Walsall FC Foundation - Annual Report 2022

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In par tnership with

Annual Report 2022

Charity Number: 1087147


Foundation Director Adam Davy

2022 has been a year of positive changes and a full return to action. It goes without saying that the previous 2 years had their obvious challenges and, with caution and consideration to all the challenges we have faced through the pandemic, it was nice for our activities to have a sense of normality return.

The year began with staff turnover challenges but we continued to use our expertise and experience to develop staff within the Foundation. March saw a continuation of our Kickstart recruitment and offer local young people an opportunity for employment. The long term vision for Kickstart led to us employing 6 new Apprentices in September.

September also saw us offer our existing Apprentices full time Assistant Officer positions within the Foundation. This means that we ended the last half of the year with continuity and, thanks to our Managers delivering an internal Quality Assurance Programme, a skilled and educated workforce.

We changed the name of the scheme to “Walsall FC Foundation” to better represent the work that is now carried out by our staff as we enter our 35th year of operations. The Board of Trustees also saw change and we are grateful to Brian Adshead for taking the role as Chair. A huge thank you goes to the Trustees who left their positions in 2022. Some by rotation and some due to work commitments. Thank you to Dan Mole, Stefan Gamble, Richard Tisdale and Amy Bills.

We are delighted to welcome Graham Whittaker, Wes Hill and Don Goodman to the Board. All come with skills and experience that will continue to help us grow as an organisation and, ultimately, positively impact the town that we serve.

Summer 2022 also offered two very exciting developments within the Club and Foundation. Firstly, we secured a Principal Partnership with HomeServe. HomeServe have had a long standing relationship with the wider club and they now support 3 key activities that we are delighted to deliver. Thanks to their funding you will see the impact the activities have had in the pages of this report and we are looking forward to taking the Partnership further in 2023.

Secondly, the Club saw the takeover by Trivela, an American Sports Investment company. The new owners have shown a real appetite for the Club to impact the local community and shown real interest in the work we do. They have committed this desire by funding a new school based project and to also have a member of Trivela now installed as a valuable member of the Board of Trustees.

A mention should also be made for the new Club sponsors, Poundland. Whilst they are, chiefly, the Club sponsor they have offered opportunities to the wider community that we have been able to share and support via the Foundation.

After a difficult couple of years we have retained an air of positivity and optimism and made great strides through the year. I am proud out the work we have carried out through the last 12 months and delighted to share them with you.

A year ago I was asked to become Interim Chair of the Walsall FC Foundation following Daniel Mole’s standing down. Big shoes to fill and a hard act to follow, but it was an honour and a privilege to be asked and here we are. Whether I will still be in post will be decided at the Annual General Meeting but, either way, it’s been an interesting year.

The Football Club was going through Managerial changes and then Ownership changes which brought much needed support and enthusiasm to the Club. Meanwhile the Community Programme became the Foundation and everyone involved looked to wash away the lingering effects of the Pandemic and continue to deliver the quality programmes we have become known for within our Community.

I am pleased to be able to say that the targets we set have been achieved and exceeded thanks to the fantastic work of Director Adam Davy and his team. This has meant that the Foundation’s finances are in good order and give us a good platform for the coming year.

I would like to offer a big thanks to a number of people that make our work possible. Thank you to Adam Davy who has led the Foundation with enthusiasm and steered me through the correct channels. Also, a thank you to Adam’s Management Team of Paul Larvin, Martin Manley, Chris Springthorpe and Marc Wilkes, together with all of the other Members of Staff who all go above and beyond.

Thank you to my colleague Trustees who have given their time freely for the benefit of the Foundation, and especially thank you to Amy Bills who has had to leave us recently due to a work promotion and a workload which was becoming unbearable. But, should circumstances change, she will always be welcomed back.

To everyone who has helped us in any way “thank you” and hopefully we can count on your support over the next twelve months.

