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01 Dec 2022

Blog: Phil Mason, CEO of Bolton Wanderers in the Community

One Club, One Community, One Town

My name is Phil Mason and I have the privilege of being the CEO of Bolton Wanderers in the Community which is the charity arm of Bolton Wanderers Football Club. It is great to have this opportunity to share something of who we are and what we do with you as we continue to build our partnership with Peel L&P with the intention of making Bolton a better place.

Our charity reaches the community by using the power of Bolton Wanderers Football Club to inspire, support and deliver positive change. One of our key aims is to enable communities to thrive and succeed and our vision is a connected Bolton without disadvantage.

With a great staff team and volunteers, we run 10 different programmes and over 30 individual projects out in the community of Bolton and over this year have engaged with over 15,000 individuals. The programmes we run offer targeted interventions that get alongside people and enable them to become the best people they can be. We work with both younger and older people and so many of our programmes are for those who are having a tough time and often need support with their mental health and well-being. Around 62% of our staff have come through our projects and are in such a good place to be role models to the many they are getting alongside and supporting in the community.

But enough talk of facts and stats let me share with you a couple of stories that hopefully helps bring the work of the charity to life.

Meet Amjid. Prior to attending the FIT TROTTERS programme Amjid had been signed off from work due to depression caused by a family trauma incident. He became a shadow of himself and struggled to complete mundane day-to-day tasks.

Since attending FIT TROTTERS he said: “My confidence has grown throughout the course and I have been able to maintain this on a daily basis and I have a sense of real pride of how far I have come.”

Amjid’s mental health started to improve and with this so did his physical well-being as he lost 3kg over the 12 weeks.

Consequently, the staff and FIT TROTTERS have had a huge impact on him and his recovery from depression. Amjid has returned to his beloved job as an emergency service officer, initially on reduced hours where he will now make a difference in people’s lives much like Jack and his team did for himself.

Amjid explained: “I strongly believe that FIT TROTTERS and the coaches have a big part to play in me returning back to work, to a job that I love doing and had missed so dearly while I was off work suffering with depression.”

Here is Hilary. Extra Time Hub gives over 50s the chance to build friendships, stay active and tackle loneliness. Speaking about BWitC support, Hilary had the following to say:

“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 hour’s drive away and there was no contact allowed in the first lockdown, it was a very difficult time.”

“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 recently acquired allotment has added so much, as now we can meet outside, not only for walks, but also to grow our own produce. People have been encouraged to take anything they would like to grow and as there are two plots, there will be plenty of fruit and veg!”

“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.”

We are an award-winning charity and in early October we visited the North-West Street Games Network Event, at which we were awarded Regional Winners for the ‘Best Youth-led Activity or Event’ for our LGBTQ+ Youth Club delivered in partnership with Bolton Council’s Youth Service. Later in the same month, we were privileged enough to receive the national award!

When Sharon our new Chair at Bolton Wanderers took over the Club, she was really keen that one of the ambitions was to do good in the community and that is exactly what we are about.

As an anchor institution in the town, we want to make sure we play are part in partnership with other to do good, make a real difference in Bolton.

I am delighted that Peel L&P feel the same way and are keen to partner with us in our work and help us build upon what we do.

I’ll sign off now but just to say if you would like to know more about our work, please read our Impact Report. 

If you would like to support our work by becoming a community partner, please contact us for further information.

We are One Club, One Community, One Town.

All the best,

Phil

More about Peel L&P’s partnership with BWitC 

Peel L&P has been working with BWitC for a few years now and is really supportive of the club’s community development activities and understand the key role it plays in increasing local health and wellbeing aspirations.  Peel L&P is sponsoring three family day matches this season and exploring further partnership opportunities with BWitC.  

More about Peel L&P's community and charitable work here