Derby County has been awarded with a Family Excellence Gold Award for the 2023/24 season, part of a group of 13 clubs to be recognised for their exemplary work in engaging families on matchdays.

Overall, 68 EFL clubs achieved Family Excellence recognition – a record high for the scheme this season, with clubs rewarded with either Gold, Silver or Bronze status based on the experience they provide to assessing families.

Testament to the success of the EFL’s Family Excellence Scheme, over one million junior supporters enjoyed a live matchday experience at an EFL game in the Sky Bet Championship, League One or League Two in 2023/24, a remarkable figure, and an indication of the high quality of experience EFL clubs provide for young fans and families.

The EFL’s Family Excellence Scheme assesses the experience clubs provide for match-going families through the use of family matchday assessors, covering a range of touchpoints across ticket purchase, matchday activations and experience, accessibility, facilities and family communications.

The summary of the report submitted to the club, focussing on two visits to Derby County in the 2023/24 season, stated: “This season’s two EFL Family Excellence assessments have highlighted plenty of innovative and well-implemented examples of engagement at Pride Park. The consistently strong experience has significantly improved on 2022/23 and puts the club back amongst the leaders for family excellence in the EFL.”

The club has recently introduced the use of Rammie and Ewie’s Activity Zone on home matchdays, which is an area designed with families in mind, and provides an interactive, fun and safe space for all ahead of kick-off. The Family Fun Zone is located in Harrison’s Hub, which is in the North West Corner of the stadium.

Children and young people can take part in several exciting, family-friendly pre-game activities. Colouring and crafts competitions are held, where fans can win exclusive prizes, while face-painting, video-games, foosball, ping-pong table, meet and greet opportunities with Rammie and Ewie are just some of the other activities on offer, while a Tuck Shop has also been introduced.

Derby County’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Pearce, said: “We are delighted to have achieved the Family Excellence Gold Award for the 2023/24 season.

“A lot of hard work has taken place behind-the-scenes to improve and enhance our matchday experience, notably for children and young people attending matches with their families who are beginning their journey supporting the club, and therefore we know how important it is to provide a safe and welcoming environment at Pride Park Stadium.

“To see that hard work pay off by being one of just 13 EFL clubs to achieve Gold status is testament to the efforts of our passionate and driven staff.”

He added: “We have shown the standard we are capable of achieving and, as a club, we are determined to remain at the forefront of Family Excellence in the EFL in the seasons ahead.”

EFL Chief Executive, Trevor Birch, said: “Attendances across the EFL are at an all-time high and it’s really encouraging to see more than one million junior supporters able to attend an EFL match up and down the country this season.

“Nothing beats the experience of attending a match in the stadium, and EFL clubs, through the Family Excellence Scheme, have put in a huge amount of work to ensure that young people and families have a positive experience, and encourages them to keep coming back.”

Find out more about the Matchday Experience for home supporters at Pride Park Stadium by clicking here.