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19 Aug

YCF welcomes Mike Evans as keynote speaker

The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation will host the first annual Community Without Boundaries Conference, which will be held at the iconic Headingley Stadium in September, 2022.

The Conference will provide a great opportunity to be inspired and develop new ideas through presentations, best practice, case studies and networking.

At this event, guests will hear more about the work of the Foundation out in the communities of Yorkshire, as well as learning more about the power of sport in community development, from external guest speakers.

The Conference will feature keynote speaker Mike Evans, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), for the EFL Trust – the charitable arm of the English Football League (EFL), who will be stepping down from his role before the end of the 2022/23 season, after a hugely successful 14 years with the organisation.

Pictured, Mike Evans, Chief Executive Officer, for EFL Trust.

ELF Trust – 14 year stellar career

Mike joined the EFL (English Football League) Trust in 2008, when the oragnisation was established, as a Regional Manager, after a successful 15-year career in the textile industry, and took on the management of 15 Football Clubs’ charities to support them with their governance, business planning and funding.

Mike said: “When setting up a brand new organisation EFL was looking for people from different backgrounds. My previous main focus in the manufacturing industry was around managing the supply chain, contracting, sales and marketing, supply chain solutions.

“These were seen as skills that no-one they were interviewing had so they thought – I guess – that it would add some diversity to the team. Around that time the charity was not as well developed as it is now and I think skills I had around contracting, tendering, marketing, commercial were good skills to bring in at that stage.”

Under Mike’s guidance and project management, 2010 saw the Trust secure its first significant multi–Club Community Organisation (CCO) contract – DWP’s Future Jobs Fund which was focused on helping long term unemployed people back to work.

Shortly afterwards, further success came for the Trust with funding secured from The Football Pools, Network Rail and significantly, the first pilot for the National Citizen Service in 2011.

After being promoted to General Manager in 2011, significant growth followed for the EFL Trust under Mike’s leadership and a charity with just ten employees in 2012 has seen consistent growth over the subsequent decade to today’s position of a team of more than 70 employees.

The EFL Trust also works alongside and supports more than 100 organisations – this includes working with the 72 associated charities with the EFL membership clubs, Premier League and national league charities and sporting and non-sporting foundations.

Financial growth has followed a similar trajectory. Between 2011 and 2021 the turnover of the Trust increased from £5.7m to £21.7m, allowing the Trust to provide more funding to CCOs in order to effectively deliver its vision of Stronger, Healthier, More Active Communities.

Key long-term partnerships have developed with the NCS Trust, Ferrero UK and the University of South Wales during Mike’s tenure, and relationships with the key football partners such as the PFA, the Premier League and the FA have all strengthened.

Additionally, numerous key programmes, funded by various government departments, to tackle loneliness, improve health and wellbeing and help people develop the skill to find meaningful employment were also secured as the EFL Trust continued to play an invaluable role in tackling some of society’s biggest challenges.

Mike joined the EFL (English Football League) Trust in 2008, when the oragnisation was established, as a Regional Manager, after a successful 15-year career in the textile industry.

Q&A: Community Without Boundaries Conference keynote

Looking ahead to the Community Without Boundaries Conference next month, we spoke to Mike about his keynote.

What do you hope delegates can take away from your keynote?

Mike said: “The important role sport organisations can play and helping them to achieve their objectives.

“The governance of the sector is really key around this also – certainly all the organsations within the EFL Trust work to a very high governance standard that we support them with on an ongoing basis.

“For example when we started working with Yorkshire Cricket Foundation and bringing them into our NCS delivery – we held the Foundation to the same standard that we hold all clubs to in terms of governance and the other organisations in the room should take a lot of comfort from that. If delegates and organisations in the room want to use cricket as a way of engaging young people and delivering health and wellbeing outcomes that they are dealing with a very professional organisation that is open to external scrutiny.”

How has the EFL had to adapt due to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Mike said: “It’s an ongoing learning journey – probably the biggest challenge has been coming out of the pandemic.

“When we first went into lockdown it was a very stressful period but we learnt to adapt as an organisation and the opportunities for us a charity grew massively. We had our best ever year financially during the first year of the pandemic because there were so many challenges in our community that people came to us as the go-to organisation – delivering the government backed Kick-Start programme being a really good example of this and our tackling loneliness together programme – working with older more isolated people – as we received a huge grant from the Department of DCMS to run that. And we adapted and managed to do a lot of stuff online that obviously we would have previously done in person.

“The biggest challenge is coming out of the pandemic – because some of those emergency funding streams have disappeared and some people who have got used to working from home and maybe lost that confidence to go out and travel again have been suffering. So staff health and wellbeing, which we always took very seriously, but I think there is more we can do in that area.”

What advice would you give to help organisations in a fast-paced world?

Mike said: “It’s really about being honest and transparent about what you are good at and making sure you are communicating that well with people.

“Also it is very much about being able to adapt in a changing world. One of the reasons why I think it is perhaps a time for change at the top of our organisation is methods of communication and technology are changing so quickly that somebody of my age are getting left behind now and there are aspects of the job which I feel need younger more dynamic thinking.

“I would also say keep challenging yourself as an organisation to move forward and don’t be scared as leaders to say actually it’s my time now to hand over the reins to someone else and make sure that the message you are communicating is the right one and you are keeping it fresh.”

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