The pioneering and inspiring work within the community of Bolton will be given a new name today after the charity formerly known as Bolton Wanderers Community Trust now becomes ‘Bolton Wanderers in the Community’ (BWitC).
Ever since 1874, when the football club was originally formed as Christ Church FC, Bolton Wanderers, as it became known in 1877, has served the diverse communities of Bolton.
In more recent times, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, the charitable arm of Bolton Wanderers, has driven successful community programmes for the residents of the town.
Bolton Wanderers in the Community will now assume this mantle and level up the ways in which the Club engages with our community.
From the takeover of the Club, Football Ventures have been passionate about the community work that Bolton Wanderers engages in within the town and Chairman Sharon Brittan has made no secret of the fact that one of the reasons she bought the Club was to do good in the community.
Commenting on the rebrand, Sharon said: “It has been important to get the football right this last season and to use that in a positive way to build our strong work in the community.
“We really want fans to get behind the work we do through Phil Mason and his team and to recognise that it is their club doing good in the community.
“I am passionate about the work and we will be engaging more of our community work this coming season. What is being carried out is transforming lives by using the power of sport and activity in a positive way.”
Following the appointment of Neil Hart as the Club’s CEO, Sharon believes that Bolton Wanderers in the Community will now be in an even stronger position to be at the forefront of community outreach initiatives.
She added: “Neil joins us from Burnley where prior to his appointment as CEO, led Burnley FC in the Community.
“His experience will complement the excellent work that has been carried out by Phil and his team.”
Manager Ian Evatt added: “I am looking forward to being able to engage with the wider community through the work our Club does and to get the players involved further. It has been a difficult first season with COVID restrictions but I know the important work we are doing out there and want our club to be known as a family and community club.”
The work of the community over the past few years has become more vital and on occasion has even supported the Club itself during some very challenging times. Over the past 12 months the work has adapted to support Bolton in the challenges of COVID and the work carried out on challenging loneliness has featured on national TV.
Here is just one story from a participant:
“Having lost my husband completely unexpectedly, followed by the first COVID shutdown, I was feeling completely shut off and isolated with no one to speak to, to share things with or just to say hello. My only relatives left are my own two grown up children as my husband and I had no siblings. As my children both live over two hours’ drive away and there was no contact allowed in the first lockdown, it was a very difficult time.
“I was put in touch with the Bolton Wanderers group by a community liaison officer from my GP. Not knowing what to expect, I have to confess to making the initial call somewhat cautiously. I need not have worried! Carl, in charge of the community Extra Time Hub, put me at ease immediately and explained how the group worked.
“Belonging to this community group has been the most enormous help, from being so alone in a very dark place, to re-emerging again with many new contacts and friends. The addition this group has made to my well-being is hard to put into words, it has helped enormously because of the loneliness caused by my bereavement and COVID and having to readjust my lifestyle.”
The award winning work of the community that has been carried out is set to grow even further under the rebrand and is seeking the backing of all supporters of the Club.
Phil Mason, CEO of Bolton Wanderers in the Community, said: “We want supporters to get behind their own club’s charity and feel part of the work that is carried out in all areas of Bolton. It is such a positive time within the life of our club and it is wonderful to have owners who care and support this vital work and want to make a difference in Bolton.”
Bolton Wanderers in the Community are carrying out over 33 programmes in the community and engaging with people of different ages, cultures and social backgrounds. One of the new key values for this work reads: “We Are Passionate About People...We acknowledge that people are integral to everything we do. We champion and realise the potential they have and support, encourage and celebrate them.”
Dave Singleton, Chair of Trustees said: “As Trustees we are delighted with the rebrand and proud of the community work carried out from the Club’s charity. It puts into practice that we are ‘One Club, One Community, One Town.’”
Photo: Manager Ian Evatt, BWitC CEO Phil Mason and BWFC CEO Neil Hart celebrate the formal announcement of Bolton Wanderers in the Community.
For further information about Bolton Wanderers in the Community, please visit www.bwitc.org.uk