First and foremost, a massive WELCOME BACK to this magnificent Adams Park Stadium to all awesome Chairboys fans who have missed this place over the last 18 months or so! Fans are the heart and soul of football, and it really hasn’t been the same without you!
It was hugely unfortunate for everyone that fans had to miss out on the majority of Wycombe Wanderers’ first season in the Championship. I say ‘first season’ because you only have to look around this place to see that improvements have been made both on and off the field. From marquee player signings to stadium infrastructure, the team at WWSET would like to congratulate the club on the giant strides that have been taken. Giant strides befitting a club that deserves to be back in the second tier of English football. There is definitely a buzz in the air, and now that you’re back, this is something you can’t escape as you await kickoff against Accrington today.
For those of you who don’t know us, please allow us to reintroduce ourselves. We are Wycombe Wanderers Sports & Education Trust (WWSET), and we are absolutely honoured to be the official charity of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club. Our aim is to extend the Wycombe Wanderers brand throughout the local community and to motivate, educate and inspire through the power of sport.
Simply put, our focus is to be in the heart of the community and run activities that improve the lives of those who engage with any of our four key departments: Health and Wellbeing, Education and Employability, Social inclusion and Cohesion, and Sports Participation.
Like so many businesses in the UK, we are not ashamed to admit that the Covid-19 pandemic was really tough for us, and we had to face many challenges in the delivery of these activities and projects. As most of our projects are face-to-face with people, they were put on hold indefinitely, most of our fundraising activities were cancelled and most of our staff had to endure a period of furlough.
We are, however, one of the very fortunate businesses who were able to weather the storm, although we certainly did have to undergo something of an evolution. In late April this year, amid the restrictions, we were able to tentatively restart some of our projects when we were able to take certain projects online and take the necessary steps to make sessions socially distanced and safe.
And by the end of May, we were able to have the majority of our courses back up and running in some capacity. We have had to persevere, but we got there in the end, overseen by our Head of WWSET, Paul Foley, who somehow managed to keep his head whilst all around him were losing theirs!
To give some idea of this evolution, you need to look no further than our Health department, led by Claire Hawes and ably assisted by Gee Grou, who managed to move a full program of Yoga, Indian Clubs and Mental Health support online via Zoom, whilst still making the sessions engaging and beneficial. Our Sports Participation team led by Kirk Williams, Lewis Bloom and Andy Homent also had stringent government rules to follow with regards to player safety at their football sessions whilst also having to procure the appropriate PPE and sanitising equipment which all took meticulous planning. Our Education team, led by Mark Heath, had similar challenges in the schools we work with.
But we came out strong, and continuing to roll out all summer long is our ‘Premier League Kicks’ programme which is a flagship Premier League campaign set up to inspire young people to achieve their potential and improve their wellbeing, which is run by our own resident superwoman, Clare Bassett. This is in addition to our ‘Play Into Space’ youth club, a new girls summer sports camp and our array of football summer camps, the details of which can all be found on the WWSET website.
Additionally, we have worked hard to be as inclusive as we possibly can be. We launched the ‘EqualiTeam’ in February, which is an internal working group that meets fortnightly. The aim is to hold ourselves accountable and to make sure that we are being inclusive of all people in our activities and that our internal and external communications are representative of the community we serve. We have also overseen the launch of the ‘All Quarters’ project which engages with people from four traditionally underrepresented groups in order to help the WWFC family improve the matchday experience at Adams Park for existing and new supporters.
Our Fundraising efforts are finally back in full motion too, and we are planning a sponsored National 3 Peaks Challenge, a sponsored Skydive, and a 150-mile sponsored Bike Ride to Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium which are all in the works for 2022.
Our ‘Friends of WWSET’ programme that saw its inaugural season last year, is back and better than ever! In return for a donation to our cause, our friends enjoy matchday tickets, including a VIP experience in an executive lounge, as well as advertising space on the LED pitchside banners, access to the Adams Park Business Hub, regular promotion on our social media channels and newsletters, a framed, personalised shirt which is presented at Adams Park and much more besides.
The full Friends of WWSET package can be viewed on our website. Or if you would like more information, please contact our Head of Fundraising & Communications, Mark Fawkes on email@example.com.
The first to sign up as a Friend of WWSET for the upcoming season is the Buckinghamshire Council Adoption and Fostering teams, who recruit, assess, train and support prospective adopters and foster families in the Buckinghamshire community.
Most children who require adoption have left their families of origin in difficult circumstances and the courts will have been involved, making the decision that they cannot safely return to the care of their own families. Before the court makes this decision dedicated foster families care for these children and sometimes beyond until early adulthood. Their experiences will have almost certainly impacted their emotional, social and behavioural development and may well have long term implications for their future development. This makes the work of the Buckinghamshire Council Adoption and Fostering teams absolutely crucial, and at WWSET, we are pleased that we are able to use the power of the Wycombe Wanderers brand to help them reach as many pairs of eyes as possible and help them recruit prospective new families to adopt and foster; and help local children reach their potential. To find out more, visit buckinghamshire.gov.uk/ care-children-and-families/adoption or /fostering
So as you can see, there is a lot going on here at WWSET, and we’d love you to be a part of it. Whether it is joining one of our sessions or partnering with us to promote your business, there’s a place for you here!. Drop us a line on (01494) 455736, visit www.wwset.co.uk or check us out in all the usual places on social media.
Enjoy today’s game – it’s been a long wait and you deserve it! Come on the Chairboys!
From the 7th August 2021 edition of ‘BluePrint, the official Wycombe Wanderers matchday programme. Can’t make it to the game? No problem! Have every edition this season sent directly to your door by clicking here.
The game would see a 2-1 victory for Wycombe Wanderers, with two early Garath McCleary goals being the difference on the day.