Preston North End Community and Education Trust received a ministerial visit from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Steve Barclay, earlier this month, as he witnessed the power and impact of the Trust’s work on show at Deepdale.
The Minister spoke with military veterans who are participants on PNECET’s free Armed Forces programme, which provides past and present members of the military the chance to participate in weekly football sessions, and also met graduates of the summer NCS programme to learn about the difference they are making in local communities.
PNECET are part of the EFL Trust’s network of 64 Delivery Partners that have engaged with over 75,000 young people on NCS since 2011. Designed for 16-17-year-olds, NCS offers an inclusive summer programme that helps young people develop the skills, experience, and self-belief they need to achieve their potential and reach their future goals. NCS aims to make a life-changing difference to young people and how they approach life after school.
Paul Strickleton is one of those PNE Forces participants who have the opportunity to represent PNECET against other professional clubs’ veteran’s teams in the North West Veteran’s league.
He said: “As an active member of the veteran community, I regularly see the struggles at ground level, often with the most severe consequences.
“Active schemes such as the PNE Forces programme provide an outlet to socialise and discuss issues and problems to help motivate our physical and mental health.”
Meanwhile, the Minister spoke with three of the 315 young people who completed with NCS with PNECET in 2021, all three of whom have continued to volunteer as part of the NCS Changemakers programme.
One of the young people, Sadiyah, 19, is partially blind and has always struggled to interact with others, but NCS gave her the platform and confidence to put her hand up and have her voice heard.
🤝 Earlier this month, #PNECET received a ministerial visit from Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster @SteveBarclay who spoke with participants from our PNE Forces programme and @NCS graduates.— Preston North End Community and Education Trust (@pnecommunity) February 15, 2022
Read more ➡️ https://t.co/HHH5daLMvA#pnefc @DCMS @EFL @NCSTrust pic.twitter.com/CMm2JgkqQ9
She said: “NCS really helped me with my confidence. We spoke with the Minister about what we did with NCS and how it impacted us. It made me feel very proud.”
Fellow graduate Sophie Platt added: “We were talking about what we’ve done on NCS in the past and what we’re planning to do with the Changemakers programme.
“My experience [of NCS] was that I really enjoyed it. I came onto the programme not knowing anyone that was doing it and I made lots of new friends. I got more confident.”
Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: "Football clubs are at the heart of our communities and it's inspiring to see the power of sport bring people and communities together. From young people to veterans, amazing projects such as these are making a real difference and ensuring the game is inclusive for all.
"The Preston North End Community Education Trust is doing brilliant work, improving peoples' physical and mental health of people and ensuring our clubs create stronger, healthier and more active communities. A huge thank you to PNECET and the EFL Trust for all their fantastic work.”
Tom Drake, CEO of PNECET, added: “It's an honour and a privilege to receive such a high-profile visit, but I think it acknowledges all the work and the success that we’ve achieved over the last 12 to 24 months.
“During the pandemic it has been really challenging, but as a Community Trust, we’ve continued to grow and we’ve continued to provide for the needs of our community. That’s been really evident from the two programmes that we’ve visited – and those people that benefit from those programmes – for the minister to see.”