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26 January 2018

The club signed the Armed Forces Covenant with Wigan Council in 2015 and provide free tickets to the Armed Forces community.

  • Football 4 Forces is an innovative football and health programme.
  • Sessions run every Monday at 5.30pm-7pm at Robin Park Arena.
  • Scheme is supported by Wigan Borough CCG.

Wigan Athletic’s commitment to the borough’s Armed Forces community has been impressive – with the club’s award winning charity providing weekly football activities for working age veterans living in Wigan with the aim to improve their health and help them feel less socially isolated.

For Jeff Derbyshire, who spent six years in the Army, Football 4 Forces has been transformational, helping him to lead a healthier lifestyle and make new friends.

In partnership with Wigan Council, the club signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2015, and provides complimentary tickets for the Armed Forces community, support Armed Forces charities through match day collections and support employees who have spouses or partners in the Armed Forces.

As part of the club’s Together Week, which celebrates the work of Wigan Athletic Football Club, Wigan Athletic Community Trust and the DW Stadium around equality and diversity, we spoke to Jeff to learn more about how Football 4 Forces had impacted his life since leaving the Army.

He said: “I’ve been taking part in the programme for over 12 months and it’s been one of the best times of my life. It’s given me the opportunity to meet new people who obviously have a similar background to myself and it’s been great mixing and interacting with them.

“The scheme is a way of keeping fit, but the big thing for me is meeting the other lads because so many of them have done some amazing things during their lives and have great stories to share.”

The programme also gives participants the chance to train to become qualified football coaches or to take part in a refereeing course.

“I’ve taken part in a number of courses as part of Football 4 Forces, all of which have given me some invaluable skills that I’ll now be able to use myself as I aim to become a football coach.”

Football 4 Forces had made a difference to Jeff’s life and he explains how the scheme has made him a happier person.

“I’ve stopped smoking because of this programme and have taken part in the Wigan 10k too, so the health benefits have been incredible for me. The run was something I didn’t think I could do so I was proud of myself for completing that.

“I’ve got a lot fitter and a lot healthier and my life is much more positive now. I’m feeling younger and fresher.”

For more information about Football 4 Forces, please call 01942 318090 or email Sport Engagement Coordinator Fergus Heyes

Wigan Athletic Football Club, Wigan Athletic Community Trust and the DW Stadium are committed to respecting and promoting equality and diversity across all its activities through Together.

Click here for more information about Together.

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