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Ellisse Vernon | BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing
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Bolton Wanderers Community Trust (BWCT)
BWCT (now trading as Bolton Wanderers in the Community) is a registered charity founded in 2001 with current annual income of over £1million. It is closely associated with Bolton Wanderers Football Club (BWFC) whilst maintaining its independence as a charity. BWCT is a high profile champion of community well-being in the Bolton area. It is led by Phil Mason (also BWFC Deputy CEO, club chaplain and safeguarding officer; Phil is also an honorary doctor of UOB) and its highly experienced and qualified Board of Trustees includes 3 other UOB honorary doctors (Bill Dawson, Alan Walsh and Dave Singleton) as well as Bill Webster (Bolton College Principal). BWCT was voted NW Community Trust of the year in 2019 and is highly regarded for its governance and oversight by regulators including the Premier League and EFL.
BWCT carries out a variety of charitable activities across disadvantaged groups in Bolton (including disability, age-related and youth) as well as sports and football coaching activities. It has a very extensive network of high quality coaching resource including access to UEFA A and B coaching standard qualifications.
BWCT and the Bolton College (‘BC’) Elite Development Squad (‘EDS’)/UOB Bolton Borough FC (‘UOBBBFC’)
BWCT carries out a turnkey operation for BC delivering a highly successful Elite football programme on which there are now 2 year groups (with a cohort of c16 in each year) studying mainly BTEC qualifications at BC. A girls’ squad has been established for commencement in Sep 21. By next year there will be 3 cohorts (approximately 40 students). In addition some HE Foundation students at BC will participate in the EDS. The team is of a very high quality competing in the National Youth Football League and regularly beating BWFC Academy equivalent age groups.
As a result it was an obvious move to establish a more senior team to create a pathway to HE study at UOB for the BC students, but also to attract students nationally and internationally to UOB study using the HE-focused UOBBBFC elite programme. Students can study any UG or PG programme and will need to be released for 8 hours coaching per week running from mid August to May each year. It is envisaged that there will be at least 6 Squads (3 Boys and 3 Girls) of around 18-20 students per squad as the cohorts fill from BC, nationally and internationally each year.
UOB has agreed to fund the set up costs (consultancy, match and admin costs year 1; thereafter coaching income is forecast to cover costs) such that UOBBBFC can enjoy match and coaching facilities at BWFC’s Lostock academy as well as occasional use of the UOB stadium itself. An ‘all-in’ coaching cost of 20% of student fees is to be applied.
It is worth noting that BWFC has a rich history being founder members of the Football League, four-times winners of the FA Cup and with relatively recent Premier League status. The stadium facilities, Academy and infrastructure is frequently commented on as being PL standard. The club will compete at EFL League One level this season (the third tier of English professional football). Obviously being in the heart of the ‘silicon valley’ of football in the NW means frequent inter-action with globally renowned professionals and players.
In order to attract overseas students to study at UOB while pursuing elite football development (playing or coaching), BWFC and BWCT intend to re-establish an international academy which will be managed by BWCT (a CiC subsidiary is established to deliver the commercial football provision of which Bill Dawson will be Chair). The previous international academy fell away due to the well-reported problems at BWFC (now under new and respected ownership who have made clear their strong support for BWCT activities).
The provision will include:
Short overseas visits by qualified coaching staff to run training sessions for overseas organisations including colleges, other educational institutions, sports and football clubs, large corporates etc). The intention would be to liaise with UOB staff and agents whilst on location to encourage these establishments to send students to UOB for short or long-term study or for ‘summer schools’ etc.
Indicative cost would be travel and subsistence plus £200 a day per coach.
BWFC senior squad visits (to VIP contacts) – can be arranged but will need prior notice and detailed planning to fit with pre-season and season fixtures and fitness requirements. Cost TBA on a bespoke basis.
Training camps – to be held at the Lostock academy with guest coaches as well (ex players and access to current squad and management) to include, if desired, accommodation at the Whites Hotel.
UOBBBFC Squad member -suitable for UG and PG students who are studying in Bolton for at least a year. UOBBBFC were admitted to the Manchester League on 28 June 2021. The Manchester League is part of the official English football pyramid at the pinnacle of which is the Premier League. As per above a number of squads will be run (and hence in different leagues) and it is worthy of note that the Ladies squad is currently intended to form the official Bolton Wanderers Ladies club. A high standard will be required for the first team squad in particular although we expect to be able to accommodate a variety of standards within the various squads and social football provision to which BWCT has access. All will receive excellent coaching and access to BWFC facilities and staff.
Benefits to include
-a minimum of one match day per week c38 matches including league and cup
-8 hours face-to-face coaching (experienced high quality inc UEFA badge A and B standard) to include physio, strength and conditioning etc
-senior squad match pitch at Lostock academy, occasionally at UOB stadium (2-3 times pa)
-access to BWFC facilities, players, staff (work placements/experience/work-based projects)
-‘turnkey’ operation to include travel, admin, kit etc
-Indicative cost – 20% of annual student fee; minimum of £1750 per student with a target per student across international of £3000-4000. This is for a turnkey provision (training, coaching, travel, match fees etc) excepting accommodation (the Whites Hotel could be utilised short or long term as above).
There should be significant mutual benefit to BWFC, BWCT and UOB Group in collaborating on the BWISA, using the attraction of high quality sporting experience to bring students to UOB, and the pull of HE to attract footballers to the Bolton area.
- Areas for discussion could include:
- Marketing resource materials content and mechanics
- Countries on which to focus
- Practical issues of delivery
- Liaison and lead personnel
- Next steps
Additional sports can be added to this model and consideration should be given to liaison at other international student entry levels across the UOB Group (eg GCSE and A-Level in addition to FE UG and PG)