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Local kids to benefit from fans' community spirit

Wrexham AFC season ticket funding initiative

barnardoDisadvantaged families supported by Barnardo’s Cymru now have chance to watch Wrexham play free of charge thanks to generous supporters who have raised hundreds of pounds to fund their season tickets.

The fundraising was inspired by Dr Richard Dixon, an exiled Wrexham AFC fan living in the Oxford area who was aware of a similar fundraising initiative at Oxford United and was keen to trial it in Wrexham.

Richard wanted to help fund season tickets for disadvantaged children and young people in the Wrexham area. The idea was posted on an internet message board and social media with tremendous support. Stuart Roberts from the Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST) community group was contacted and a campaign to help fund the season tickets began.

A target of around £500 was met in just a few days and as the support continued, it was decided to extend the target to twice the original amount which was also reached in just a few more days. The fundraising campaign ran for only four weeks and thanks to the amazing fans of Wrexham AFC and members of the general public, funds were in place to provide five adult season tickets and nine under 18s season tickets for young people and their families in the Wrexham area.

Barnardo’s, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, gladly accepted tickets for their first game - the cross border derby match versus Chester. Jane Smith – Project Worker supported young families to attend the match and provided this write up:

A group of young people and their families took the opportunity to attend the local derby on September 24th at The Racecourse. Some of them had never attended a football match before, let alone such an important local event, so this was a great opportunity for them.

Poverty and poor mental health are the main reasons why the families we work with are unable to enjoy the leisure activities a lot of us take for granted. Many struggle to provide the basics for themselves and their children so the cost of attending a match is often out of reach. The opportunity that Wrexham AFC fans have provided benefits these families manifold. Apart from being able to attend local games it also instils a sense of belonging within their wider community- which in turn promotes a sense of wellbeing. Low level mental health problems and feelings of social exclusion feature widely with the young people we currently support so the chance to participate in local events is of huge benefit.

Some of the parents initially expressed anxiety at attending such a busy event but they were pleasantly surprised at how welcome they were made to feel and I think this is testimony to the inclusive ethos of Wrexham AFC supporters. All of them are looking forward to attending again and expressed their gratitude to those involved in providing this great opportunity. The direct feedback we have received has been very positive- “it took our minds off stress for a bit” and “we enjoyed it as a family” which underlines the beneficial impact it will have.

On behalf of Barnardo’s Cymru I would like to thank the organisers of the funding, with particular gratitude to Stu Roberts (WST) who has worked hard to make this possible.

Jane Smith (Barnardo’s Cymru Project Worker)

Richard will meet some of the people who will be beneficiaries of the season tickets which will enable positive life experiences for local children, young people and their families and make an official presentation of the season tickets on Saturday 22 October at the Wrexham – Bromley game.

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