Millwall Community Trust (MCT) in partnership with Military Veteran Football Club (MVFC) have launched a programme to deliver football sessions to veterans in the local area.

MVFC was founded in 2021 and hosts regular football sessions throughout the week in multiple parts of the country. However, with the help of Sky Bet and the EFL, MCT launched their welcome session on Saturday before Millwall’s clash with Cardiff City in the Lion’s Centre.

The day started off with the MVFC Directors and co-ordinators Laura, David and Russell being given a tour around the Lion’s Centre and able to go pitchside at The Den where pictures and interviews were taken to signify the partnership.

Afterwards everyone headed back to the Lions Centre and up to the cafe area to really kickstart the day. Over 20+ veterans joined us at the tables where plenty of stories and jokes were told. MVFC representatives also explained the backstory of how they started up and it’s clear to see the clear passion and commitment of the all in this project. Royal British Legion (RBL) members were also in attendance.

Veterans got their boots on and participated in a 5V5 match on the astro at the Lions Centre. There was some really good stuff played on the pitch from all involved with the game. Football can bring anybody together and in this case that could not be any more true.

The final part of the introduction launch session was complimentary breakfast buffet as all veterans  got to enjoy a meal. Millwall F.C former players Les Briley and Brian Horne also attended as did Chris Kongo, who recently won the IBO intercontinental Welterweight Championship belt at the O2 was also in attendance . The Millwall fan had his belt on him and allowed everyone to get a picture with it.

Everyone involved with the session got the chance to watch Millwall vs Cardiff City on behalf at the club, in a game which The Lions bolstered their survival hopes in a 3-1 win. Everyone was in great spirits, and it was brilliant to see how this sport can bring so many people together.

MCT's Education and Employability Manager, John Scarborough said: "Saturday morning was a wonderful combination of hard work between the trust and military veteran football club in putting on a launch event within the trust Lions Centre to celebrate both the partnership between the trust and military football club and also the launch of the Sky Bet EFL Building Foundations Fund programme which will see weekly sessions of football dedicated specifically for military veterans and also serving personnel. 

"It was an honour to host military veteran football club, and an array of veterans for various ages, backgrounds and areas across London and the Southeast.

"Millwall have a real affinity and commitment to supporting those both serving personnel, and also non-serving veterans. Partnering with a nationally recognised veteran football  programme like MVFC is hugely beneficial as will enable veterans living in London and Southeast to now be part of that football network and wider veteran community.

"Football is fantastic at bringing people together, tackling social, isolation, bringing health, physical, health and well-being benefits, as well as providing a support network for moments of challenge. Linked  to the football sessions will be regular coffee mornings and informal meet ups to also support those non playing veterans, and will include information, advice and guidance drop in sessions from veteran support charities. All veterans need to do is register online either via the MCT website link or MVFC website and come down."

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Written by Military Veteran Apprentice Journalist, Reece Endicott.