Carlisle United have spoken of their pride after being recognised by the EFL for the way they reached out to their community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Blues and their fellow EFL clubs have collectively received the YouGov Community Project of the Year award at the 2021 EFL Community Awards.

It is in recognition for the way professional football clubs have gone above and beyond in helping people in need at such a challenging time.

In United’s case, that included the club’s Community Sports Trust, led by John Halpin, producing fitness videos, working with primary school children, delivering goodie bags to vulnerable kids and food parcels and medicine to people, and Zoom calls to elderly people in residential homes.

They are also involved with the city’s affordable food hub, and delivered selection boxes to the Children’s Ward at the Cumberland Infirmary.

United’s players, meanwhile, have been making regular foodbank collections, as well as supporting a homeless project and carrying out online initiatives.

Spokesman Andy Hall said the Blues were proud to have stepped up to help people.

He said: “Both the club and the Community Sports Trust rose to the unique challenge presented by the pandemic in the way that we worked together to maintain and in many ways strengthen the bonds with our local community.

“The CST staff volunteered to continue to work through this crisis helping to reach out to vulnerable people who live in our local area from all walks of life.

“They provided real services in terms of delivering and collecting food for those most in need, as well as utilising online platforms to keep in touch with the members who comprise their groups and projects.

“As a club we were commended for our social media presence which helped the council and our Cumbria-based partnerships to disseminate vitally important messages and updates, and the manager, his staff and players reached out regularly with personal messages to deserving fans, as well as with regular news and updates.

“The players were instrumental in initiating a project which raised over £2,500 worth of goods and supplies for a local homeless project, and for young families who had been hit hard by the pandemic, and online fundraisers provide smiles, fun and interaction at times when they were most needed.

“As a club we are extremely proud of the way we all, fans included, stepped up to the plate through such a unique and tough set of circumstances, and collectively we can feel very proud that we are part of this award.”

The EFL said that, at a time in March 2020 when football was brought to a halt for the first time since the Second World War, “clubs came together as a force for good”.

They added: “From Cardiff to Carlisle and Bristol to Blackpool, they continued to provide vital support to some of the country’s most vulnerable people.”