The power of Bolton Wanderers FC is not limited to the pitch - it is also making a big difference to people living in the town, a new report has revealed.

Bolton Wanderers in the Community (BWitC) is using the town's famous football club to  'inspire, support and deliver positive change' in Bolton.

And the impact, explored in a report just out, the organisation is making is huge - reaching thousands of people - to narrow the gap of disadvantage in health, education, disability and inclusion.

BWitC CEO Phil Mason said:“Bolton Wanderers in the Community has continued to develop its great work in Bolton. I am delighted by the feedback I receive from so many who talk of the change since the new ownership of the club and the real desire to be a force for good in our town.

“Within the Impact Report there are some very moving testimonies and stories from participants who engage with us. I want to thank our trustees, staff, volunteers, funders, partners and sponsors who are collectively helping us to deliver positive change in our town.”

The Bolton News: Phil Mason, CEO of BWitC. Credit: BWitCPhil Mason, CEO of BWitC. Credit: BWitC

BWitC has been extending its reach to all corners of the borough.

The charitable arm of the Bolton Wanderers Football Club, BWitC seeks to bring cohesion and positively impact on the communities within Bolton – epitomised by their motto, ‘One Club, One Community, One Town’.

The work the charity does extends to the LGBTQ+ community, BAME communities and conducting anti-racism work, working in schools, and working those at risk of getting involved in criminality.

The charity also offers mentoring sessions for young people who struggle to control their behaviour, as well as helping to tackle loneliness and isolation among the older generations.

In total, BWitC worked with more 15,000 individuals by means of over 20 different projects, which focus on themes such as health and wellbeing, education, employability and inclusion and cohesion.

Around 3000 people were engaged and over 60 community groups were represented Bolton Unity Festival at the University of Bolton Stadium in April 2022 and more than 50 people from more than 20 different backgrounds engaged through Faith Family Football event in March 2022.

The charity’s work around Black History Month in October last year reached more than 300 people, and around 450 primary school children were engaged through Show Racism the Red Card workshops in February 2022 – these events, and others, often have Wanderers’ players and staff attending.

The charity also helped 376 students from SEND schools take part in virtual Panathlon, while more than 1,200 took part in face-to-face competitions in Bolton over the past year.

The Bolton News: People taking part in Bolton Unity Festival. Credit: BWitCPeople taking part in Bolton Unity Festival. Credit: BWitC

READ: Bolton Wanderers chairman Sharon Brittan 'delighted' with support for fundraising walk

Since it's inception as one of the founding members of the Football League and Professional Footballers Association's Football in the Community scheme, the foundation has until last year been known as the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust.

In 2021, however, the charity underwent a rebrand and is now know as BWitC.

"This year the Charity has also undergone a significant strategic change," said Chairman of Trustees David Singleton.

"This has included a full re-brand involving a change of name to ‘Bolton Wanderers in the Community’ alongside a new logo. This we believe better reflects our work and much closer ties to Bolton Wanderers Football Club.

"Our staff and trustees took part in a six month consultation process with the aim of refreshing the charity’s vision, mission, values and behaviours which will positively take the charity forward in the coming years."

Despite the pandemic causing considerable issues when it came to fundraising and hosting events in the past year, BWitC has managed to access restricted income, as additional funding were made available by the government to support organisations and charities through the impact of the pandemic.

The organisation has also been backed by Bolton Council, Bolton Public health, Bolton CVS, the EFL Trust, and the Premier League Charitable Fund, among others.

This funding has made it possible for the foundation to also be an employer in the borough. Ten unemployed young adults took part in Kickstarter schemes with the charity, with four now employed by BWitC. There were a further two apprentices on their books in the last year.

The Bolton News: People taking part in Bolton Unity Festival. Credit: BWitCPeople taking part in Bolton Unity Festival. Credit: BWitC

Mr Singleton said: “As the charity approached the year there was still huge uncertainty around how the Covid-19 pandemic would impact the delivery of projects, our ongoing funding and how staff returning to work would adapt to the new hybrid way of working.

“To the great credit of all the staff at Bolton Wanderers in the Community they have taken all of these challenges in their stride.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has contributed to the success of Bolton Wanderers in the Community this year.”