Youngsters learn the importance of identity

It’s been a busy month at Barlow Park as members have been breaking down barriers by getting to know their own identity and others around them.

Using various activities, members looked at issues surrounding hate crime and how that links to their own identity. Each evening, members took part in a wide range of activities to raise awareness of the prejudice that can lead to hate crime.

One of the activities the members took part in involved having a picture of their face taken and then having that picture cut in various ways to include other faces of members to show that they are all one person as a member of BLGC. The members also looked at their own identity as an individual and their identity as a BLGC member and how that has an effect on their outlook. The activities allowed the members to not only find out more about their identity but also that of others.

Bolton Lads & Girls Club have been using the sessions to educate the young members about the implications of hate crime and the importance of identity.

The members have been busy creating a short video along with a poem to voice their message on identity and will be previewing that once the project ends next week.


Spotlight on —– Volunteer Coordinator – Joanne Gavin

Our dedicated staff play a crucial role in making sure that the Bolton Lads & Girls Club doors are always open. This month we put the spotlight on Joanne Gavin who started helping at the Club as a volunteer at events before becoming a paid staff member with BLGC in 2015. Read on to find out why Joanne is so passionate about her job as a Volunteer Coordinator.

Name: Joanne Gavin

Age: the big 50 at the end of the year but volunteering and working here makes me feel 20 years younger!

Job Title: Volunteer Coordinator

How long have you been with BLGC?

I started as a volunteer helping at events in January 2000 after a request from Nick Hopkinson who was my boss at the time and was also running the fundraising event.  In 2007 I became a volunteer mentor which I still do now and in 2015 I became a paid member of the team.

What do you most enjoy about your role?

I love finding the amazing volunteers and starting them on their journey, whether it be as a mentor, youth club worker, football coach or any role which would suit their expertise. Its great going out and talking to the people of Bolton about what we do and how being a volunteer with Bolton Lads & Girls Club is such a great opportunity, both for the young person but also for the volunteer.

What do you get out of your role?

I love watching the confidence blossom with our volunteers. The immense satisfaction I get from seeing the positive relationships the volunteers build either 1-1 or with a group of young people cannot be measured.

Would you recommend anyone to becoming a Volunteer? 

Yes! It’s such a rewarding role, volunteers are not always altruistic, they may be doing it to get experience either for education or work purposes for example so it’s great to see them reach their full potential. When you see a volunteer mentor with their mentee and the amazing bond they have developed and know that you helped find that person, how could you not recommend that as a job.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about becoming a Volunteer coordinator

Become a volunteer yourself in an area that interests you, be passionate about what you represent, how can you convince others to give up their time for free if you’ve never done it yourself.

What makes working at BLGC so special?

BLGC is a family, we are all different, we support each other, laugh and cry with each other but we all have the one goal, “ensuring the young people of Bolton have somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to” watching a young person mature and reach their potential, being that safe place, offering opportunities that young people would not get otherwise, how can anyone not think that’s special!

If you have been inspired by Joanne’s story and would like to get involved with Bolton Lads & Girls Club, please do get in touch with us.

Meet a member – Harry Bradley

Harry Bradley, aged 9, has been a member of the Club at Westhoughton since it opened back in 2016. Harry explains about his incredible BLGC journey and the reasons why he is such a committed member of the Club.

Initially, a football fanatic Harry engaged well with our sports programme, loving the team games outside throughout the summer months and then even more with the alternative indoor games we delivered over winter months.

Over the last few months, BLGC has seen fantastic growth in Harry with him being actively engaged in absolutely every part of our programme. From Young Enterprise stars and the Junior Apprentice challenge to learning about Westhoughton history in the Heritage project, which he found really interesting and then recently begging his parents (who had taken time off in the holiday period) to bring him to take part in our holiday club.

When speaking to Harry’s mum she said: “He’s never had somewhere like this to go before, it’s fantastic and we are so lucky to have the youth club.

“It’s such a positive experience for him, he just can’t get enough of it and never misses a session!

“I can’t believe how accessible it is, just 50p it’s brilliant. I work with some disadvantaged families and I know it makes all the difference.”

Harry added: “The staff are very friendly and they plan such great activities for the kids. I really enjoy coming to the Club as it allows me to make new friends form different schools and it also gives me something to do and gets me out of the house.

