Vitality Westminster Mile

William Bellamy School at Buckingham Palace

Pupils and staff from William Bellamy School. in Dagenham competed in the 2023 Vitality Westminster Mile on Saturday 23rd September, representing both Dagenham and Redbridge FC and the Daggers Trust. The event starts in. the Mall and the finishing line is outside the gates of Buckingham Palace.

We hope to see these youngsters again on 3rd October at the match versus York City, when they will form the Guard of Honour prior to kick off.

This is the fourth year that the Trust has been represented at the event

10th Anniversary of London United

London’s professional football clubs celebrate a decade of collaborative community work

13th September 2023 – Over 150 people, including football legends Ledley King, Carlton Cole and Per Mertesacker, gathered at the Speaker’s House, Westminster, last night to celebrate a decade of work by London United, a collaborative network of 16 professional football club Community Organisations.

The event, which was presented by Olivia Buzaglo and supported by the Premier League, aimed to commemorate 10 years of collective community work – helping to tackle some of the biggest issues facing the city with a notable focus on employability, violence reduction and health and wellbeing – and included a pledge to keep growing partnerships to do even more in the future. 

In a welcoming address, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle, praised the dedication and impact of the unique alliance, to the audience of club representatives, London borough councillors, members of parliament and notable figures who have supported or been a part of London United's mission to improve the lives of Londoners.

Panellists included individuals whose lives have been changed through the clubs’ endeavours as well as Tottenham Hotspur Ambassador Ledley King, West Ham United Ambassador Carlton Cole, the Director of the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, Lib Peck, and Regional Director for London’s National Health Service, Caroline Clarke.

Explaining his own motivations for supporting the work of Tottenham Hotspur and London United, Ledley King stated: “When I look at people in the Tottenham area, a very deprived area, I see a younger me and I think to myself where would I be without football, what opportunities would I have? It’s important for us as football clubs to visit these areas, be present and inspire. Show these young people, who believe that nothing good ever happens to people from these areas, that they can go on to achieve things with hard work and discipline."

“I think sport and London United can, and does, play an incredible role in violence reduction,” said Lib Peck. 

“Something that really stands out for me is the fact that a lot of the kids we speak to don’t feel that they matter or belong. Deprivation and alienation are key issues in our field of work and football clubs are a way of belonging and feeling part of something. That’s really important. It’s been great that we’ve been able to work with local clubs at a time where institutions are struggling for credibility, football cuts through that.”

"I’d like to work even more with London United. There are so many people who want to make London a safer place and collaboration across sporting organisations is absolutely a way to do that."

Typically fierce rivals on the pitch, the clubs have harnessed the power of football to collaborate, share expertise, exchange ideas, and implement best practices since their official partnership, which was formed in 2013. Their collective aim: to address pressing issues and implement city-wide initiatives aimed at helping Londoners to thrive.

As part of the celebration, the clubs shared their annual impact, based on the 21/22 season, which consisted of working with over 240,000 Londoners, investment of more than £30m back into the city, and delivery of over 450 programmes in the capital.

Three participants from London United clubs also graced the stage and shared inspiring stories, demonstrating that the work of the collective reaches all ages. Firstly, Kyran, who found employment with the Leyton Orient Trust after being a participant in their Premier League Kicks programme. Eileen also told her experience, highlighting how she found a new lease of life after joining West Ham United Foundation’s ‘Any Old Irons’ project. Finally, Angel spoke about how she has helped a young participant find a better route in life through one-to-one mentoring with the Palace for Life Foundation.

Eileen admitted “10 years ago I was in a really bad way” as she recounted the role football has played in her recovery following reaching “breaking point” due to severe anxiety and depression.

“I read about West Ham’s Any Old Irons - we are a big West Ham family - I joined that and I’ve gone on leaps and bounds really. 

“All the people that have joined are older - everyone’s experienced everything in life - and we’ve done really well with elderly men who have lost their wives.

“It’s just been wonderful, everyone has made friends and West Ham is like glue but once you come, you talk about different things, and it’s been quite amazing.

Other notable football attendees included: former Crystal Palace player Mark Bright, former Watford player Luther Blissett, former QPR player Andy Sinton, former Brentford player Marcus Gayle, and former Chelsea player Paul Elliott.

