Derbyshire Police Federation

Members encouraged to join East Midlands emergency service football league

21 March 2024

An ambulance worker has invited Derbyshire Police Federation members to join a football league exclusively for emergency service staff in the East Midlands.

Joe Brailsford, a dispatch officer at East Midlands Ambulance Service, established the league last year among colleagues and is now looking to expand it to include teams made up of police workers.

“From the very beginning of setting the league up, there was massive interest,” said Joe. “It has kept growing and now I think it would be great to get some teams from outside the ambulance service involved.

“I know a lot of people really enjoy it. It allows you to build relationships with colleagues in a way you might not be able to in work.”

The 11-a-side league has so far seen Derbyshire-based teams play at locations such as Ilkeston Town FC, Matlock Town FC and Mickleover FC.

“It also gives you the opportunity to play at thousand-capacity grounds of semi-professional clubs. We get access to all the facilities – the changing rooms and all the rest,” Joe added.

Rather than running on a consistent schedule, fixtures are organised between team captains to be held as and when most players are available. Joe says this lower demand is suited to the busy lives and shift work of emergency service staff.


Joe Brailsford, a dispatch officer at East Midlands Ambulance Service.


He explained: “What captains will usually do is agree on a set of possible dates for a match, then put a vote out to each team - whichever date is most popular will then get chosen. It works well like this.

“Ideally, someone will volunteer to be captain when a new team is being put together. It’s all very easy and I will always be around to keep things ticking over.”

Reiterating its positive value to relationships between players, the league’s founder also discussed its wider benefits to both the physical and mental health of those participating.

“There was someone from my office that I didn’t see eye to eye with all the time. I’ve got to know him better through football and now he’s a mate. It’s a really healthy, accessible way to exercise and socialise,” Joe ended. “Players of any age, experience and ability from any role within the Police Force are welcome.”

Chair of Derbyshire Police Federation Tony Wetton is encouraging members to take up a sport or physical hobby ‘to help better their mental health and wellbeing’.

“It’s no secret that playing sport or taking up a physical hobby does wonders for a person’s mental health and wellbeing,” said Tony.

“I appreciate that due to the nature of policing, shift work often makes it difficult for officers to join a team or prioritise making time for themselves.

However, this is a flexible league, designed specifically with emergency service workers in mind. 

“I’d encourage all members who fancy a kickabout to make the most of this opportunity, which is right on our doorstep.”

To find out more and register interest in joining a team, Federation members should contact Joe by calling 07772090435 or emailing

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June 2024