Brian Adshead Interim Chair Photo credit: Kevin Grice


To use the vehicle of sport and physical activity to make a positive difference to the lives of people within the Walsall community.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6 - 11. 12 - 17. 18 - 23. 24 - 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. Introduction Our Vision Organisational Chart Homeserve Education Health Sport Engagement Trivela Foundation + PFA Hayward Transport The Year Ahead Partners, Sponsors and Friends CONTENTS

July 2022 saw the launch of a 3 year Principal Partnership with HomeServe. Three new projects were created and launched between July and September:

“Holiday & Play”

“Providing residents across Walsall with the opportunity to join us in the academic year school holidays and be active and engaged through sport. Promoting positive wellbeing and gains on mental and physical health”

“Match Day Experiences”

“Offering the local community the chance to attend and experience live Football with Walsall FC combined with physical activity sessions and exciting match day experiences that will create memories for a lifetime”

Kick Off”

“Using the power of football to engage with young people and support their transition in to the world of work through physical activity sessions, employment workshops and 1-2-1 tutor sessions”






In 2022 our Education department continued to build on the foundations set after a challenging yet successful return to action in 2021.

From the many hours delivered within Walsall Schools to thousands of families being welcomed to Walsall FC matchdays we are proud to have accomplished so much over the year.

Our key programmes such as our School Partners and Premier League Primary Stars continued strong with 100% of schools having benefited from our engagement. It has been great to offer our active support to local pupils and has created pathways for multiple of our apprentices to progress into full time staff members that are keen to maintain the positive relationship between us. We strive in bringing additional benefits to our education partners that are unique

to Walsall FC Foundation. Across 2022 this has included; the opportunity to watch professional football matches with over 20,000 tickets being distributed since commencing and participation in nation wide football tournaments whereby students can earn their place at Wembley Stadium.

Working along side and representing Walsall Football Club has also made it possible to further support other notable projects and nationwide events throughout the year. For example in 2022 we were happy to support Show Racism the Red Card day within local primary schools with special visits from Walsall FC first team players to inspire students. We have also been actively participating in the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust programme activities where by young people form disadvantaged backgrounds are taught valuable life lessons and mentored toward positive outcomes.

7664 Individual participants

6 Local Partner Schools

3200 Students Taught Each Week

1224 Players Welcomed to School Tournaments


800 Students on Premier League Primary Stars


444 Teachers Engaged 102 Young People on CRLT Events

6 Partner Schools


Participants Across Education Programmes Students Taught Every Week in Local Schools

1224 Players Welcomed to School Tournaments

2800 School Partners Game Tickers Provided


100 Targeted Intervention Sessions

16 Teachers Supported

20+ Schools Engaged

5 Social Action Projects

Premier League Primary Stars uses the appeal of the Premier League and professional football clubs to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills. Available to every primary school in England and Wales, it inspires girls and boys aged 5-11 in the classroom, the playground and on the sports field.

The programme covers topics from PE, English, Maths, and much more with sessions based around key Premier League values such as teamwork, resilience and respect. Throughout 2022 we were happy to work within over 20 local schools and deliver 100 targeted intervention sessions in the previously mentioned topics.

PLPS actively connects to the real world of sport and global issues to enthuse pupils when tackling challenging PSHE (Personal, Social, Health, Economic education) topics such as resilience, diversity, self-esteem and fair-play. In 2022 we carried out 5 social action projects which provided the opportunity for children to gain knowledge and make an impact on current social issues. Similarly, it has been great to use links with the Premier League to educate children through anti-discrimination education workshops that include key events such as Show Racism the Red Card Day.

As part of the programme we are also happy to have ran 12 competitions that range from national football tournaments to creative writing and reading challenges. These engaging activities provide goals for pupils that helps motivate them to achieve targets in the given area.

It is not just children that benefit from the Premier League Primary Stars programme however; during 2022 we also supported 16 teachers across multiple teacher CPD workshops. These workshops provide vital training for staff members within local partner schools, following on from the sessions teachers are more equipped to cover different subject and manage various aspects of the classroom.

