ALBION’S players will show their support for ‘The Albion Foundation’ on Saturday as the club’s charitable arm aims to raise awareness of, and funds for, their community-based work.
This weekend’s home date with champions Manchester City (ko 3pm) has been designated ‘Albion Foundation Day’ and will feature a host of promotional activities.
The Foundation was founded in 1992 and uses the medium of football and the kudos of West Bromwich Albion Football Club to raise aspirations among local people of all ages and abilities.
Each week, Foundation staff deliver over 650 hours of provision and work with more than 8,200 participants as they seek to meet sporting, recreational, health and educational needs in Sandwell, Dudley and surrounding areas.
To celebrate 20 years of ‘inspiring to achieve’, the Foundation’s motto, the shirts worn by Steve Clarke’s 18-man squad during the City match will be auctioned off right here at www.wba.co.uk
from Monday in aid of the Foundation.
The club and the Foundation’s principal sponsor, Zoopla, which already donates £500 to the Foundation and a nominated local charity each time the Baggies score in the Barclays Premier League, are granting Foundation guests the opportunity to take on their ‘half-time house challenge’ – with £1,000 being donated for every successful effort.
The players will also wear t-shirts carrying the names of 18 ‘Foundation achievers’ during their pre-match warm-up. The achievers, nominated by Foundation staff for their outstanding contribution to the charity, or achievements as a Foundation participant, will be presented with their personalised t-shirts at half-time. The achievers’ names will also be printed on the back of the official matchday programme.
Fans willing to make a small donation will be able to have their photo taken with Foundation ambassador, ‘Blind Dave’ Heeley, and his Olympic torch outside the Stadium Megastore before the game. ‘Blind Dave’ will also visit the stadium’s hospitality areas after the match to draw the winner of the ‘Foundation Prize Draw’.
First-team squad members, who regularly support the Foundation’s many programmes, have also taken on several bizarre world record attempts to help raise the Foundation’s profile. Each not-to-be missed video will be unlocked on the club’s official Facebook page next week when staggered donation targets are reached.
Albion chief executive Mark Jenkins, who also serves as chairman of the Foundation’s board of trustees, said: “We are delighted to provide a platform for The Albion Foundation to raise their profile and essential funds at Saturday’s game.
“The Foundation has made a huge impact in the local community through their charitable work over the past 20 years and we will continue to support their efforts.”
Head coach Steve Clarke recently admitted he was ‘blown away’ by the Foundation’s work when he visited a celebration evening for the ‘One Albion’ disability project.
Albion Foundation director, Rob Lake, added: “We are very grateful that the club has given us such a high-profile game to showcase the Foundation.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for us to raise awareness about what we do, celebrate our amazing achievers, of whom we are very proud, and hopefully raise some much-needed funds, which will help us continue to provide great opportunities for people who are most in need in our community.”
The Albion Foundation, originally named the West Bromwich Albion Community Programme, has been a registered charity since 2000.
With over 40 full-time and 50 part-time staff, plus 50 volunteers, the Foundation is renowned both locally and nationally for the quality of their work, which revolves around equality, diversity and inclusion.
Staff work closely with schools to provide sports coaching. This progresses to out-of-school-hours opportunities and provides a pathway from grass-roots to elite level through the innovative Sporting Club Albion concept, which enables youngsters to wear the Baggies’ colours in girls and women’s football, men’s/boys & girls’ basketball and a range of disability sports.
The Foundation’s education team – from their recently-refurbished new base in Brasshouse Lane, Smethwick – deliver a range of programmes that add real value to schools in key areas such as attendance and behaviour support. They also work with ‘looked after’ children.
The education team’s work will be expanded further if they are successful in their application to become a ‘free school’, which would provide children with opportunities to achieve their potential in an alternative learning environment.
Lake added: “It would be wonderful if every Baggies fan could just take the time to visit our website and hopefully feel moved to get involved with some of the fundraising opportunities on Saturday and next week.”
For further details about the Albion Foundation’s work, visit www.thealbionfoundation.co.uk
To make a donation to the Albion Foundation, click here