On Tuesday 20th March, as part of the English Football League Trust’s EFL Day of Action, Shrewsbury Town in the Community held a Q&A showcase, hosted by Trustee Ryan Jervis, with 3 young people who have participated over a number of different programmes that the charity offer, including the National Citizen Service programme, Foundation Degree, ShrewsAbility coaching sessions and more.

All 72 EFL Clubs came together on the same day for the EFL’s Day of Action to demonstrate the positive impact football can have in changing young people’s lives.

Shrewsbury Town in the Community took the opportunity to invite friends of the community, partners, trustee’s, local businesses and members of the local and regional press down to their community hub based at the Montgomery Waters Meadow site, home of Shrewsbury Town Football Club.

The event consisted of a short Questions and Answer showcase with 3 different participants and volunteers. First up to speak was Shrewsbury Town in the Community volunteer and NCS staff member Isla Taylor, who originally took part in the National Citizen Service programme in 2015.

Since taking part in the programme, Isla has become a key member of staff on numerous NCS programmes for planning and delivery, and also regularly volunteers on the ShrewsAbility programme.

Speaking of her volunteering with the ShrewsAbility programme, which aims to break down barriers to allow everyone to enjoy a sport, Isla said,

“When I first volunteered it was known as disability football. But now it’s branded as ShrewsAbility, which focuses on the ability to do more, rather than the disability that the participants have.

“At the sessions there is no such thing as can’t. We have a way of working that we abide by at ShrewsAbility, where if someone things they can’t do something, we will sit down and work out how they can do it.”

Those in attendance then heard from one of the ShrewsAbility players, Rich Thomas. Rich has attended the ShrewsAbility sessions since they started in 2014, and loves to attend the sessions held by Shrewsbury Town in the Community. Despite living in Wolverhampton, Rich and his dad Steve travel every Monday to attend the sessions held between 5pm and 6pm at Shrewsbury Sports Village.

Rich has also represented team GB at the Special Olympic World Games in Athens during 2011, competing in Gymnastics.

Finally, current Foundation Student and volunteer Emma Morris spoke about the impact that the work of Shrewsbury Town has had on her development as a person since starting as a BTEC student in 2015.

Since starting as a student, Emma spoke about how the programmes she has been a participant on has improved her confidence as a person, and allowed her to study at University through the EFL Trust’s Foundation Degree Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development provided by University of South Wales, whilst being able to study in Shrewsbury.

Emma has also volunteered with coaching on a number of other programmes run by Shrewsbury Town in the Community, including ShrewsAbility and Short Breaks.

Regarding her decision to become a foundation degree student, Emma commented,

“I did the foundation degree because I’ve always wanted to go to University but because of my dyslexia I wasn’t sure if I would get the same level of support as I do from Shrewsbury Town in the Community”.

Following the showcase of the 3 young participants, Head of Community Jamie Edwards spoke about the plans for the future of Shrewsbury Town in the Community, including a new 3G pitch and hub building, as well as the need for continued support from everyone associated with Shrewsbury Town Football Club.

Jamie Edwards also spoke on the plans of Shrewsbury Town in the Community to hold their annual “Community Day” during Saturday’s league one game against AFC Wimbledon.

The day will feature numerous participants from a range of programmes, including the NCS, ShrewsAbility and Regional Talent Club programmes. The day will also see Shrewsbury Town in the Community appeal for supporters to “Donate a Pound” to enable more participants to be helped across a larger range of projects.

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