Derby County's Community Heroes
Derby County's fixture against Burton Albion formed part of the EFL’s Community Weekend. As part of the celebrations, we welcomed four Community to the pitch, who are all involved in Derby County Community Trust’s vast range of activities.
Alan Higgins is a season ticket holder and local teacher who has supported community sport at Oakwood and in the community for a number of years. Working at Oakwood Junior School, he is part of the Derby Primary PE Steering Group, helping to shape and direct the Super Schools programme at Derby County Community Trust. He regularly takes part in meetings and gives feedback about how to improve school sport across the city.
Leading his own school’s efforts, he ensures pupils take part in a range of activities and takes time out of his evenings and weekends to signpost pupils to community clubs and has helped with transport and club fees. Within school, his efforts have seen pupils achieve some excellent results across various sports and activities.
Harley has been attending weekly sessions every Thursday at Arboretum Park since the age of 8. Delivered as part of the Premier League Kicks project, his enthusiasm and commitment for football and the session is unrivalled, and makes him worthy of recognition.
Regardless of the weather Harley is ever present at the sessions. He is a very shy and well-mannered young man, who loves playing football and scoring goals like his favourite player Harry Kane. Harley is a very popular participant at the session and has made a huge impression on all the coaches, volunteers, and participants alike.
Alex has played football with Derby County Community Trust since she was 10, where she was part of the Regional Talent Centre set up. Now aged 17, she’s part of the popular Football and Education programme and alongside her studies, plays for the Derby County Under 20s who are currently undefeated in the FA Women’s National League (Reverse Midland Division).
As well as being a distinction student, Alex also qualified as a referee in October and now officiates our Female Talent Pathway fixtures every Saturday. As well as giving her time to support these fixtures, she regularly volunteers as a coach on Friday nights at the Emerging Talent Centre at Friesland, helping to inspire the next generation of female footballers.
Andy joined the Trust’s Team Talk project in 2021 after struggling with his mental health through the pandemic. Andy began attending to give him a platform to relieve some stress from his work and home life, but as time has passed, Andy has developed into the backbone of the group that everyone seeks peer support and reassurance from.
Andy has been involved with other aspects of the Trust, striving to improve his physical health too, taking on a walking challenge last summer which raised in excess of £500 for the projects which have supported him.
Andy has become an integral part within the Dad's Space group too, being totally transparent about his journey into fatherhood, inspiring others to be open and share their struggles to empower fathers to share their struggles in a non-judgemental environment.