The professional football club Community Organisations that form London United are: Arsenal F.C., Barnet F.C., Brentford F.C., Charlton Athletic F.C., Chelsea F.C., Crystal Palace F.C., Dagenham and Redbridge F.C., Fulham F.C., Leyton Orient F.C., Millwall F.C., Queens Park Rangers F.C., Sutton United F.C., Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Watford F.C., West Ham United F.C., and AFC Wimbledon.

Freddie Hudson, Chair of London United and Head of Arsenal in the Community, said: “It’s a 10-year celebration tonight but a lot of this work started, for us in the mid 1980s, for many of the other clubs it quickly followed, and that’s where we captured a lot of the learning: on the ground across our communities and building important partnerships. This work is tough and challenging. We couldn’t attempt to do it on our own, we need the partnerships to overcome some of the challenges that Londoners are facing.”

“We are hoping that the event has shined a bit of light on the work of London United and it might stimulate some thoughts on how we can extend that collaboration and deepen it further over the next 10 years.” 

Commenting on the role of football across society, Dean Russell, Member of Parliament for Watford, said: “It plays such an important role and I think the fact that the 16 football clubs have come together to work together off the pitch, obviously they’re going to be rivals on the pitch, but to work off the pitch to help communities, to inspire other people, to get involved, but ultimately to act as role models across our communities.” 

The Daggers Trust from Dagenham and Redbridge FC  is a proud member of London United and has received significant support, both financial and otherwise through its membership. At the event last evening, the Trust was represented by Steve Thompson MBE (Club CEO and Trust Chairman), Denis Lawrence (Trust Manager), Matthew Sharp (Trust Admin Assistant) and Shay a 15 year old student at Eastbrook School. Shay has participated in various Trust activities including PL Kicks, School Camps, Ball Boys and now a registered referee (Sponsored by the Trust). Once he reaches 16 the Trust will sponsor his FA Coaching Award. 

About London United

London United is formed of the 16 London based Professional Football Club Community Organisations (CCOs), associated with the Premier League, English Football League and National League. 

The CCOs come together to share knowledge and best practice, work with London-wide organisations to understand how football clubs and sport can help to address prevalent issues and deliver city-wide programmes to improve Londoners’ lives.

The professional football club Community Organisations that form London United are: Arsenal F.C., Barnet F.C., Brentford F.C., Charlton Athletic F.C., Chelsea F.C., Crystal Palace F.C., Dagenham and Redbridge F.C., Fulham F.C., Leyton Orient F.C., Millwall F.C., Queens Park Rangers F.C., Sutton United F.C., Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Watford F.C., West Ham United F.C., and AFC Wimbledon.

Further information


"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, … it is much, much more important than that."

Bill Shankly OBE, the manager of the great Liverpool teams of the sixties and seventies was one of the characters of football, characters so sadly missing today. His famous quotes are still repeated by an older generation. Probably his most famous quote was, “We had the best two teams on Merseyside – Liverpool and Liverpool Reserves.” Running close behind has to be, "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, …it is much, much more important than that."


During the last month, the activities of the Daggers Trust have prompted some people to comment that the Daggers is about far more than just 90 minutes of football on a pitch. Yes, the recent wins against Barnet and Wealdstone have brought smiles on faces, excitement, happiness, and positivity to fans, but the Trust works hard to bring those same emotions and more, to many more local people who participate in activities throughout the year.


Throughout August, hundreds of local children joined the Trust’s Summer Camp Holiday programme, supported by the Metropolitan Police, at May and Bakers Sports Club. The camps were open to all children aged from 5-14 and ran each day from 10am until 3pm. A wide variety of fun activities were provided by the staff and officers, encouraging the youngsters to not only have fun, but also to step outside comfort zones, make friends, communicate better, and develop other soft social skills.


PCSO John Joseph BEM is the Metropolitan Police Premier League Kicks’ Coordinator and had the following to say about the camps. “There were many great moments to savour at this year’s D&R Trust summer camp. Keeping a group of youths of different ages, cultures, mixed abilities, and capabilities, entertained, and helping them grow together through their time there was perhaps the biggest reward .