Our strong link with the Premier League allows us to offer other unique experiences and material to schools that we would otherwise not have access to. Walsall FC Foundation PLPS Officer Joe commented; “Premier League Primary Stars gives children from all backgrounds the chance to get involved in amazing opportunities, the activities we run have caused a noticeable positive change and give pupils who might struggle in general classroom lessons the chance to express themselves”.

We are excited to continue delivering Premier League Primary Stars moving forward and hope to have an even bigger impact in 2023.



10th Anniversary Celebration

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of St.George’s Park multiple football clubs were invited to the facility to participate in a year 5/6 school tournament in which HRH Prince William would be in attendance. We were happy to invite our local partner school St.Giles Primary School to take part in the event.

some great teamwork and individual performances. Before long we received news that both teams would be moving forward into the finals stage of the competition. It was great to see the children’s hard work and dedication hold up against so many other talented young people from across the country competing on the day.

Through our School Partners initiative local primary schools across Walsall benefit from a variety of unique and impactful experiences. This includes are PE lessons and activities led by our qualified Walsall FC Foundation coaches that we base within each school.

Through our dedicated school coaches and internal school staff members, St.Giles currently run both a boys and girls team that were able to get involved with this amazing opportunity. Thanks to Poundland every single pupil were provided with a full Walsall FC kit for the event and to keep afterwards.

Upon entering the giant facility the student’s faces lit up with excitement as they quickly got started warming up on the AstroTurf, ready for the day ahead.

Walsall FC Foundation Coach Lewis who works within the school commented; “It’s a once in a lifetime experience for the children to be able to play on the same pitch as the England squad, I’m sure they’ll remember this day for a very long time”

As games got underway all students were able to showcase their abilities with

During a break in the tournament the students had a special guest visit from HRH Prince William, each club were able to nominate a child to speak one-to-one with the Prince. Our chosen student, Hati, spoke confidently about her school, day at the tournament and involvement in football. This visit made the day even more memorable with both the children and staff members speaking about it for the remainder of the day.

With the visit coming to a close our teams focused back to their remaining matches in the competition. Despite these final few games increasing in difficulty our players continued to show their determination and played well.

After a fantastic effort St.Giles Boys and Girls finished 3rd Place in their respective tournaments. All players should be very proud of themselves, and represented St.Giles Primary School and Walsall FC incredibly well on and off the pitch.

We are always happy to provide opportunities like these to our local Partner Schools wherever possible and look forward to participate in more events like this in the future.



Through new and improved programmes we were happy to have had a positive impact on the health of participants from the local community.

The successful introduction of our brand new Shape Football and Shape Active sessions have motivated men and women to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles.

Shape Football is a health and fitness session that uses football as the primary vehicle of exercise. We’ve found that the pull of football has been a great tool in engaging men in the session and pushing them to become healthier. Shape Active is a variation of the programme with its focus shifted towards healthy lifestyle guidance with general fitness sessions included. These evening sessions give participants advice and information that they can take away and apply to their lives away from the stadium.

Building on our popular ‘Beat the Block’ mental health session, in 2022 we were happy to start-up our ‘Beat the Block Coffee Afternoon’! This new session based in the Walsall FC Community Hub gives people a safe space to socialise with others, speak about their mental health and enjoy a hot drink. One of the key aspects of our regular BtB session is the friendly environment that encourages participants to open up on issues they otherwise may keep to themselves, our Coffee Afternoon sessions aim to further enable this opportunity and continue to improve mental health across Walsall.

