Northampton Town Football Club wins More Than Football award for loneliness project

Cobblers beat off competition from big name clubs across Europe
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Northampton Town Football Club has won a European award for its loneliness project that started during the pandemic.

The #MoreThanFootball award, powered by Musco, aims to honour the best social initiatives in Europe delivered by a European Club, League or FA by celebrating the work they do on and off-pitch on a local, national and international levels.

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The award was handed out during the 18th European Football for Development Network (EFDN) Conference in Budapest, Hungary, which assessed not only on the quality of the project but also on the level of promotion and engagement.

Cobblers were named in the final shortlisted clubs alongside FC Twente, Newcastle United and Athletic Club de Bilbao. The attending member clubs at the conference then voted the Northampton Town Tackling Loneliness project as the best social initiative.

The win comes just days after the announcement that Cobblers had won the Planet League award for its green initiatives.

Chairman Kelvin Thomas said: "We are so, so proud. To win the national Planet League award on Monday was great, but to win this European-wide award is simply unbelievable.

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"A huge well done to Phill Smith and all of the staff at the Northampton Town Community Trust as well as Scott Desborough and all of the trustees for their work and the difference they make to so many lives.”

Northampton Town Football Club has won the More Than Football award for its loneliness project.Northampton Town Football Club has won the More Than Football award for its loneliness project.
Northampton Town Football Club has won the More Than Football award for its loneliness project.

The project that won the award started within two days of the first lockdown as Northampton Town FC Community Trust developed a programme set out to support older fans who may be at risk of loneliness or isolation brought about by Covid-19 and Government lockdowns. The project has supported 1,210 people aged 50 and older to reduce feelings of loneliness and improve their mental health and well being.

The impact it has made is wide reaching, as case studies show the project has reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation, helped develop new friendships and improve people’s mental health and wellbeing.

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Thomas added: “This particular project was a club wide effort and I am so, so proud of everyone involved. That includes some former staff and players, including Keith Curle and his staff at the time who were very much part of this work. I made a number of calls myself so I know the impact the calls had.

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"We have always felt this club has fantastic community engagement but to see that work honoured on both a national and international scale makes us all exceptionally proud.

"With the first team going well, the Northampton Town Women playing in front of over a thousand fans a week or so ago and the academy enjoying a superb win in the FA Youth Cup a couple of weeks ago, there is so much to be proud of at the club at the moment.”

The Northampton Town Community Trust will not only receive recognition for having implemented the most innovative and impactful Community and Social Responsibility programme in European football, but they will also win a complete Mini-Pitch System modular sports solution. The club-branded mini-pitch will be developed in partnership with the winning organisation, EFDN and Musco.