The fact this this turned out to be such fun, engaging, educational and inclusive time for all present was testament to the fantastic relationship that’s been built up between D&R Trust coaches and the local Met Police Officers who worked so well together seamlessly.


For me everyone  who took part in this event  went away with a lot more than what they arrived with and the pleasure in making parents aware of the amazing things their child had achieved during the day was the highlight of the close of every day.”


One of the young children who joined for four days of the final week was Aaron. Aaron is nine years old and copes daily with a number of disabilities. Earlier this week, Aaron’s mother sent the following feedback about Aaron’s experiences at the camp:


“I had an amazing feeling of security and ease knowing Aaron was safe, and his needs were being met. My son made new friends with staff and the other children. He learnt that police officers weren’t just people in uniform and that he could have fun with them,


The activities were amazing, and the camp layout was so well organized and friendly for all ages. Aaron was able to be himself and not judged by other people.


At first, I was nervous because Aaron had been kicked out within the hour at three other summer camps and one of them was for children with special needs, but Aaron is looking forward to returning to the October holiday camp. It was so nice to see the friendships Aaron had made as other children tend to make fun of children like Aaron. Aaron still talks about summer camp and how the staff were amazing.”


Aaron was just one of many young people to take part, have fun, make friends, develop skills, and leave with a positive attitude. The same could also be said about the Trust staff and the Metropolitan Police Officers from the local Safer Neighbourhood Team and the TSG. The positive outcomes have led to discussions with the local SNT officers about organising weekly after school activities adjacent to the Club in Pondfield Park. We cannot emphasise enough the Trust’s gratitude to those officers and their line managers for allowing them to engage with the youngsters. Long may it continue.


Aaron’s story is just one of several which have been particularly heart warming recently. The Sporting Memories group, which meets at the Club every Thursday is often joined by residents from Park View Care Home off Broad Street. Several residents were invited to the recent home fixture versus Gateshead and one resident John, in spite of the result, was so thrilled by the adventure that he wants to return again. That trip to the Daggers was the first time he had left the centre in four years. Only last week we reported on a group of residents enjoying the hospitality of Essex County Cricket Club in Chelmsford, arranged through the Daggers Trust.


On Tuesday of this week, the Trust worked for a third time with clients from the Avelon Road Day Centre for a two hour fun football session at Goals Dagenham. The centre provides day care for people living with learning needs. Fourteen of their clients, aged between 22 and 65 travelled to Goals taking part in a number of games, activities, penalty shoot outs and more. Paul, Crystal, Chris, Carol, Bradley and Mitch are just some of the people who left us with lasting memories of the two hours.


The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is one of the most diverse and deprived areas of London, but the power of sport has the ability to bring people together, enrich lives and promote positive attitudes, regardless of ability, background, religion, race, colour, wealth, or occupation. The Trust works to provide opportunities and activities working with, in and for the local community.


Details about the Trust can be found on their website


The October school holiday camp will take place at May and Bakers Sports Club. Register now by going to: or clicking on the QR Code


Guard of Honour 2023/24 

Register your interest if you have a club, team or organisation who wish to act as a Guard of Honour at one of the Daggers fixtures. If you would like to register interest, please register using the link below.

The Daggers Home Fixtures can be found on the Club's website. 

Graham Gooch at the Daggers

Ex England and Essex Cricket Legend Graham Gooch at Sporting Memories Thursday 18th May

Ex Essex and England cricket captain and ardent West Ham supporter Graham Gooch was our guest speaker at Sporting Memories on Thursday 18th May.  Graham was welcomed to the event by the Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Saima Ashraf and proceedings were chaired by Arfan Akram, the East London Cricket Operations Manager for Essex County Cricket Club.

Graham talked about his amazing career, filled with memories and anecdotes spanning many years, teams and countries. Graham spoke about many things, from his days at school through to the modern game. From Valentines Park to the MCG in Australia and from Sir Len Hutton through to Ben  Stokes. 

An audience of circa 60 people hung on every word as Graham recounted so many different stories over a full ninety minutes. He answered questions about his infamous pair in the first test against Australia, his iconic 333 runs against India at Lords in 1990, the rebel tour of South Africa in 1992, and many more.

