Stevenage FC Foundation has donated over £1,000 to the Willow Foundation after fundraising by local youngsters on its National Citizen Service programmes.
When tasked with working with a local charity to give something back to their community and raise either funds or awareness, at least one group of participants in each of the last three NCS programmes - held in the Summer, Autumn and Spring - have worked with the Willow Foundation.
Founded by former Arsenal goalkeeper and TV presenter, Bob Wilson and his wife Megs, Willow is a lasting memorial to their daughter, Anna, who died of cancer aged 31. The Welwyn Garden City-based charity works with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days.
- Last Summer, a team of 15 young people held a Mini Olympics at Marriotts Sports Centre which ran alongside gaining their Level 1 Sports Leaders Award. There were 52 youngsters who turned up to participate in the day and donated to the Willow Foundation, raising a total of £350 for the charity.
- In the Autumn, several cake sales at dance schools and primary schools helped young people raise £230.
- The most recent Spring group raised £430.39 by taking part in a sponsored leg wax at half time of the Northampton game, a cake sale at a secondary school and also collected sponsorship to take part in a base jump from a 125 foot building.
Some male participants on the Spring NCS programme took part in a half-time sponsored leg wax back in March
In total Stevenage FC Foundation's NCS programmes have donated a total of £1,010.39 to the Willow Foundation and last week representatives from the Foundation attended a special thank you event held by the charity.
Stevenage FC Foundation's NCS Coordinator Dani Burge commented, "It has been fantastic to work closely with everyone at the Willow Foundation and we were delighted to be invited to the Thank You Hertfordshire event last week. Our NCS groups have all worked incredibly hard to come up with ideas of how they can fundraise for the charity to help make more special days possible.
"Willow is the only National Charity in the UK working with seriously ill 16-40 year olds providing them with an uplifting special day for them and their families and hearing about the types of special days that Willow have provided in the past and the impact that it has for those people and their families is what makes Willow such a special charity.
"It was an honour to present Bob and Megs Wilson with the cheque for £430.39 from the most recent NCS programme and they were eternally grateful. I would like to say a big thank you to Holly Wright, the Community fundraiser who is always very supportive of our NCS programmes and the young people and makes it even more of a pleasure to work with Willow."
Since 1999 the Willow Foundation has fulfilled more than 12,000 Special Days for young adults living with life-threatening conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease. For some their Special Day is the opportunity to return some normality to their lives. For others it is the last chance to fulfil a dream. But for all, at what is the most difficult of times, a Special Day can lift spirits, reunify families and be a source of strength when it’s needed most.
Megs Wilson said, “It is a great pleasure and an honour to meet with Willow’s local supporters, they are the heart of Willow – where we began and helping us to grow to a national level. We are so grateful for everyone’s hard work and continued support.”
Holly Wright, Willow Community Fundraiser said: “It was fantastic to be able to thank all these incredible people, in person. Our supporters and volunteers are generous and dedicated and it’s been amazing working with them all this year, I’ve had a lot of fun hearing about all the creative ways in which they’ve raised money, from head shaves, to cake baking sales, to golf days and even a sponsored leg waxing event'
To find about more about the Willow Foundation you can visit their website at https://www.willowfoundation.org.uk.
To find out how you can get involved in Stevenage's next National Citizen Service programme this Summer click here.