“All the fun activities we play and the outdoor games are just brilliant!”

Harry turns up to every session with the same enthusiasm as the session before and he’s already massively excited about taking part in the BLGC Science Week, which Harry’s mums says “he just loves.”

Harry also plays an active role at Westhoughton and encourages young people to be empowered about their club. Harry and his friends put ideas forward which they believe could help make the place even better.

Recently Harry and his Friends wrote a letter to the Clubs Head of Operations, Carly Brown, requesting a Junior club trip. The letter detailed that they had spoken to Junior Club about it and even gave her several suggested trip locations.

This is exactly the bottom up approach that the youth club encourages and it’s fantastic to see young people getting involved, after all it is their Club.

Harry has ambitions of one day being able to work at Westhoughton and can’t wait to be a young leader and give back to the Club he loves and help other young people develop and grow just like himself.

Harry has found Westhoughton to be a crucial part of his childhood and we can’t wait to see him in yellow and blue one day!

Junior Club members learn entrepreneurial skills

Junior Club members at Bolton Lads & Girls Club got the chance to taste what it feels like to be an entrepreneur, as they were tasked with setting up their own business, as part of the month long Junior Apprentice initiative.

Exploring the world of business, the young entrepreneurs put their team work, planning and creativity to the test, by using limited resources to make a profit on their return.

Week one kicked off with a cupcake challenge, where the members had to sell as many cakes as they possibly could. With an overall time of just one hour to plan, bake and sell, the youngsters soon hit their stride as they carefully sourced ingredients and split the roles of project manager, cashier and supervisor between them.

In week two youngsters were tested on their presentation skills, as they were given a list of 20 tasks to complete in a period of an hour. Equipped with a camera and keen eye, the members had to take 20 different photos to present back to the other teams and judges with various levels of difficulty set with each picture challenge.

It was a case of stepping into the Dragon’s Den in week 3, as members had to create a new product and pitch to a ‘Dragon’ for investment. The teams had to design and create a prototype with unique selling points that made them stand out. Using art materials and computers as resources, the members really had their team work, problem solving and resilience tested during the one hour they had to plan, design and present their pitch to the ‘BLGC Dragon’.

Week four was all about selling as the members were given an amount of £10 and were tasked with making that into a profit. The members had to source their own products to sell ensuring that the profit margins were adequate to their needs.

The Junior Apprentice scheme is hoped to encourage entrepreneurial skills and give members the encouragement and confidence to go out and work on their own business ideas, with the BLGC Enterprise Pathway helping them to hone and nurture these talents along the way.

Science Club goes off with a BANG!

Bolton Lads & Girls Club provided the backdrop to a spectacular week of Science as young people immersed themselves into a world of unforgettable experiences.

Real life Scientist, Matt Jones, carefully structured a blend of hands-on physics, chemistry and biology activities to enthuse youngsters to view science, engineering, teamwork and problem solving in a new light – as pioneers of the future.

During the activities, the young people engaged in various hands on experiments that not only stimulated their minds with new skills and knowledge but engaged them into the world of science.

Using everyday components, the youngsters took on an array of activities which included building lava lamps to test the density between oil and water as well as building cola rockets that explored the boundaries of chemical reaction, distance and measurements.

There was even some strange smells being wafted down the corridors of Bolton Lads & Girls Club as the sounds of bangs and explosions echoed the normally calm environment as the youngsters designed and built their very own fully functioning volcano.

The curiosity of the youngsters was also put to the test as they experimented with skittles to see the real effects of how food colouring used in every day products can be affected when mixed with water.

With such positive reaction to the science club, we hope the youngsters will now be enthused about the world of science to embark on an adventure of possibly becoming the next Einstein.


BLGC to receive support from Professional Footballers’ Association

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and Bolton Lads and Girls Club (BLGC) are delighted to announce a partnership that will see BLGC volunteers and staff receive substantial support and funding in Coach Education from the PFA. This investment in the future coaching of BLGC teams and players will help to raise the bar in grass roots football and support the club’s overall aim to be the best football club in Bolton and the surrounding areas.

