Football Fans in Training

FFIT group pose for a photo outside the Ayresome Gates

The Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme is designed by the Scottish Football League Trust and targets men aged between 35 and 65 with a waist size +38inches and BMI over 27. In the first year of delivery the programme has engaged over 80 men resulting in a combined weight loss of over 50stone.

The aim of the course is for participants to lose between 5-10% of their body weight and lower their blood pressure. It gives the football fans a chance to get a behind the scenes look at their favourite football club through stadium tours and visits to the training ground.

Each week, the course, which is based at the stadium, covers a number of different health related topics including thinking about alcohol consumption, food labelling, keeping food diaries and making better food choices. The participants record their progress throughout the programme in their workbooks. The sessions also have guest speakers which have included Head Chef of the football club (among others). In addition to the classroom based activities the participants also take part in weekly exercise sessions which are held in the concourse of the stadium or out in the stands. These include walking football, tennis, circuit training, boxercise and jogging.

One of the ways participants have been encouraged to continue their exercise is through a Walking Football session at our Herlingshaw Centre. Each Sunday people who have completed the course meet up and play the new easily accessible version of the game.

On the completion of the programme each of the successful participants is rewarded with a free Middlesbrough F.C football shirt and certificate. They are also guided into exercise and physical activity sessions in the local area so they can continue the good work that they have started.

For more information on the Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme please contact

MFC Foundation Join Daughters And Dads Active And Empowered Project

We’re delighted to announce we will be part of the Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered project for the next two years.

Women in Sport, in partnership with the Fatherhood Institute, EFL Trust and the University of Newcastle (Australia), is excited to announce that we are the latest to join a growing band supporting this initiative.

We’ll join Leyton Orient Trust, The Albion Foundation (West Bromwich Albion), Foundation of Light (Sunderland AFC) and the Stoke City Community Trust for year two of the project, alongside Fulham FC Foundation, who were part of the project’s inaugural pilot year.

In total, six clubs will deliver the programme for the next two years, supported by Sport England’s Families Fund through National Lottery funding.

The Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered programme has been developed by the University of Newcastle (Australia) and Professor Philip Morgan and his team.

The programme aims to increase physical activity levels, sports skills and social-emotional wellbeing of girls 5-11 years by challenging stereotypes about playing sport and physical activity and increase fathers’ confidence and ability to act as role models in relation to their daughter’s participation.

Rachel Horsley, Girls Football Lead Officer here at MFC Foundation, said: The philosophy behind the programme is very much in keeping with many of our own. We reach across the area with many programmes, but this one is just that little bit different. Programmes like Daughters and Dads help everyone come together, not just the dads and their daughters. Some find it easier than others to show their feelings, or to actively support and encourage. This programme helps on so many levels. It helps emotionally and physically and brings an understanding that the two work together – just like dads and their daughters.”

Eleven families took part in the project’s inaugural year, and the programme had a great impact on those that took part.  Initial findings suggest:

  • Father and father-figures on the programme mentioned growing a stronger bond with their daughters and suggested they would increase the amount of family activity they do as a result of taking part.
  • All the girls that took part in the project showed a strong belief that girls are just as capable as boys at physical activity and should be able to enjoy the same opportunities, both individually and with their family.

Women in Sport and the project partners will explore these initial findings in greater depth with a larger sample size to understand any significant impact in year two and three.

Lee Warren, Innovation Manager for the DAD Project, said: We’re delighted to have five new clubs involved in this project for the next two years alongside continuing our partnership with Fulham who have built strong foundations. We’ve already started to see the impact that the Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered programme can have on its participants and the long-term lifestyle changes that it can deliver. We’re looking forward to seeing these clubs support more families in their local communities to get active.”

Mike Diaper, Executive Director Children, Young People and Tackling Inactivity, at Sport England said: Following a successful first year of testing the Daughters and Dads programme, we are really pleased that our National Lottery investment can now help to extend its reach into new areas across England.   We know that we need to continue to do more to help girls and less affluent families get active, and one thing that hinders this are gender stereotypes that can cause families to believe that physical activity is less important for girls than boys.  We also know that parents and carers often see their role as helpers and less as role models in encouraging their children to be active. This programme, based on a model from Australia, is addressing these challenges and we look forward to seeing the results of this in the North East, West Midlands and London.”

For more information on the Research and Advice Service and Women in Sport’s work visit