Towards the end of the visit, Graham presented our 66 years young Sporting Memories Organiser, Brian Tunney, with his recently passed ECB Foundation Coaching Course Level 1 Certificate and his Community Award from Essex Cricket in the Community.

The Sporting Memories project is operated at the Daggers by the Daggers Trust in co-operation with Sporting Memories, LBBD and Essex Cricket in the Community.

The weekly Sporting Memories sessions run every Thursday in the Clubhouse from 10.30 until 12.00. Anyone over the age of 50 is welcome to attend. Refreshments are free of charge. It is an opportunity to make friends, relive old memories and just have a bit of fun. Just turn up on Thursdays and join in.

Sporting Memories 

Working with the LBBD, Sporting Memories and Essex Cricket Club in the Community, the Daggers Trust has been operating free 'Sporting Memories' sessions every Thursday at the club from 10:30-12:00. The group numbers have been growing and the Trust is pleased to announce that it is to receive funding to continue in the future. The sessions are run by Brian Tunney from Essex CCC. 

The sessions are open to anyone aged 50 or over, male or female and provide an opportunity to meet, talk and make friends. The conversations are not always sport based. Free tea and coffee are provided. No registration just turn up and talk.

Why not pop down and see us on Thursday?

We look forward to seeing you.

Daggers Trust in East and Southern Africa

The Daggers Trust has a close working relationship with many local community organisations and recently gave a selection of surplus football kit and equipment to one of those partners, the Powerhouse International Ministry based in Oxlow Lane, Dagenham. 


Pastor Ade Adesina from Powerhouse International has been visiting local communities in Zimbabwe and members of a local community in a small village called Epworth took part in the Dagenham and Redbridge FC tournament and development sessions between 27th and 30th April.


This is the third time that youngsters in Zimbabwe have received kit and equipment from the Daggers Trust, twice through Powerhouse International and once though the On the Rock Ministries based in Marks Gate. Previously, children from Kenya benefitted from 17 sets of Scotland strip which were donated by the Scottish FA after ex-Dagger Craig Mackail Smith played for Scotland against Cyprus.


Powerhouse International organises the annual Run4Life (Dagenham) and you may have seen their many banners attached to railings around the Borough prior to this year’s event which was held on 2nd April. 

Time flies when you are having fun

As one gets older, you become aware of how quickly time passes. Only this morning I reminded myself to put the bins out tonight for emptying tomorrow. It only seems like I did that a couple of days ago. I heard that when you are a young child, the six weeks’ holiday appears to go on forever because it makes up a significant part of your short life. Whereas, as one grows old, six weeks is just a very small fraction of your very long life.

It seems years ago (Three in fact!) since we went into total lockdown and the Trust was closed down completely for several months, even though some activities did manage to restart, it was on a restricted basis and the second lockdown made things even worse. It was some considerable time before we could move back into normal operation, but COVID had taken its toll. Several of our regular part time employees left when furlough payments stopped, and either schools were reluctant to take in ‘outside’ staff when they eventually returned, or we didn’t have the staff to send to those who were more relaxed.

That was over a year ago and I am pleased to report that in spite of all the setbacks, the Trust is back up and running and providing even more opportunities and activities for members of the local community, both young and old. With the ongoing support of external funders particularly the Premier League Charitable Fund, the National League Trust, and Essex Cricket in the Community we have been to offer a growing variety of activities throughout the year. Over the last two weeks we have held eight days of multi-sport school holiday camps for children at May and Bakers Sports Ground, accompanied by many officers from the Metropolitan Police. Over 160 children aged 5-14 applied for places and were encouraged to ‘Step outside their comfort zone’ and develop their soft social skills, including making friends, communication, target setting, as well as just having fun. Each child received a certificate from Digger the Dog, met the Daggers First Team and were given a free ticket voucher for today’s game. The funding for these activities was provided by the NL Trust, the Social Prescribing Community Chest and the in kind support from May and Bakers. These camps have taken place every school holiday and been extremely well received. Four days of activities are planned for the Whitsun Half Term (End of May, beginning of June). If interested, please register your child/ren now by visiting our website

Every Thursday morning, under the leadership of Brian Tunney from Essex Cricket in the Community, our regular group of over 50’s has met for 90 minutes to chat, play games, have a cup of tea and a biscuit, make friends, enjoy each other’s company, and have fun. Next month the group is looking forward to being joined by ex-England and Essex cricketer Graham Gooch. Anyone over 50 is welcome. Just turn up at the Clubhouse on the day.

