Story added: 17th December 2020

Looking back over a challenging year

As one of the most difficult and challenging years in recent times nears an end, we take a look back at some of the moments that made up the Community Sports Foundation’s past twelve months.

It’s been a year that saw the Foundation heavily involved with the club and local community’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This included immediate support with PPE, food and care package deliveries, and providing support to thousands of participants with their physical and mental wellbeing.


There is a moment to remember for young Murray Mead. As a reward for his stellar attitude on the Premier League Primary Stars programme, which is run at his school Old Catton Junior by the Foundation, the youngster is given the unique chance to be a ‘referee mascot’ at the City vs. Spurs Premier League clash.

Canaries defender Sam Byram shows his support for the #BuildTheNest campaign with a visit to The Nest. While on the construction site, Sam is given an idea of how the new facilities will look when completed and even tries his hand at bricklaying.


Six scholars from Norwich City FC’s Academy visit Eaton Hall Specialist Academy to experience one of the Foundation’s after-school sports session in action. The school caters for students with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

Participants from the Foundation’s Premier League Kicks Dance sessions get the opportunity to show off their dance moves to hundreds of spectators, with a three-minute performance at the Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic park.

Across two days, 400 pupils from 31 local schools join us for the Premier League Primary Stars football tournament. Firside Junior School and Woodlands Primary Academy are both victorious in the U11 mixed and U13 female categories.

City’s Tom Trybull and his wife Anna join us at White Woman Lane Junior School in Norwich to help launch the Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition.


The Covid-19 national lockdown sees the Foundation join forces with Norwich City Football Club to support NHS staff, care workers and some of the most vulnerable people in the local community.

A host of initiatives are carried out including:

Foundation participants are also supported with phone calls, and a new app and online sessions are devised to help boost physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.


Fundraisers take on stay-at-home challenges as part of the national 2.6 Challenge campaign. Supporters of the charity run, cycle, scooter, and plank (to name a few), helping to raise over £23,000.

The Foundation launches Positive Futures, a new partnership project in a bid to help boost the resilience of young people at risk of child criminal exploitation or in need of a clearer direction in life.

Also launching is a new course for aspiring P.E. teachers. The Foundation join forces with the University of East Anglia and The Wensum Trust to offer students in Norfolk this exciting new pathway into a career in sports.


CSF Chief Executive Officer Ian Thornton writes an open letter to Norwich City season ticket holders and members who might be in a position to support the charity with a rebate donation. The response was incredible, with over £175,000 raised including gift aid.


Around 150 grassroots coaches, and those interested in the finer details of football coaching, join Stuart Webber and Russell Martin online for our first virtual FC Live workshop. The free series is continued across the year, with other guests including Norwich City FC backroom staff members Steve Weaver, Ed Wootten, Chris Domogalla, and Jay Marshall.

The Foundation’s Football & Education students, as part of their home learning, hear from Kick it Out’s Troy Townsend about racism in football.


Following the easing of restrictions, face-to-face coaching sessions returns for the first time since March, albeit with social distancing measures in place.

Our Kicks programme moves to parks across the county for the summer months. The open, outdoor venues allow youngsters to enjoy the benefits of sport for free, all under the supervision of Foundation coaches. Food packs are also provided, thanks to Premier League funding.


An exciting milestone in the development of The Nest is reached, as the new 3G pitch opens for use. Groups including Mini Kickers, our Football & Education programmes, the Football Development Programme, Walking Football, Proud Canaries, Norwich City Women FC and local grassroots teams are among the first to use the new state-of-the-art surface.


Our new degree programme welcomes its first intake of students. The exciting venture allows students to study a Foundation Degree at The Nest and Carrow Road, before spending a further year “topping up” to a full BSC Degree in Football Coaching and Administration.


Canaries legend Iwan Roberts samples a walking football session, one of the new programmes taking place on The Nest’s 3G pitch.

A busy half-term brings the chance for participants in our football programme to get their fix of football.  Alongside training days, fixtures for our boys and girls take place against the likes of Luton Town, MK Dons, and Cambridge United.

With Run Norwich not taking place in 2020 due to Covid-19, a Virtual replacement event sees over 1,500 entries. Open to all those who had supported the Foundation by not requesting a refund from their original entry, the format gives runners a week to run (and record) a 10-kilometre run. Runs are submitted from as far afield as the Scottish Hebrides and Turkey, with thousands raised for the Foundation and its chosen local charity partners.


The second national lockdown means a return to virtual and online support for our programme participants. One of those programmes, the Onside programme, continues to engage with families, exploring themes of communication, confidence, and wellbeing.


Work starts on the Challenge Woods at The Nest, an outdoor adventure play area centred around a large treehouse. With walkways, bridges, and tunnels, all set among the trees, it promises to be an exciting addition to the site that will help young people develop vital skills such as balance, coordination and problem-solving.

The Foundation’s Run Norwich event wins the Best 10k in the UK award at the Running Awards.

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