MK Dons have been named League One’s winner of the EFL Community Project of the Season award.
The Community Project of the Season award recognises the most innovative and impactful projects across the EFL, with one winner selected from each of the three divisions.
MK Dons and MK Dons Sport and Education Trust were honoured for the anti-violence and knife crime education programme - Knife Angel.
Both visual and impactful, the project reached over 45,000 individuals and saw 293 knives being surrendered in Milton Keynes during a one-month period.
Maralyn Smith, Chief Executive of MK Dons SET, said: "MK Dons SET are extremely proud to win this award for our work around anti-violence and the Knife Angel working in partnership with Thames Valley Police, Milton Keynes City Council and other community organisations.
"The impact of the work has been outstanding, supporting over 3,500 young people and helping them learn about the impact of violence and how to enjoy Milton Keynes safely. The work continues but it’s fantastic for it to be recognised by the EFL."
Stoke City were the Championship winners for their ‘Keep Stoke Smiling’ project – an oral health initiative which has reached 11,000 children in 74 local primary schools. In League Two, Doncaster Rovers were honoured for their pioneering pre and post-natal scheme, Fit Families - the first of its kind in the EFL and a scheme providing much needed support to families facing high levels of deprivation.
The achievements of the shortlisted Clubs and players will be marked during an event hosted in Parliament on 17 April, with one overall winner for each category to be revealed at the star-studded EFL Awards in London on 23 April.
With more than 80 per cent of the population in England and Wales living within 15 miles of an EFL club, the League’s network of 72 clubs are at the very heart of the communities.
The impact these Clubs have on their communities goes way beyond the 90 minutes on the pitch with Clubs delivering a portfolio of community schemes in response to issues such as obesity, food poverty, loneliness, education and unemployment.
As evidenced in the ‘Measuring the Impact of EFL Clubs in the Community’ report launched earlier this year, during the 2021/22 season, EFL Clubs and their CCOs generated over £865m of social value to towns and cities across the country through community programmes and delivered over 580,000 hours of community events and activities.
Trevor Birch, CEO of the EFL, said: “Our Clubs and their Club Community Organisations play an integral role in their communities, responding to the ever-changing needs of local people at an unprecedented scale.
“Last season alone, our Clubs and CCOs engaged over 840,000 people and generated more than £101m for community investment. It’s an honour and privilege to celebrate this outstanding work in Parliament.”