Three coaches are working at three local schools during term time, offering girls’ only football, multisport and lunchtime activities. As the Trust trains and develops more local coaches, we hope to increase our presence in local schools. The Trust is grateful for the support it receives from the Barking and Dagenham Schools’ FA who were represented at the recent NL Trust Under 11 Cup at Boreham Wood by boys and girls from Northbury and Ripple (Westbury) Schools.

With funding from the NL Trust and in-kind support from Goals Dagenham, the Trust runs regular fun football sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, during school term time, for boys and girls aged 6-18. Over the coming months, these youngsters will be invited to attend drop in sessions at the Club covering a variety of topics. In conjunction with Essex Cricket, the FA, Dagenham and Redbridge FC and several local schools we will be offering opportunities for teenagers, parents, and others to become qualified cricket coaches, football coaches and referees. The Trust will offer mentoring and additional support with the prospect of paid or voluntary work going forward.

The Metropolitan Police will be holding coffee mornings and after school sessions to local members of the community, covering ‘Stranger Danger’ for young children, personal safety walks, avoiding scamming and online problems, plus other areas of concern. The topics will be driven by the members of the community. Other workshops are still in the planning stage but will provide opportunities for aspiring young players and coaches to meet members of the Daggers First Team and Staff to talk about training, diet, and participate in Q&A advice sessions. An ‘Open Day’ at May and Bakers Pre-season is just one idea we are currently working on with the Gaffer.

This season’s Daggers Celebrate Diversity Day in January was attended by many local families and supported in the car park by a variety of different organisations. It was so pleasing to see so many smiling faces. We thank BD Group for their continued support. We look forward to working with them again soon. Shame about the result.

In conjunction with the National Lottery and the Vanarama National League, the Club and the Trust distributed 12 season tickets to three different organisations, including two schools and a local disabled group allowing three different families to have a free day out at Victoria Road for each home game. The Trust regularly distributes free tickets to individuals, families, and schools as part in supporting in the local community. Today we welcome a small group of refugees from the war in Ukraine and hope that they watch us finish on a high in our last home fixture of the season.

Throughout the season our Club and Trust have been supported on matchdays by a small team of ball boys and girls, young programme sellers (That does include the ever young Brenda) and other volunteers. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their continued support. 

The Matchday Guard of Honour continues to become even more popular, and anyone interested in next season should contact the Trust as soon as the fixtures are published in late June/early July.

Contact for more information about any of the above activities or visit for more information.

National League U11 Cup     South East Finals

The Club and Trust were represented  by two different teams, Northbury School represented the girls and Ripple Road Primary School represented the boys.

 The Girls were unbeaten and top of the league, they then went onto reach the semi finals and drew 0-0, unfortunately they went out on penalties. The Boys won four out their six games however they came 3rd in the group and only the top two teams made it to the final.

We would like to congratulate all school pupils and staff that represented the Daggers and thank Boreham Wood Trust for organising such a brilliant event.

Progress Project Guard of Honour vs Wrexham

Our Guard of Honour at the Level Playing Field 'Unite For Access 2023' match versus Wrexham was from the Barking and Dagenham Progress Project. The Barking and Dagenham Progress Project Young People’s Development Forum is committed to helping young adults with disabilities age 8 to 25.

The Forum group meets regularly on a Friday night to discuss issues affecting them and to empower them to engage with the community through social participation with local groups, finding volunteer opportunities, work experience and having fun with evenings out, day trips, meeting up at local libraries & coffee shops. All of the sessions are free to join. For further details on how to join, contact Andy Murphy on 07881 247654 or email:

Unite For Access 2023

The Daggers and the Daggers Trust have designated the Vanarame National League fixture versus Wrexham as their 'Unite for Access' 2023 match

The Level Playing Field works to improve access for disabled fans across the country. Read their article below from the Wrexham programme.

