Argyle celebrate community impact through EFL Week of Action
Argyle Community Trust and Plymouth Argyle embraced the vision of ‘One Argyle’ this week by coming together to celebrate the EFL annual Week of Action, showcasing some of the Trust’s most impactful community projects – with the help of some very special guests!
The week kicked off at the Trust’s flagship sports hub at Manadon. Argyle players Will Jenkins-Davies and Jack Endacott, Argyle Women players Zoe Cunningham and Panagiota Papaioannou, and Argyle Women Manager Ryan Perks gave members of Junior Ability Counts an unforgettable evening under the floodlights at Manadon’s state-of-the-art 3G pitch.
Junior Ability Counts, funded by BBC Children in Need, provide football sessions for 5-16-year-olds with a learning, physical, or behavioural disability in a safe, fun, and inclusive environment that allow participants to thrive. The Argyle players got (very!) involved in the small-sided games, inspiring and encouraging the young people during a truly special evening.
Argyle Women Captain Zoe Cunningham said: “I think it’s massive. It’s important everyone gets the same opportunities and get to come out and have fun, whichever sport they want to play.”
A participant added: “I’ve had a really great time meeting the men’s and women’s team today. It was really cool. I’ve never met a football player before.”
Day two showcased some of the amazing work the Trust do as part of the EFL Extra Time Hub. Walk and Talk sessions, supported by the Rank Foundation and in partnership with Elder Tree Befriending Service and St Luke’s Hospice, take place every Tuesday, providing over 55s, who may be experiencing loneliness or bereavement, the opportunity to get outdoors, get active, and chat to like-minded people.
Club Ambassador and Argyle legend Gary Sawyer surprised the group during a walk around our fabulous green space at Central Park. With most of the group being proud members of the Green Army, talk quickly turned to football. There were even a couple of Gary Sawyer superfans in the group, one of which proudly showed off her limited-edition Gary Sawyer keyring!
As an extra treat, the incredible Argyle staff facilitated the group at Harpers Park for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the first team train.
Club Ambassador Gary Sawyer said: “To get everyone out, speaking, stories going off, it’s been a really interesting and great morning. The added bonus for these avid Argyle fans, to give them the opportunity to watch training, I think has put a lot of smiles on faces.”
Walk and Talk Participant Joan said: “You sit at home and get bored, and stiff, and lonely. It’s good to meet people. We have a laugh and a coffee after.”
Day three was an opportunity to shine the spotlight on Project 35, Argyle’s community social impact project, in partnership with Ginsters, aimed at reducing poverty in Devon and Cornwall.
Argyle number one Michael Cooper and Club Ambassador Gary Sawyer paid a visit to Horrabridge Primary and Nursery School in Yelverton, to the delight of students and staff alike, to support a new education project – Healthy Habits. The initiative is a combination of classroom and physical education based learning, teaching young people about Project 35 and its successes, food, healthy eating, and social action, and outdoor sessions, promoting at-home and low-cost activities to keep young people healthy and active.
Argyle Keeper Mike Cooper said: “It’s important for the kids growing up in this area to have people to look up to. It’s a different part of the country compared to the big cities. To be a role model and have something to inspire to be like and set goals for themselves is massively important.
“Any way the Trust can put on sessions like this, get a few of us down, it can only be beneficial for the kids taking part.”
The Trust also used the power of the week to launch the 2021/22 Impact report, further showcasing the incredible work carried out to make a positive difference to Devon and Cornwall communities across the season.
Launched in 2017, the Week of Action sees Clubs and Club Community Organisations (CCOs) from across the EFL’s three divisions showcase their amazing community work with managers and players joining participants across the country.
To mark the week, the League also launched a new report highlighting the significant role that its 72 Clubs play in supporting communities across England and Wales.
The report shows that EFL Clubs and their CCOs generated more than £865m of social value to towns and cities across the country through ground-breaking community programmes during the 2021/22 season.
For more details on Junior Ability Counts and other inclusive sessions email email@example.com. For details on Extra Time Hubs and Walk and Talk sessions email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Project 35 click here.
To download a full copy of ‘Measuring the Impact of EFL Clubs in the Community’ report, click here.
For more details on the EFL’s Week of Action, please visit www.efl.com.