Slaven Bilić’s men received an insight into the life-changing work of The Albion Foundation as beneficiaries of the charity shared their stories at the Club’s training ground.
The 2019/20 squad, including the Baggies boss, learned about how the Foundation has changed the lives of four inspirational people.
England and Albion Powerchair footballer Brad Bates was there to tell the players how the Club’s charitable arm has been in his life since the age of seven and given him opportunities that he never thought possible.
Since first coming across the Foundation 14 years ago, Brad has represented Albion Powerchair at all levels. The talented youngster was part of Albion’s double-winning team and also helped England to be crowned European champions at the EPFA Nations Cup last season.
“I’m so thankful for everything they have done for me and my life away from football,” said Brad.
“I’ll forever be in their debt and I’ll do anything I can to repay them.”
Father and son, Steve and Chris Winston, who are lifelong Albion fans were also there to tell their stories.
Chris lost his sight at the age of 21, but playing blind football for Albion led to him becoming a Disability Coach with the charity, inspiring others in the local community to achieve their goals.
Steve spoke to the players about how the experience affected the family, and how the Foundation enabled Chris to turn his life around and forge a new career with the charity.
“The family owe The Albion Foundation everything,” said Steve.
“To see him coming out at the other end because of the Foundation and the way they have helped is so pleasing to see.”
The players also heard from Daveena Patel, a shining example of the work done for children in care by the Foundation, who now describes the charity as her ‘second family’.
After the event, Slaven and his team stayed behind to chat personally to the speakers.