How are you doing? We hope you’re enjoying the match versus Wrexham! We’d like to introduce ourselves. We are Level Playing Field, the leading charity in England and Wales campaigning and advocating on behalf of disabled sports fans.


Today, your club is using this match day to participate in our new national campaign, 'Unite For Access'. A celebration of disabled fans, accessibility, and inclusion at sports venues. Did you know that an estimated 22% of the UK population are disabled? That means it’s very likely that you know someone who is disabled, or you might be reading this as someone who is disabled yourself. 


Quick question - how did you get to the game today? If you came by train, did you know that 40% of railway stations don't have step-free access? Meaning that if you’re a wheelchair user or ambulant disabled, even getting to a match can be a considerable barrier to attending this game.


Talking of barriers, Level Playing Field conducted a survey last year which found that nearly 29% of disabled fans considered the 'Attitudes of others' to be a barrier when attending live sports.


We appreciate that talking about disability can be daunting sometimes, it's a complex subject matter. That’s why we invite all supporters, disabled and non-disabled, to engage with your club, Disabled Supporters Association (DSA) if it has one, and ourselves, because it's not just down to disabled people to highlight the importance of access and inclusion at your club…


Good disability access benefits everyone, so let’s… Unite for Your Team. Unite For Your Fans. #UniteForAccess


Visit to find out more and become a member for free, or you can find us across social media by searching Level Playing Field.


The Level Playing Field Unite For Access Campaign is an annual period of inspiration and celebration of good access and inclusion at sports venues. Level Playing Field works with sports clubs, disabled supporters’ associations, governing bodies, and other organisations in many ways.


Level Playing Field can offer support, information, and advice on a range of topics around disabled spectators’ access, and this is offered to spectators, Clubs, Disabled Supporter Association’s, NGOs, and other interested parties. They offer top tips and a range of training including disability inclusion and etiquette training, mediation, professional audits, and design appraisals.


Unite For Access is the new name of the LPF annual campaign, replacing its previous name ‘Weeks of Action’ from 2023. The campaign is provisionally set for the first two weeks of March every year and covers a two-week period including three weekends.

There are plenty of ways to get involved in Unite For Access. Hundreds of football clubs get behind the campaign each year by dedicating a matchday during this period to Level Playing Field, highlighting the work they do for disabled sports fans. 

In 2021, over 100 football clubs from across the English pyramid backed Weeks of Action at games across the Premier League, EFL, National League, and non-League, despite there being no fans in the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the campaign, the Daggers Trust is interested in your thoughts and experiences relating to Access and you can take part in the campaign by completing the survey form at

This Girl's Ability

This Girl's Ability needs your support as they strive to help disabled girls and young women flourish.


This Girl's Ability needs £9,000 to help them start their non-profit community company, which seeks to decrease the isolation of disabled girls and young women and forge deeper connections within their community. Disabled people were disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and This Girl's Ability is committed to supporting their recovery post-pandemic.


The £9,000 raised through Crowdfunder will be used to provide weekly sports and creative sessions for disabled girls and young women in Havering and Essex. 


Through regular group interaction, they aim to prevent and improve mental health, help members grow in confidence and learn new skills to improve employability, and provide sporting opportunities to this group not known to partake in physically active hobbies.


They aim to create a sustainable project by making the most of their current connections and creating new collaborative links with national governing bodies, sports clubs, local businesses, and community groups.


Georgie Hart, Director and Ambassador at This Girls Ability, said: “I believe this is an important project. Growing up as a disabled girl with cerebral palsy was very hard at times. A club in my local community would have helped me make friends, given me more confidence and made such a difference in my life.”


The money they hope to raise through Crowdfunder will enable them to empower disabled girls and young women. If we can raise £4,500, Sport England has confirmed they will pledge the other half! The community project will help to tackle inequalities and reach another area of regional deprivation. 


This Girl's Ability has big dreams for their future, and by donating or purchasing a reward, you will be part of their journey and help them hit the ground running! 


Donate at

Are you looking for a local team for your child to play in?   Use the Essex FA Squad Booster