Focus article 4 – Fundraising and our place at the forefront of the local community
This is the fourth in our series of articles updating you on the progress the football club is making under your ownership as fans and giving you a further insight into how your club has progressed during the year just gone.
Fundraising income is a vital part of the revenue generated by Wrexham AFC and again this is an area in which we have made some significant progress through 2016 on your behalf through our Fundraising Team.
The fundraising team have been key supporters of the Commercial Department over the last 12 months and in particular for the set up and operation of the town centre Christmas shop attracting many new volunteers in the process to this rewarding activity. They have built up new ways of fundraising via social media selling many unique items over the Trust eBay page and using sites such as Twitter to get messages direct to fans about upcoming events and opportunities.
The fundraising team have again led the successful Christmas raffle which should make a profit of around £9,000 this year as well as organizing great activities such as the recent murder mystery evening and the upcoming Arsenal reunion night in January 2017. As well as promoting the Racecourse as a venue they have also supported other local venues such as the Turf and the Saith Seren putting on events to drive income for those venues too.
All this is made possible by our Trust ownership model with committed, high calibre volunteers able to get close to the heart of the football club and make a real difference to the club that they love.
An integral part of our club fundraising efforts are the official and independent Supporters Groups who come under the official Supporters Federation banner. We are continually grateful to their work and fundraising efforts on behalf of the club. They contribute to the many fundraising initiatives that are requested by the Football Club over the season alongside our very active Former Players Association who have done a brilliant job supporting us in 2016.
2016 was the year that Wrexham AFC reigned as North Wales Community business of the year, a crown secured in the Daily Post Awards sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government. The football club does an amazing amount of work between the football club direct and the Racecourse Community Foundation (RCF) that is the charity that does work on our behalf.
The RCF achieved 160,000 individual contacts in 2015 as part of their work on your behalf and are on track to achieve 250,000 this year under the new leadership of Matty Jones an increase of 60% year on year! The team works with children and disadvantaged groups across 5 counties Wrexham, Flintshire & Denbighshire, Conwy and Gwynedd providing many opportunities such as after school clubs, holiday camps, match visits, development centres and Futsal sessions. In addition on behalf of the Football Club they run foundation literacy, numeracy along with health & well being courses with hard to reach youngsters in schools across North wales in both English & Welsh. In addition they run a mental health football programme which with over 50 participants is the most successful in Wales.
In 2016, the RCF have launched girls football. The girls academy allows us to offer elite football training and games to girls across a number of age groups. The aim is to mirror the existing Wrexham AFC boys centre of excellence. We are running teams at Under 12’s, Under 14’s and Under 16’s age groups, meaning we now have a pathway for girls who have the ambition and dedication to showcase their skills at a very high and competitive level.
Our Community group again ran our annual bring a tin campaign in coordination with the Salvation Army/Wrexham Foodbank on 6th December at our home game v Macclesfield Town. The group also ran a successful Junior and Youth Dragons Christmas party with almost 100 youngsters having a great time with the players pre-Christmas, with all JD's being sent a Christmas card from manager Dean Keates and the players.
Going forward it is our aim to gain dementia friendly status and along with the support of Dave Mainwaring a Football Club volunteer and Jo Lane from the Alzheimer’s Society our first team squad recently attended a dementia awareness session and we have had a survey of the Racecourse carried out by someone living with dementia to identify hazards and be as dementia friendly as possible. The football club has applied for the Alzheimer’s Society official status, publicly recognising the football club and the Racecourse Ground for our work towards becoming a dementia friendly community.
In addition to this, the football club host meetings of the new dementia friendly Wrexham steering group. This group has been set up with the view to Wrexham town becoming a dementia friendly community. A member of the Trust board is represented on the group and one of the reminiscence group volunteers is the secretary.
Two of our charitable partners, The Caia Park Partnership and Advance Brighter Futures, were invited to carry out a bucket collection at recent home games. In addition to this a small auction was held at one of our fundraising group’s amazing events and also a quiz night at Saith Seren. As with previous partners, a signed ball, a signed shirt and 50 match day tickets have also been provided.
We have recently been approached by care providers in the town and surrounding villages with a view to offering enhanced match day experiences to disabled fans. The football club are keen to offer this service to all fans who could benefit from such an experience. To date we have provided stadium tours to two Autistic fans with positive feedback from their support staff.
We continue to work with the Disabled Supporters Association on projects including extending the number of disabled platforms in the stadium and are beginning to work with the Disabled Football Team on setting up a relationship for 2017.
We are very excited about how we can continue to give back to the community from which we draw support and play our part in making the region a better place to live with massive progress made in this area in 2016. Look out for the other articles highlighting the progress we are making over the course of this week.
The Boards of the Wrexham Supporters Trust and Wrexham AFC would like to wish everyone associated with Wrexham AFC a very happy and prosperous new year!