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EFL Community Awards Announce Divisional Winners

EFL Community Winners 2022/23

The exceptional efforts in their communities of EFL players and their clubs have been recognised through the announcement of the divisional winners for the EFL Community Awards 2023, with a strong emphasis on the positive impact of football on society.

The prestigious title of EFL Player in the Community, sponsored by the PFA, has been awarded to Rotherham United’s Hakeem Odoffin in the Championship, George Edmundson of Ipswich Town in League One, and Omar Beckles of Leyton Orient for the second consecutive year in League Two.

Rotherham's Hakeem Odoffin was celebrated for his outstanding attitude and selfless dedication in connecting with local young people through the Rotherham United Community Trust. In League One, George Edmundson’s role as a disability ambassador for Ipswich Town impressed the judges, as he attended all of the disability team’s matches and personally funded each player’s kit. Meanwhile, in League Two, Omar Beckles, who was recently appointed as the PFA Chair, claimed the top spot for his exceptional commitment to community work, actively engaging in youth mentoring and intervention programs.

EFL Awards

In addition, Wigan Athletic, Plymouth Argyle, and Swindon Town were recognised as the divisional winners of the EFL Community Club of the Season Award for their innovative initiatives that are making a positive difference in people’s lives. Wigan Athletic’s community work has reached over 11,000 individuals in the past year, contributing to the legacy of the Women’s Euros 2022. Plymouth Argyle’s Project 35 has provided 30,000 meals to those in need and donated over 2.6 tonnes of food to local food banks in response to the cost-of-living crisis. Swindon Town’s commitment to integrating and supporting refugees in their area has set them apart, utilising football as a force for good to foster connections and drive positive change.

The judging panel unanimously voted for the EFL Community Project of the Season, which recognises the most innovative and impactful community projects. Stoke City won the award in the Championship for their ‘Keep Stoke Smiling’ project, an oral health initiative that has reached 11,000 children in 74 local primary schools. In League One, MK Dons was awarded for their anti-violence and knife crime education program, Knife Angel, which has impacted over 45,000 individuals and resulted in the surrender of 293 knives during a one-month period. In League Two, Doncaster Rovers’ pioneering pre and post-natal scheme, Fit Families, the first of its kind in the EFL, has provided crucial support to families facing high levels of deprivation.

As evidenced in the ‘Measuring the Impact of EFL Clubs in the Community’ report launched earlier this year, during the 2021/22 season, EFL Clubs and their CCOs generated over £865m of social value to towns and cities across the country through community programmes and delivered over 580,000 hours of community events and activities. 

Trevor Birch, CEO of the EFL, said: “Our Clubs and their Club Community Organisations play an integral role in their communities, responding to the ever-changing needs of local people at an unprecedented scale. Last season alone, our Clubs and CCOs engaged over 840,000 people and generated more than £101m for community investment. It’s an honour and privilege to celebrate this outstanding work in Parliament.”

The achievements of the shortlisted Clubs and players will be celebrated during an event hosted in Parliament on April 17th, with the overall winners for each category to be revealed at the star-studded EFL Awards in London on April 23rd.

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