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14 November 2017

Host Dan Walker (left) with (from left) James Edwards, Tom Drake, Gareth Nolan, Tom Flower, Rachel Scott and Fergus Heyes of the Wigan Athletic Community Trust and Gordon Taylor OBE, chief executive of the PFA, at the 2017 Northwest Football Awards.

Proud night for Latics as further recognition for the Wigan Athletic Community Trust comes in the form of the 2017 Leesa Northwest Football Awards Community Club of the Year.

  • Wigan Athletic named the 2017 Leesa Northwest Football Awards Community Club of the Year
  • Award follows the Trust winning the EFL 2017 North West Checkatrade Community Club of the Year and the club also receiving the Premier League Equality Standard – Intermediate Level.
  • Head of Community, Tom Flower: “It is an amazing achievement for everyone involved with the football club; the players, the staff, the academy, the Community Trust and the DW Stadium.”

Wigan Athletic Community Trust were delighted to win the 2017 Lees Northwest Football Awards Community Club of the Year award on Monday evening, continuing a run of incredible recognition for Wigan Athletic off the pitch in the calendar year.

After last week’s news that the club had received the Premier League Equality Standard Intermediate Level, which followed on from the Trust winning the EFL 2017 North West Checkatrade Community Club of the Year award, Monday night’s achievement adds further recognition in another landmark year for the Trust.

As a charity, the Community Trust now attracts over £1.1million of investment into Wigan every year and has over 45 members of staff who deliver 25 different projects around improving health, enhancing life chances and trying to create better communities for over 12,000 people in Wigan every year.

Speaking after the event, Head of Community Tom Flower was delighted the hard work of everyone across the Community Trust, Football Club and DW Stadium had been recognised.

“It is something we are very proud of at the Community Trust and as a football club too,” Tom said. “We certainly wouldn’t be able to do it without the football club and the support from the players on a weekly basis, people like Emmerson Boyce – now a Community Trust trustee – Phillip Williams (Chair of Trustees) and the academy and the DW Stadium.

“The owner, chairman and chief executive are fully committed in their support to us – Mr. Whelan’s work in the Community should never be underestimated and the Wigan Youth Zone itself signifies that.

“The work we do shows the difference the football club can make to the lives of people in Wigan and we should never lose sight of that and we should be very proud of that.”

Tom also spoke of the work that has gone on behind the scenes at the Community Trust to ensure that the work they do targets the most in need areas of the Wigan Community.

“Over the past 18 months, we have taken the opportunity to step back and think ‘What does Wigan need?’.

“We have a lot of investment from the Premier League and the EFL Trust and that enables us to do our projects but it is important we do the right ones.

“We speak to local community groups, Wigan Council and others to find out what are the needs of the people of Wigan; for example, some young people in the borough won’t get a hot meal during the school holidays and we partnered with Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles to put on sports camps for young people to attend, where they also enjoyed a hot meal for six weeks.

“We work with 72 out of 105 primary schools in Wigan, which is incredible if you think about the size of the borough and we work with 15 out of 18 secondary schools too. Our KICKS project works with over 1,500 young people, three nights a week and provides an opportunity for young people to stay clear of trouble in their community and enjoy activity with their friends at local facilities.

“For some of those young people, it is just about playing football and sport; for others, though, it is about improving their reading and writing and perhaps for older children, learning about business and enterprise.

“We also work with a number of young adults, who have left school and perhaps aren’t sure on the direction they would like to take their career and we offer opportunities around our apprenticeships for young coaches to develop.

“It is not just young people we work with, though, our Football 4 Forces project engages with a strong-Armed Forces Community that live in the Borough and our Walking Football tournaments attract a number of football fans over the age of 50, looking to remain active.”

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