Gareth Ainsworth helped mark the EFL's Community Day of Action by supporting the Elite & Development Academies run by the Sports & Education Trust.The Community Day of Action is designed to highlight and showcase the impact of the work in towns and cities nationwide by clubs and their Sports & Education Trusts, with more than one million people now participating in football-led community programmes and activities every season.
On Tuesday evening, Wycombe Wanderers and its Sports & Education Trust (WWSET) came together to highlight the club's strong tradition and reputation for youth development and the impact it has on the number of children participating in football within the local areas.
Manager Gareth Ainsworth went along to one of the regular sessions run by WWSET's Elite and Development Academies, held at Burnham Grammar School, to meet youngsters, pass on advice and take part in coaching of a number of different activities.
After spending two hours at the session, he said: "Coming down here has really whetted my appetite again for youth development and the community spirit that it creates. There are some good players amongst them and the coaches here do a fantastic job. They share a similar philosophy to how we do things and it's really good to hear the enthusiastic comments of the parents and players.
"We didn't have anything like this when I was growing up. To have this sort of facility from under 6's upwards is great for the youngsters and they're running sessions which were never even heard of until you were an adult in my day.
"Hard work, commitment, teamwork and togetherness are all being taught down here and I can't speak highly enough of this programme, which is also helping to get the name of Wycombe Wanderers into the community."
The Elite and Development Academies coach approximately 600 young players each week across six centres, with WWSET staff delivering over 40 weeks of EDA sessions each season. This equates to 48,000 individual participation hours coached during the season, which has a great impact on the young players who are coached across the Berks, Bucks & Middlesex areas.
Those children are given every chance to reach their full potential and play at the highest possible level, and play over 80 fixtures during the season across all age groups from under 6’s to under 16’s, providing the opportunity to showcase their talents.
This has seen 86 players graduate from this programme at various age groups and sign for professional club academies including Chelsea, Arsenal, Reading and Tottenham Hotspur.
Click here for more details on the EDA programme.