Andrew Tower, commercial manager at BLGC said: “We believe that our members deserve the best and so with the PFA supporting our already highly committed volunteers we will be able to further upskill our coaches through coach education and mentoring that will in-turn help us to develop better players as well as support the next generation of coaches joining our club. This together with being able to offer state of the art training and match facilities at the BLGC Sports Facility means that our aim is fast becoming reality. As a PFA member myself, I have benefitted from the incredible support that the PFA offers and knowing how much this helps to develop coaches I’m really excited by the partnership and being able to extend this to all BLGC coaches. I can’t thank the PFA enough.”

John Hudson, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for the PFA stated: ‘’For over 30 years the PFA have been investing in Community Programmes based at Professional Football across the country in areas of Health, Education, Social Inclusion, Sports Participation and Equalities. The partnership with Bolton Lads and Girls club further demonstrates our commitment to grass roots Football and in this case the development of Coach Education provision to up-skill volunteers and staff to provide quality support for the benefit of hundreds of youngsters from Bolton and surrounding areas.”


BLGC Football Camp

Bolton Lads & Girls Club will be running a football camp during February half term (Monday 20th to Friday 24th February 2017) at BLGC Sports Facility, Hacken Lane, Bolton, BL3 1SD.

The football camp will run from 10am to 3pm with extended drop-off and collection times available at additional cost.

The football camp is available to anyone from the age of 5 to 11 years old and will cost £10 per day.

Every child attending must bring a packed lunch, drinks, shin pads, football boots (no blades) and waterproof clothing.

To book your place on February half term Football Camp, please call 01204 540 100.

All Coaches are FA qualified.

Francis Lee Golf Classic

The annual Francis Lee Golf Classic in aid of Bolton Lads & Girls Club is back!

The Francis Lee Golf Classic takes place each year at Bolton Golf course to raise vital funds to help keep the club doors open seven days a week for young people of Bolton.

We are delighted to have the continued support of Club Vice President and Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers legend, Francis Lee in whose honour the event is named.

This year the event will be held on Thursday 8th June 2017. Please Come and join us for a fantastic day of golf with Francis Lee.

What promises to be memorable with great prizes and trophies to be won, the day will consist of an 11.45am arrival with lunch, a 1.30pm  gun shot start, 18 hole Stableford followed by a three course dinner from 7.00pm (extra evening guests are welcome at a small cost). Teams are made up of four players at a cost of £600 per team. Last year we had 18 teams taking part and this year we want to go bigger and better!

For more information or to book your place please email or call our Fundraising team 01204 540 130.

Read the latest BLGC newsletter

Every month we like to bring you the latest news from BLGC. Read Januarys newsletter here.

Business Breakfast proves big success for Bolton Lads & Girls Club

More than 80 local business people attended the first in a series of ‘Business Breakfast’ planned for 2017 by Bolton Lads & Girls Club. Guests from a range of local businesses based in and around the Bolton area were welcomed with coffee and breakfast and given the opportunity for an open networking session with their peers.

Supporters and Patrons were welcomed by the Clubs Head of Fundraising, Shona Walsh, who delivered a speech about the importance of working with local businesses to bring a positive impact to Bolton Lads & Girls Club.

The Business Breakfast was also an opportunity for current patrons of the club to welcome five new patrons, Taylor & Taylor, Parr Fire Protection Services, Whitewell Financial Planning Ltd, Harewood Associates Ltd and sponsors of the Business Breakfast, Scruffy Money to the historic and successful organisation.

Speaking at the event, Shona Walsh, said: “It’s wonderful that our esteemed Patrons continue to lend their commitment and support to the work of Bolton Lads & Girls Club.

“We are very grateful for their support and recognition of the value of the services we provide in Bolton and look forward to working together.”

Guests were also treated to a presentation by Chris Dawes, Director and the newest patrons of the club, Scruffy Monkey, who spoke about his excitement of being involved in creating a new Patron Portal which allows fellows Patrons of the Club to have unique access and a networking circle with each other.

Chris explained: “Business Breakfast meetings like this are an amazing opportunity to network and build partnerships with fellow patrons and supporters.

“It’s great that we have been able to showcase the new Patron portal which will allow fellow patrons to connect as there are so many benefits.”

The next Business Breakfast is planned to take place April 27th, for more information on becoming a patron at Bolton Lads & Girls Club or attending the Business Breakfast, please contact Shona Walsh on 01204 540130.