Express & Star

Wolves Foundation promotes health across globe

While Nuno Espirito Santo and his team and owners Fosun are grabbing all the attention in China during Wolves’ historic first visit to the country, there’s plenty of good work going on behind the scenes.

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Staff from the Wolves Foundation have already been in China for a week, running sessions for youngsters in both Nanjing and Shanghai, promoting sport and exercise through activity-led sessions, often in deprived areas.

Working in conjunction with the Fosun Foundation, they hope to raise more awareness of the work they’ve been doing in the country for the past eight years – which has accelerated since Fosun bought Wolves in 2016.

One such session saw Morgan Gibbs-White and under-23 players Ed Francis and Christian Marques interact with local youngsters as young as three years old at a ‘miniversity’, dribbling little footballs around a room.

Will Clowes, head of the Wolves Foundation, told the Express & Star about the importance of the foundation’s work.

“This is an extension of the work we deliver in Wolverhampton,” he said.

“Whether it’s children, adults, OAPs – physical movement is right at the core of good physical and mental health.

“The foundation has been here for a week already and we’ve been working in China for about eight years, working with the Premier League and the British Council doing coach education projects.

“Since Fosun took over the club, we’ve increased the work we do out here – not in any way neglecting what we do in Wolverhampton, where we’re bigger than we’ve ever been.

“The Fosun Foundation is huge and supports its companies all over the globe. There’s a massive amount of work being done and we’re part of that.

“There’s so much opportunity to expand our work. From a Fosun Foundation point of view, it’s about social impact, helping people and supporting those in communities.”

The Wolves Foundation work in primary schools, secondary schools and colleges, run their own degree programme and work on health projects. Everything has a focus on being active.

Events in China have included being involved in an under-12s tournament during which youngsters could win the opportunity to train and play with a Premier League youth team next year.

They also ran a football session at a school in Nanjing for eight-to-11-year-olds, with teachers and parents receiving a presentation about Wolves and the foundation, before being invited to attended the Newcastle game on Wednesday night.

Clowes said having players like Gibbs-White on hand to inspire the youngsters was a big help.

“Morgan’s a great asset for us, being a local boy,” he said. “We were delighted when he played well and scored on Wednesday night.

“Players adapt to the situations, some are better in certain circumstances and I think Morgan relates well to younger children with his family network.

“He seemed like he had a great time.”

Wolves chairman Jeff Shi has been a big supporter of the foundation. Fosun are extremely well known across China and use their profile to boost their own foundation’s work.

“Fosun have really supported the work we’re doing,” Clowes added. “Jeff’s very supportive, it’s a big thing for him and he takes a keen interest in the work we’re doing. He likes the work we do, he has a interest in what we’re doing in China and how it links back to the foundation.”

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