Announced as part of the EFL’s first ever Week of Action, Derby County have been named EFL Community Club of the Season for the Midlands alongside five other regional winners for the outstanding work they have delivered off the pitch.

Each of the regional winning clubs have made a significant difference to the lives of people living in their local areas, through projects designed to tackle societal issues such as loneliness, food poverty and education, amongst others.

This marks the sixth time in the past ten years that the Derby County Community Trust has been named the Midlands’ best community scheme, having been recognised in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2020.

Derby County have twice been named the national Community Club of the Year in 2015 and 2018.

Three key projects were put forward under the banners of Health and Wellbeing, Education and Employability and Participation and Community Engagement. Derby County’s range of projects were viewed by the judges as ‘outstanding’.

The projects chosen by the Community Trust, leading to their successful application, are:

Active Recovery

Launching in 2015, the Trust’s key health initiative supports patients going through their cancer journey. This has grown to extend support those pre-treatment, during treatment, in their five years of recovery and also for those who have received a terminal diagnosis.

More recently, the Trust has increased their delivery in Derby’s BAME communities through the Macmillan-funded Wellbeing for All project, which aims to raise awareness around signs and symptoms to prevent later diagnoses.

The project has supported over 500 patients in recovery from cancer to date, and has previously been showcased as part of Derby County’s third ‘pink kit’, supporting breast cancer awareness, in the 2020/21 season.

Inclusion Project

Funded through the Derby Opportunity Area, a Department for Education initiative, Derby County Community Trust have led a consortium of partners to support children and young people at rick of exclusion from school to remain in, or return to, mainstream education.

Results have seen pupils return to full-time timetables, receive 1:1 mentoring and support, take part in emotional resilience projects, reduce their anxiety around attending school and much more.

Alongside partners BabyPeople, Safe and Sound and Bridge the Gap, we have supported over 1,000 children and young people and worked with over 60% of schools in the city.

Sensory Room

Derby County Community Trust are not alone in their offer of a Sensory Room within their stadium, but what sets their offer apart is the wider range of support available for those living with autism and ADHD, and the innovative way in which the Sensory Room has been funded for the season ahead.

Asking fans to lend their support to the facility saw the 1884 Wall produced, where the names of 1,000 Rams fans are proudly displayed at Pride Park, with the proceeds from the installation being used to support the room within the stadium. The facility allows families to attend matchdays, and is also used to support those with additional sensory needs throughout the year.

These three projects were chosen to highlight the Trust’s work, which supports over 25,000 participants annually through 40+ projects.

Simon Carnall, Head of Community at Derby County Community Trust, said: “To be recognised once again as Community Club of the Season for the region is a phenomenal achievement for our staff, participants and board of trustees, who shape and guide how we operate as a charity.

“Being able to nominate such diverse projects is a testament to the skills and attitudes of our staff team, who are on the ground week in, week out, helping people to become happier and healthier versions of themselves.

“Our vast delivery programme has been recognised many times throughout or history, but to be able to add the new angle of the way we fundraised to support one of our vital projects means we owe a huge amount to the amazing fans who helped us to achieve this.”

The Trust will formally receive their award at a special event hosted at the House of Commons on 19 April alongside project participants, staff and volunteers from each Club Community Organisation (CCO).

The overall winner for each category will be announced live at the EFL Awards on 24th April 2022.