This week Sammy and I headed down to Bolton to join our partners, Bolton Wanderers, on a mission to tackle loneliness in their community. Being part of the social team, we wanted to capture some great content of the day and help out in the community. What we got to experience was just so much more than we had expected - witnessing first-hand how closely knit the community in Bolton are and the role that Bolton Wanderers play in that.
The campaign was started by Bolton Wanderer Community Trust back in September. Bolton originally reached out to over a thousand season ticket holders over the age of 70 trying to identify people who were isolating as a result of the lockdown. The team started by doing garden gate visits taking activity packs to those identified as “lonely”. The packs included things like crosswords, games and entertaining activities. Bolton also started doing weekly Zoom sessions where they ran exercise classes, yoga, quizzes, bingo and other fun, social activities.
Throughout the pandemic, large numbers of people have found themselves in complete isolation either with the inability to see their friends and family, or nobody to speak to at all. Through the campaign, Bolton wanted to make sure that people in the community were still being checked on and were keeping their spirits high and minds active.
We were excited to get out into the community with Bolton and help bring people some necessary supplies and just some goodies to put a smile on their face. We helped Bolton pack together crossword puzzles, colouring books, brownie packs, biscuits, chargers, water bottles, hand sanitisers, as well as reusable shopping bags that we set out to deliver together in the town.
We were lucky enough to be joined by Bolton Wanderers football legend, John McGinlay as well as first-team player, Adam Senior. John is somewhat of a football hero within the community and having him along with us was a wonderful surprise for the people we visited. Many of them even exclaiming with delight when they realised who it was.
Seeing how much the visits really meant to people in the community was heart-warming. They were so grateful to receive the bag of goodies from us and just to have an actual catch up with people about the day. It was extra awesome that we got to hear exciting stories about them watching football when growing up and some of the amazing things they had done in their lives growing up.
We got to experience first-hand that Bolton really is the heart and soul of their community. It was an amazing day all around for us helping out in the community. It was also the first time that Sammy and I had had the opportunity to meet in person as we had been working remotely up until then, so it really did bring us all together!
This is what Sammy had to say about the experience — “Bolton truly is a community club. I had not realised the extent of the incredible work that BWCT do to ensure that their community are looked after. Not just throughout the pandemic but prior to it. It was an absolute privilege to have spent the day with Carl Halliwell and the team as they visited local residents, their reactions to meeting John McGinlay were amazing too! After taking some time to chat to the residents and ask them about how the visits from BWCT have helped during the pandemic, it became very apparent just how much the visits mean to them to keep them connected to the club and other people in general.
Carl was running 7 separate Zoom sessions a week to keep everyone connected — they had things like yoga and bingo to attend online every week. I am very proud that SKOOT is a partner of such a community-driven, caring club and look forward to our work together in the future.”
At the end of the day, we were given a tour around the stadium which was incredible. I had definitely underestimated how big the stadium would be and I hope that we can all go there to watch a game soon! The Bolton team was lovely and welcomed us in as one of their own! You can tell that no man is left behind.