Today saw the conclusion of a pilot project at Walsall Football Club that supports out of work aged 50+ residents in the West Midlands.
Run by the Walsall FC Foundation, the programme looked to engage participants, raise their fitness & confidence levels and offer employment training and education opportunities as they look to regain employment.
In partnership with Walsall College and the local Job Centres, and funded by Active Black Country, the 12 week pilot delivered sessions at the Poundland Bescot Stadium to seven participants on a weekly basis. The pilot has served to shape future delivery of the project.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, visited the final session to cast an eye on the delivery, listen to participants and understand the project further. He was joined by guests from the partner organisations and former Walsall FC player, Don Goodman, who serves as a Trustee for Walsall FC Foundation.
Director of the Foundation, Adam Davy, said: “We have worked closely with our colleagues at Active Black Country, DWP and Walsall College to create a pilot programme to support the residents who are 50+ and out of work. We know that the number of over 50 year-olds in the Black Country in receipt of Universal Credit is 35,300, with 8,000 of those actively seeking work. Whilst out of work we understand that their physical and mental health may suffer and confidence starts to wane.
"Our hope is that the pilot would address these inequalities and support the residents as they seek to regain employment. The pilot has been vital for us to understand the needs of participants for future delivery. It has been a real pleasure to see the confidence grow in the participants week by week.
"They arrive with smiles on their faces and a willingness to join in the football sessions and learn from the education and employment advice. They are starting to attend job interviews and we hope that they gain employment as a result of the project.
"This has been made possible by working closely with our friends in Department for Work and Pensions, Walsall College and Active Black Country and the hope is that we can further shape the project. I thank them for their input and support too.”
All participants that completed the programme have received tickets to this Saturday’s game against Forest Green Rovers and will continue to be supported by staff from Walsall FC Foundation for weeks to come.
If you are interested in finding out more information please email project lead and Manager for Health at Walsall; FC Foundation, Chris Springthorpe at Walsall FC – firstname.lastname@example.org