“It’s been an important year to help people become healthier and look at things positively. The impact that the pandemic and lockdowns had on people is still being felt and it’s been vital to give people a chance to affect their lives by taking part in sport and socialising with likeminded participants.”- Chris Springthorpe

330 Individual participants

430 Hours of Health Sessions

5 Different Projects

10+ Organisations Worked With


10+ External Organisations Worked With


90 Participants on Mental Health Programmes

5 Different Projects

8 Sessions Every Week


Participants Across All Sessions Hours of Health Sessions

200 Hours of Mental Health Sessions

10 Visits and Collaborations With Other Clubs


90 Individual participants

10 Organisations Worked With

200 Hours Across All Sessions

10 Visits To Other Football Clubs

Throughout 2022 our ‘Beat the Block’ mental health sessions continued to grow and and maintain its positive influence on Walsall. The programme’s goal is to get people playing sport or utilising the football clubs facilities, therefore increasing the ammount of time socialising and meeting linkeminded individuals to improve their mental wellbeing.

Building on our popular Beat the Block programme, in 2022 we were happy to start-up our ‘Beat the Block Coffee Afternoon’! This new session based in the Walsall FC Community Hub gives people a safe space to socialise with others, speak about their mental health and enjoy a hot drink. One of the key aspects of our regular Beat the Block session is the friendly environment that encourages participants to open up on issues they otherwise may keep to themselves, our Coffee Afternoon sessions aim to further enable this opportunity and continue to improve mental health across Walsall.

Many of our weekly participants have experienced a huge impact on their lives, whether it be the chance to play sport when they thought they were no longer able or the strong relationships they have built, each and every person has found a purpose to keep moving forward. These casual sessions gradually build confidence and break down barriers such as anxiety to give each participant a chance to open up.

“It gives me something to focus on every week, something to look forward to. Without coming here everyweek I think I would get too lost in my own head to be honest” - Participant

“Talking really helps, even if I’m having a bad week and dont want to chat much even just communicating during the games makes you really like part of the group. There’s no judgement here, you can talk to anyone about everything” - Participant

“Lee continues to look forward to football and thanks to Chris we have a weekly activity that Lee will cherish for time to come” - Carer



Overcoming Obstables

Every Wednesday morning you will find the Walsall FC Stadium Astroturf in full action with our weekly ‘Beat the Block’ football sessions. These are free to access for people of any ability and background and we are happy to welcome a strong cohort of new and returning players each week.

In 2022 we met Lee for the first time as he came down to try out a game for himself. Lee suffers from a disability which has impacted his physical abilities throughout his life, regardless of this he dove into the match head first and quickly found his place on the pitch.

It was great to see the young man integrate into the group so quickly and begin feeling comfortable speaking with our coaches. Our other participants in the group also made extra effort to get to know Lee and support him throughout the game, it wasn’t long until he started his goal scoring streak!

The difference we have saw in Lee from his first session to now multiple months later is hugely positive. Both physically and mentally he has developed into a much more confident, social and active individual both on and off the pitch.

Lee’s carer Jag commented “Lee has learned to play within a team. He

enjoys teamwork, and also has made a good set of friends. He had set a target for goals and it is great that Lee has passed this target.”

Both players and staff members look forward to seeing him every week as he has quickly became a friend of the Foundation. Health Manager Chris Springthorpe who leads the programme added; “Lee has far surpassed everyone’s expectations and acts as a perfect role model for Beat the Block. Anyone can join us for a game of football regardless of your ability and won’t be judged, I think a lot of people can look to Lee for inspiration”.

During his time with us we have also been able to offer Lee and our other players additional opportunities to compete home and away with other football clubs which was taken without hesitation.

Jag mentioned; “Lee has played in tournaments and this resulted in Lee gaining medals, which has had a very positive impact on Lee’s confidence and self esteem.”

“Lee continues to look forward to football and thanks to Chris we have a weekly activity that Lee will cherish for time to come”



With Covid restrictions now lifted, 2022 saw the full return of Ball Assistants and Flag Bearers to our Match Day Experience opportunities. The reintroduction of these activities have added and contributed to the atmosphere at all Walsall FC home fixtures. Groups welcome players onto the pitch with the waving of flags in the shape of a guard of honour through our Flag Bearers while Ball Assistants are evenly spread pitch side and support the game throughout.

