Local council cutbacks have been an unavoidable fact of life in this age of austerity, with many non-statutory services among the first to suffer.
But one school with a sterling record of community work teamed up with key partners to ensure that local primary schools would still have sporting opportunities that can mean so much for their pupils.
Bolton School helped to form the Bolton Sports Alliance in 2015, and since then the school has played a vital role in its continuing success.
The school’s football coach, Keith Branagan, has the job of finding a solution for local schools’ PE or sporting needs, whether it be coordinating their entire PE programme or finding short-term expertise for a specific sport. The school hosts an annual football festival, enjoyed by more than 10,000 7-11-year-olds. And its pupils help to run an annual sports festival, as well as town cross-country and swimming championships.
A testimonial from Gaskell Primary, an inner-city school in an area of high deprivation, spoke of how support from Bolton School had been “very positive” in its efforts to use sport as part of its inclusion programme for newly arrived international pupils.
The judges said: “There is an extraordinary amount of work being done for an awful lot of people, with a very wide range of opportunities being provided by Bolton School.
“They have been absolute leaders in the sector in community work. It is a really strong project that has had a very significant impact on its area. A shining city on the hill.”