Tell us about your organisation, how you started and what you do?

We are Wolves Martial Arts Community CIO; we are a non-profit charity in Wolverhampton. We offer free courses for children and adults throughout the year, allowing people to learn new skills, in a safe space, while meeting new people in the local community.

By offering this, it means people who might not normally be able to afford to do these classes/sport, are able to access this without the worry of costs; we help to bring people together, build friendships and in turn build a stronger community.

What has been your greatest achievement?

Last year, we received funding from Heart of England to provide Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for 6 -12 year olds with ADHD or mental health issues. This went really well.

This year, during the Summer Holiday we worked with Wolverhampton Council on the 6 week Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) Programme. It was so successful that we decided to continue to offer the Programme ourselves into September. We did this for free, with no costs to families. We still provided a packed lunch for children to either take home or eat at the centre.

We had great feedback from parents saying how grateful they were and how they had noticed improvements in their child’s behaviour/ or confidence even after just 6 weeks.

What is your experience of support received from WVCA?

We have had great support from WVCA, especially from Sharon, from the support in getting the charity set up to now. The support didn’t end once the charity was set up, I have been able to make contact with any questions we have as we go along. I feel confident that going forward, I can still get support and very promptly.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Wolverhampton?

Our most valuable lesson has been understanding that while people from different backgrounds, cultures, religions etc. are very different in a lot of ways, we can still find that common ground – i.e. through the power of sport. This is a great way of building confidence and friendships in a way that wouldn’t have happened outside.

What are some of the challenges you face and how can WVCA help to support your organisation in the future?

Some of the challenges we face are about finding the funding to be able to keep putting on more activities. We need to find the best funding that suits what we do. We want to continue to network with those who can/want to support what we do and/or want to get involved with what we do. We also want to keep finding those people who really need our services.

Where can we find out more?

Contact: Hugh Abercrombie
Wolves Martial Arts Community CIO
Charity number: 1191956

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