Our new VEO Camera and Match Analysis software enables coaches to provide players/students with invaluable feedback to further enhance their football development. The camera is able to record games in full from a birds eye view and accurately highlight key moments within the game. This footage is then reviewed by our staff with interactive visuals and comments being added to assist the players learning.

Thanks to Homeserve we have been able to offer many of these places for free; this also includes our popular match visit packages in which local junior teams can join us on matchdays and enjoy a football coaching session with tickets to the game afterwards!

Through new gym access our Strength & Conditioning training has given players/ students the opportunity to receive targeted training to support their physical development. This feature of the programme has been incredibly valuable with noticeable improvements in our cohort’s strength, speed and agility.

In September 2022, more additions to the Post 16 Football & Education Programme were implemented in the shape of Match Analysis provision and Strength & Conditioning training for the students.

“2022 for the Sport Department has been another successful year in terms of quality provision, growth within each individual programme, and providing all participants with opportunities to maximise their potential.” – Marc Wilkes

12500 Training Hours

175+ Total Players

84 Players Competing in the MJPL

15+ Players who Progressed into the Academy or Higher


175 Post 16 Coaching Hours 84 Players Competing in the MJPL 12 Teams from Under 7s to Post 16


175+ Players Across All Age Groups


Hours of Training on our Talented & Gifted Programme Players who Progressed to and currently play for Walsall FC Acacemy, Youth Team or 1st Team

10 Inmates Engaged In Local Prison

12 Volunteering Opportunities


Match Tickets Provided

1749 Participants

100+ Local Groups Hosted

23 Days of Matchday Experiences


2022 saw the full return of providing Ball Assistants and Flag Bearer to our Match Day Experience opportunities now all Covid restrictions have been lifted. The reintroduction of these have added and contributed to the atmosphere at all Walsall FC home fixtures. Groups welcome players to the pitch with the waving of flags through our Flag Bearers, Ball Assistants are evenly spread pitch side to keep the game fluid and our match visit guests cheer on the squad following on from their training sessions.

This is a great chance for local junior teams, groups and schools to experience a live match day. All opportunities include tickets for participants and a select number of accompanying adults. Many local groups have never had the opportunity to experience live football and this has been made apparent by speaking with groups on the day. Covid prevented opportunities for Ball Assistants and Flag Bearers over the past few years, with the season now returned back to normaility we are happy to allow for children to get involved in the matchday activities and closer to the pitch. Children and junior teams deserve access to professional football, through these provisions we are happy to provide affordable options for the community. Thanks to funding from Homeserve we can further extend these exciting match day experiences that will create memories for a lifetime.

These Matchday Experiences raise attendance on a matchday and brings positive energy to the stadium, more children and parents alike often refocus an interest into football with many coming back for more games following on from their visit. We have observed countles participants on our sessions become fans of the club and begin attending home games regularly. Walsall FC also acts as a beacon to link local clubs/groups for future activities, players identified as talented are given the opportunities to train with Development teams. Visits and opportunities will continue to be offered to local groups and teams in 2023 and we cant wait to get started.

“I want to express how much of a fantastic day we all had, me included. My first professional game and if I didn’t have football every Saturday, I’d definitely become a season ticket holder.” – Wednesfield FC

“Would like to say a massive thankyou to Walsall for looking after us, Halas Hawks really enjoyed their Day from start to finish. It was a great experience for the team.” – Hallas Hawks FC

“Thank you for the session, it made a journey worth it and all of the lads really enjoyed the opportunity and experience.” – Caerlyon FC



Journey Through The Foundation

Harry Dixon began his journey with us at the age of 7 within our U8’s - U10’s Advanced Development Programme. Through continued hardwork and a positive mind set, Harry then solidified his place in our Elite Development Squad while in the U11’s age group which he would hold all the way through to the end of his U16 season.

