This afternoon, five Willowpark Academy students will be virtual mascots as Latics host Grimsby Town in Sky Bet League Two.
During the summer of 2020, when the initial lockdown was ongoing, Oldham Athletic Community Trust (OACT) worked with Willowpark Academy on their own Olympics, an innovative and unique way to engage students whilst many were learning from home.
Chaddy the Owl set a series of challenges for students to take part in, with five winners chosen from the participants. Due to restrictions, it has taken longer than expected to reward the fantastic winners, however this afternoon the five students will be welcomed to Boundary Park as digital mascots. Pupils will get the opportunity to meet the players and lead the team out, in a digital manner, ahead of kick-off.
Due to the support of the club and EFL, the pupils will also be able to watch the game from home on iFollow.
Martin Vose, OACT Head of Community, commented; "We are delighted to welcome OACT partner school, Willowpark Academy, and their five Olympic winners to Boundary Park this afternoon.
"Whilst this digital opportunity can in no way replace inviting the pupils to the ground in person, it does highlight our ongoing commitment to our local community to provide positive opportunities through sport, even with the ongoing restrictions.
"At OACT we pride ourselves on being able to provide exciting and exclusive opportunities, such as these, to our school partners. As always I would like to thank Oldham Athletic for their support of our community work and for allowing such opportunities to take place."
Tom Owen, Year 5 Teacher & PE Leader at Willowpark said; "Firstly, I would like to thank OACT for their ongoing support and all of the opportunities for high quality sport, physical education and personal, social and health education they have provided us with this year and in previous years.
"Thinking back to the virtual Olympics we carried out in 2020, it does seem like quite a while ago, but we did promise the winners a prize when we eventually could. Even though it is not the usual mascot experience one might expect, it is as close as we can get in the current circumstances and we are really grateful to Oldham Athletic for putting on the event. The children are really looking forward to it and I am sure they will have a lovely time."
Alongside today's digital mascot invitation, OACT are delighted to have worked with Willowpark Academy on a number of additional opportunities, alongside weekly PE delivery:
- Junior Sports Leaders qualification.
- School teaching staff CPD.
- Midday supervisor lunchtime activities CPD.
- Six weeks of PSHE targeted intervention.
- Free PL Kicks Holiday Club, including a visit from Chaddy the Owl.
- Oldham Athletic virtual player visit with George Blackwood.
- School community support, such as 'Food for Thought'.
- 30 free books, linked to World Book Day.
- 'Play on the Pitch' hire at Boundary Park.
For further information on the how your school can benefit from OACT's schools-based provision, email Martin.Vose@OACT.org.uk