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Focus On Sport

PUBLISHED

09:00 13th February 2013

A look at the work of the Wolves Community Trust

The Wolves Community Trust, in its current form, is now in its fifth year working alongside the club on a variety of initiatives in the areas of sport, health, inclusion, education and charitable donations in the form of Wolves Aid.
Between now and the end of the season, we will focus on each area of the Trust, and the work it does to benefit people in Wolverhampton and further afield.
Wolves Community Trust's Sports Manager, Laura Milburn, works from the Trust's Molineux office to deliver the range of sporting projects designed to increase participation, performance and opportunities through football.
She explains: "Our main aim at the Trust is to engage with as many people from the local community as possible, and the Sport delivery programme that we offer is at the heart of what the Trust does.
"The wide variety of sessions on offer means that we are able to engage with a diverse range of people - we have worked really hard to develop the range of activities we offer."
These activities include running coaching sessions with local children in schools and during  evenings and weekends, encouraging young people and adults with disabilities, helping to improve the club's womens and girls teams and assisting the academy with player recruitment. 
Laura, who has worked for the Trust since 2011, adds: "We want to develop high quality activities, coaches and players, ensuring that everybody who wants to can access a Wolves Community Trust activity.
"We try to remove as many barriers as possible by making the sessions at convenient times, ensuring that costs are kept to a minimum and most of all, ensuring that the participants enjoy the activity and want to come back."
The Trust was formed in 1991 - and became a registered charity in 2008 - and during which time football has seen its influence in all aspects of society increase dramatically. As a professional football club, Laura believes that the work of Wolves and the Community Trust is vital in the local area.
"Football always sparks debate and opinion and what the Trust tries to do is use it as a vehicle to educate and support people on a variety of different levels.
"It can work in two different ways, the activity programme that we offer might engage with someone who isn't a Wolves supporter, or even a football supporter, but they see the value in what we do, or it can allow supporters who live and breathe Wolves the opportunity to feel part of the club, by meeting a player at a Soccer School or taking part in an Education programme held at Molineux.
"We work with over 100,000 people each year, so we have a real responsibility to give people a positive experience under the Wolves banner."
Among the means at the Trust's disposal are the first team players, many of whom take part in several Trust activities per season. Laura says that the cooperation of the club's playing staff - at all levels - is vital in what the Trust are trying to achieve.
"The first team players are obvious role models and we are fortunate to get access to them to help promote and add value to the Community Trust.
"It goes wider than the first team though - we work with the younger development players as they have often started out at a similar level to the players we are engaging with. They can remember how they used to be involved in similar sessions and how they developed working with community coaches."
She continues: "We try to vary the activities that the first team attend so it adds real value to the session they are involved with. We run Soccer Schools at the Compton Training Ground and try to give the participants the opportunity to sample the life of a professional.
"They get to tour the facility, have the opportunity to meet the kit man and watch the first team train. It's an invaluable added extra that makes our course unique for a professional football club."
Despite the Trust's ongoing success, Laura says that she and her team of 14 full time staff are eager to develop their programmes to cater for the widest amount of people possible.
"We are working hard to develop what we deliver, so feedback is vital," she explains. "The best feedback we can have is seeing smiling children leaving a Soccer School after a six hour delivery programme!
"But we also speak to parents, teachers, junior club coaches and all our partners to ensure that we are on the right track. We don't want to rest on our laurels, we want to develop and make sure that we are offering what the community wants and needs.
"Most of all, we pride ourselves on building relationships and talking to people."
She adds: "All our staff wear the Wolves badge with honour and are the face of the club out in the local community - this is something that we all take pride in." 

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