Harry’s parents commented; “Our son Harry has been passionate about football from the minute he could kick a ball. From a young age he played for local clubs but, after a match day training experience with Walsall FC foundation, Harry’s journey with the talented and gifted programme began.”

Though his time within the Development Programme had come to a close, Harry’s journey with us would continue through our Post 16 Football & Education provisions. Thanks to our partnership with Walsall College, we are able to offer talented players a unique opportunity to represent Walsall FC in the EFL CEFA League each week while studying toward a career in sport.

We welcomed Harry Dixon into the team with open arms as his passion for the game and keen interest in the sport career field was a perfect match for the Programme. The young player has continually led by example both on and off the pitch and has unanimously gained the respect of his teammates, coaches and Walsall FC Foundation as a whole.

“As parents it has been wonderful to see his enthusiasm increase year on year supported by Walsall’s quality coaching and support. When he got the chance to continue with Walsall for post 16 studies, Harry jumped at the opportunity and as parents we were really happy with his decision”.

“Harry is now coming to the end of his second year and he has loved the experience. We can see he has been well supported and encouraged by

Walsall FC to engage and develop, in not only the practical elements but the college course too.”

It is also vitally important that we support our players off the pitch; by using our position within a professional football club we are able to offer many opportunities to the students. With added guidance from our staff members Harry had developed an interest in Sports Therapy during the Post 16 Programme and began gearing up toward a career within the industry. We were happy to support him in this endeavour by using our links with Walsall FC to secure him a work experience placement within the clubs physiotherapy team.

Harry’s parents added; “Walsall FC Foundation have also nurtured Harrys interest in sports therapy by providing work experience with the clubs physiotherapy team, which we can see has really firmed up Harry’s confidence in his career decision for which he now has 3 firm University place offers.”

We are over the moon with Harry’s success throughout his journey with us and we take great pride in seeing him shaping up towards his bright future.

“Harry’s journey is to come to a close but we would like to thank the club for their dedication and support they have given Harry which hopefully will be seen in his future career success.” - Sarah and Ian Dixon, Harry’s

“I truly appreciate the opportunities I have been given while playing for the Foundation and carrying out my studies with Walsall College. I’ve really enjoyed my time here and it’s thanks to you that I now know what I want to do in my career.” – Harry Dixon



Our engagement department had a very positive impact through a variety of new and improved programmes in 2022.

This year we continued our partnership with Walsall Council delivering the Holiday Activity and Food programme. Children, young people and their families will be able to access free activities during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays while receiving a free meal every day. In 2022 we delivered 35 days of HAF Football Camps engaging with 414 young people and providing 1,656 meals.

Our exciting partnership with Homeserve led to the creation of “The Homeserve Holiday and Play Programme” that supports children and young people during the school holidays. The programme offers free places to our popular ‘Soccer Schools’ (football holiday camp) where children can stay active and engaged during the school holidays.

We launched the programme this summer and have since worked with schools in areas of high IMD (Index of multiple deprivation), young people who are in social care and young people with SEND needs. In 2022 we engaged with 165 young people across 20 days of Holiday & Play.

We delivered our first year of NCS (National Citizenship Service) and has been great highlighting the success we had across our summer and autumn programmes. NCS is a voluntary, personal and social development programme for 15-17 year olds in which participant gain a variety of life skills and long lasting memories.

Through NCS we engaged with a mix of young people from multicultural backgrounds, genders and SEND who managed to fundraise a whopping £725 for local charities!

