The award was presented by Paul Fairclough, trustee of The National League Trust at the Leyton Orient Football Club Training Ground on Wednesday 13 November 2019. Howard Gould, Club Liaison Officer received the award on behalf of Leyton Orient Trust, with Leyton Orient Football Club first team players.
Leyton Orient Trust was awarded the ‘Best Project with Player Involvement’ for their work during the 2018/19 season. The project highlighted in the nomination took place with local Walthamstow-based food bank, Eat or Heat, in December 2018. In the lead up to Christmas Eat or Heat wanted to make their food packages more festive. First team players, Matt Harrold and Charlie Lee were challenged to go shopping on a budget to help replenish the Food Bank’s stocks and buy ingredients that service users could use for a Christmas dinner. Eat or Heat volunteers were then invited to be guests at the following home game to undertake a bucket collection at the ground.
The award also recognised the contribution of all Leyton Orient first and youth team players in engaging with the communities that Leyton Orient Trust works with including, Primary Schools; young people in wider community settings; students on Further Education programmes; and participants on programmes to improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing. During the 2018/19 season, Leyton Orient players made over 250 appearances in the community.
Paul Fairclough, Trustee, The National League Trust, said:
“The Leyton Orient project nomination was one that jumped out on us, particularly with how they got the players involved. It was a real eye-opener as to what’s going on in communities, and what can be done by Football Clubs.”
Neil Taylor, Chief Executive, Leyton Orient Trust:
“We are grateful to the National League Trust for not only recognising its work with the Club and players, but also the prize money contribution. The funding received will be invested into supporting further liaison and engagement work bringing together the players and the local community.”