WANDERERS’ Community Trust has estimated it will lose around £200,000 in income during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club’s charity arm, which delivers services to improve health, education and inclusion in Bolton, has had to cancel a number of fundraisers – including its annual golf day.

Only a small number of staff have been furloughed as the Trust continues to reach out to vulnerable supporters and fans around the town.

Now Bolton fans are being urged to join in this Sunday’s 2.6 Challenge, which is being held in lieu of the Virgin Money London Marathon.

The event, which should have taken place on Sunday, April 26, is the world’s biggest one-day fundraiser, generating more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities last year.

Organisers have now created a ‘lockdown friendly’ event – which the Trust hope Wanderers fans will join in to help raise vital funds for their cause.

“We run over 30 different programmes across Bolton, all which use sport and other activities as positive engagement tools in order to enhance people’s lives and assist in narrowing the gap of disadvantage in our community,” said a statement from the trust, which won the Community Club of the Year prize at last year's North West Football Awards.

“Those we work with are often come from the most disadvantaged groups and deprived areas of Bolton. Some of those groups we work with includes children in the care system, disabled children and adults, those suffering from poor mental health, older isolated and lonely adults, BAME, the unemployed and those from low income families/backgrounds. All of these we are keeping in touch with and supporting during this challenging period.

“Additionally during this uncertain period the Community Trust has continued to operate to help those most at risk. Calling and speaking to Bolton Wanderers Football Club’s 1000+ over 70-year-old season ticket holders, arranging food parcels when necessary and maintaining weekly phone calls to those who request them.

“Our staff have volunteered with Bolton’s community and voluntary response team, helping with food shops, walking dogs of elderly residents and general welfare phone calls. We continue to promote ways for the Bolton community to stay healthy and active during this lockdown period. Sharing physical activity content and ideas to our participants and supporters.

“Covid-19 has resulted in the Community Trust losing an estimated £200,000 in income through fundraising events and project work. We hope that supporters of Bolton Wanderers Football Club will join the 2.6 Challenge to help Bolton Wanderers Community Trust and our Bolton community.”

The 2.6 challenge asks participant to come up with an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 – i.e. the number of miles in a marathon. It can be anything from walking or running 2.6 miles, 2.6 kms - or 26 press-ups, 26 minutes walking round the garden. It can be a sponsored activity, or a donation - £2.60 or £26 – but fans are urged to share their efforts on social media.

For more information, go to twopointsixchallenge.justgiving.com/donate and search ‘Bolton Wanderers Community Trust’.