2385 Participants

7450 Hours of Coaching

10 Different Projects

1000+ Free Places on Activities


1000+ Free Places Provided Across Programmes


Participants Across Engagement Activities

1656 Meals Provided Through HAF 10 Volunteering Opportunities


Hours Coached by Walsall FC Foundation Staff

10 Different Projects

£725 Raised For Charity by NCS Participants

115 Children Able To Play on the Walsall FC Pitch


473 Individual participants

267 Kicks Sessions

2000 Hours Coached

52% Of Participants Were Aged 14+

Kicks is one of the Premier League’s flagship programmes, to inspire children in some of the highest need areas in England and Wales. It gives young people the opportunity to access free football sessions and workshops, providing them with opportunities and pathways to fulfil their potential.Through further investment from the Premier League Charitable fund we have managed to increase the number of sessions. Since September 2022 we have established further Youth Sessions, weekly female sessions and pan disability sessions. Youth Connect have continued to support our Staff with their expertise in Youth Work.This year we have delivered 267 sessions across Kicks engaging with 473 young people, 18% were female, 52% were aged 14+ and 11% were participants with Disabilities.

To support our PL Kicks offer we received funding from Street Games, Violent Reduction Partnership and Black Country Consortium Together Fund. Using these funds we manage to increase the impact and reach of the Kicks programme. Walsall was identified as the local authority with the least community sport sessions for young people aged 10-25 years old. In addition, the VRP SNA indicates that a significant number of communities across Walsall are at a greater risk of violence. Three of those communities are Palfrey, Caldmore and Pleck. Using the Banner of the Premier League we have created sessions at the University of Wolverhampton Walsall Campus to address this need.

This year we wanted to highlight our work with Youth Connect further. Since launching the partnership in 2020 our Kicks activities have been received really well by young people and their families. The free sessions are welcome for parents as they know they can tap into an important resource for their children in a safe and nurturing environment. As we deliver sessions in public parks we have had the opportunity to promote the sessions to young people of all abilities and encourage them to develop friendship’s, gain confidence and develop their fitness and footballing abilities.

Since November 2021 we made contact with three young people from a care home in Walsall which specialize in looking after Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers. Omar 15 from Pakistan, Mohammed 16 from Sudan, and Hedi from Iraq began to regularly attend the Premier league Kicks Sessions. The young people quickly grew in confidence and developed friendships with the other participants, sharing their life experiences and journeys. Although the young people initially had language barriers to verbally communicate with other participants, they could showcase communication through football. The young people developed their skills and general fitness and have been an important part of the project.



Helping Jenson to be Jenson

Over the summer holidays it has been a pleasure to welcome many children of all abilities and backgrounds to the Bescot Stadium through our Holiday and Food activities (HAF).

The HAF provision, funded by the Department of education, is part of a nationwide effort to provide children and young people from eligible families with access to enrichment activities and Healthy food during the school holidays.

With a free hot meal provided each and every lunch time, children eligible to receive free school meals can participate in our daily Soccer Schools football sessions at zero cost.

One participant, Jenson, began attending the programme and was identified by coaches to seem quiet. Our Walsall FC Foundation staff members made an extra effort to encourage Jenson and ensure he was comfortable amongst his peers and quickly began seeing significant positive developments.

With each day passing, Jenson had continued to make huge strides in his communication, engagement and confidence; as such we decided to reward Jenson with the opportunity to walk out with the first team as Community Mascot on the Walsall FC v Tranmere Rovers home fixture.

Jenson’s parents were ecstatic to hear the news and kindly shared the following;

“Jenson has only been at the HAF activities for three days and what a difference there has been…”

“Jenson faces many challenges every day. Social communication is a big one for Jenson and his learning isn’t on par with the rest of his peers. Jenson has ADHD, austim, neurological development delay and a sleep disorder.”

“Jenson often questions himself as to why he his different and can’t be like his friends. Football however is one of Jenson’s strong subjects, these last few days he has grown as an individual and has began saying things like;

“Mommy, daddy, I can play mommy, I can play like the football players and it’s what I love, I want to be a footballer,”

To have this feedback from a child who doesn’t talk about there day is absolutely amazing, he is talking and communicating with us about his main interest and what he needs the day after for his day.”

“Thank you for helping our boy shine, thank you for helping him communicate and thank you for helping Jenson to be Jenson.”



