Today, the English Football League (EFL) will mark its fifth Day of Action, where all 72 Clubs from its three divisions come together to demonstrate the impact that football has in positively changing people’s lives.

As part of the EFL Day of Action, a number of Cardiff City players surprised participants involved in Cardiff City FC Foundation projects by video calling and finding out more about how our club changes lives.

The recently crowned ‘Championship PFA Player in the Community’ Will Vaulks took time out to speak with young people on the streets as part of the Foundation’s detached youth work project – Kicks Targeted.

Will joined Cardiff City FC Foundation coaches as they approached young people in their territory, such as the streets, estates and parks to start important conversations around staying safe, what can be done to prevent violence against women and to direct young people to the Foundation’s free football sessions –Kicks - to help reduce anti-social behaviour.

Between 2019-20, anti-social behaviour rates increased by 47% on the prior year. As well as providing free in-person activities at 20 Kicks sites across 7 local authorities, we continue to offer online Kicks activities during lockdowns and work in partnership with South Wales Police and Youth Services to support young people.

Another strand of the Foundation Kicks programme is the Kicks Targeted project that provides one to one mentoring for young people who have been identified to be involved with or are at risk of becoming involved in youth violence.

Wales International Vaulks spoke with 16-year-old Chloe to hear more about her journey, how since working with the Foundation her school attendance, grades and behaviour have improved. Chloe no longer gets into trouble with the police and has better relationships with teachers, friends and family.

We know that 500,000 young people are known to be involved or vulnerable to gangs and that 61% of young people experience difficult emotions or have mental health issues. That’s why we diversified our Kicks project to provide tailored one to one support, providing 111 sessions for at-risk young people in 2019/20.

The Foundation’s Future Pathways Post-16 Education Students returned to the classroom this week. In the midst of the excitement to be back amongst friends and tutors, Foundation students spoke with Alex Smithies to highlight how they’re pleased to be back in class, how they looked after their wellbeing during lockdowns and future ambitions.

Nationwide, 68% of young people said their mental health got worse during lockdown. The City stopper heard about how Foundation tutors provided regular wellbeing check-ins to support students and shared advice on how he looks after his physical and mental wellbeing.

Joe Bennett paid an online visit to Pencaerau Primary School in Ely, Cardiff to speak with a class of children involved in the Primary Stars project.

Primary Stars is a primary school programme that supports children to learn, be active and develop important life skills in the classroom, on the playground and on the sports field.

The Foundation provided free online learning resources for children and families during lockdown, to support literacy, numeracy and personal social education, as well as delivering the Bluebirds from Home Schools festival. The home learning festival engaged with more than 140 schools, offered to 36,000 children, providing Cardiff City-themed learning resources and fun fitness challenges to get children active.

We know that 25% of children struggle with confidence and self-esteem, that’s why it was vital that we supported children to reconnect, build confidence & resilience and supporting their physical and mental wellbeing through football sessions upon returning to school after months away from the classroom.

Joe enjoyed listening to the children and shared advice about the importance of resilience and confidence as well as talking about football of course!