana and Jubilee schools in Nakuru, Kenya.

Over the past six years close to 300 volunteers have travelled to the East-African country to support five schools in some of the most impoverished areas.

The beauty of Rams in Kenya is that it also helps projects back in Derby, with a portion of funds going towards the Derby County Community Trust’s disability programme - over £40,000 has been raised since 2011.

The day at the House of Commons gave Community Manager Paul Newman and Rams in Kenya volunteer Lauren Richards the chance to speak about the difference the project has made in front of the packed-out room.

On the day, Paul Newman said: “Rams in Kenya has been running for seven years now with volunteers ranging from 12 to 77 and we’re now embedded in many local schools, the college and the university to increase the variance and skills of volunteers heading out there.

“It’s such an eye-opener every time we go and it’s so refreshing and rewarding, we always say you receive far more than you give when you go over there.”

Volunteer Lauren Richards added: “The children we work with give you everything and don’t expect anything in return. We strive to support and help them through their education, keep them in school and keep them going to give them hope for the future.

“A few years ago Derby County Community Trust helped to provide sanitary towels to the older girls. I think as females we often take it for granted the resource we have for those situations to enable to go to work or school. They would sometimes have a week off school because they had no way to deal with it themselves. They were so happy that we could help and it was amazing to experience that.”

Chairman of the EFL, Ian Lenagan added: “It is a fitting environment for recognising excellence and to celebrate the outstanding work and impact that EFL clubs and their Trusts make on a daily basis, seven days a week, 365 days a year in communities nationwide.

“Football clubs have a special role in society, with a unique ability to make a positive impact on the lives of millions of supporters in so many ways.

“There is no other outlet or collective that can deliver the scale of activity we see from our network of clubs across so many important areas – whether it’s innovative and ground-breaking work across inclusion, charitable causes, community engagement, education and health – it is football that delivers.”

The overall Checkatrade Community Club of the Year winner will be unveiled at the EFL Awards, taking place at The Hilton on Park Lane, London, on 15th April.

Images: James Marsh