Assist To Achieve Programme

Following the Trivela takeover of Walsall FC we worked closely with the new co-Chairman and his team to establish the “Assist To Achieve” project. Under their direction we approached a school local to the stadium where pupil challenges needed extra support.

Goal Statement

“To support, inspire and mentor children at a critical stage of their education. Children should dream big as we support the move from the final year of primary school to the first year of senior school.”

The project will engage with a targeted Primary School local to the stadium. The project will work with the pupils throughout school and we will support the mentoring of the children to prepare and navigate the difficulties of moving from the final year of primary into the first year of secondary school.

Working with Caldmore Primary School, the pupils will be living in the 10% to 20% most deprived areas in Walsall/UK. They will, by demographic, also include a variety of ethnic backgrounds and are likely to be children from low income families and with less opportunities than children from other wards. Between September and December 2002 we worked with the school to establish the needs and to appoint a member of staff to run the project.

2023 will be an exciting period as the project gets in to full swing.


Player Appearances made a full restart in summer 2022. Appearances over the previous two years were cautious due to the pandemic and it was exciting to see the appearances restart fully last year. Over the years we have seen the impact that an appearance from a player can make to adults and children alike.

As ever, the Manager and Players are fully supportive of the activities and they will continue to increase over the remainder of the 2022/23 season and in to the next. The PFA support is always excellent and 2022 was no different in that respect either…



Thanks to a joint Commercial and Foundation partnership we have been able to offer executive hospitality opportunities, on match days, to local residents and groups to enjoy.

Local company, Haywards Transport, proudly sponsor “The View”, a 15 seat executive box situated in the corner of The Poundland Bescot Stadium. The View offers the perfect view for matches and allows visitor access to all of the hospitality available at the Stadium.

Thanks to Managing Director, Sean Hayward, we have been able to offer 435 individual visits, across 29 games in 2022, to a wide variety of recipients.

Between us, the following types of groups have visited:

Volunteer coach/students from Wolverhampton University who have contributed over 1500 hours of community coaching in the local area - Breast Cancer Charity members

- Victims of Domestic Abuse Charity members - The Armed Forces Covenant - Young Carers from across Walsall - Care Leavers from across Walsall - Kaleidoscope Charity members - Acorns Hospice members - Hottest Seat winners (Deserving supporters voted and nominated by fellow supporters) - Sensory Room for autistic children - Men’s Health Participants - Pan Disability Participants - Walking Footballers - Supporters 80th Birthday

- Youth Connect Youth Group members -Afghan Welfare Centre members



BUSINESS PLAN – The current Foundation Strategic Business Plan ends in December 2023. The second half of 2023 will be spent developing and publishing the 2024 t0 2026 Business Plan. An exciting time lies ahead as we plan the growth of the scheme to ensure we meet the needs of the community and evolve so that we can affect positive change on current issues.

STAFFING – The Foundation workforce will continue to grow over the next 12 months. CPD and training opportunities for all staff are planned for the year and we are positive that new opportunities will present themselves as we work through the year ahead.

HEALTH – Changes to our current Health provisions are planned so that sessions are even more affordable and available to the wider community. Links with key health organisations and partners will continue to be developed to ensure that our Health projects have maximum results.

SPORT – we will continue to ensure that our Football Development programmes grow and increase in opportunity through 2023. Plans to enhance the Post 16 Football & Education offer are already starting and we hope to see an enhanced delivery of this project in September 2023. Discussions around the growth of the Women’s and Girls game are also underway and we hope to see positive impact in this area too.

EDUCATION – Growing our offer to local Primary and Secondary Schools is a priority for 2023. The will include us ensuring maximum reach of our School Partner Programme, the School Partner Games, Premier League Primary Stars and our ever popular football festivals and competitions.

ENGAGEMENT – Growth of our Youth Intervention Provision, Prison Twinning Project, Premier League Kicks and work with diverse communities remain a priority through 2023. We understand that positive expansion of these programmes can impact the hardest to reach and most needed areas of the community.







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