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A Fitting Home: Oldham College Teams Up With Bulldogs On Inspiring Community Project

Fitton Hill Bulldogs and Oldham College staff at the club's home

OLDHAM College has teamed up with Fitton Hill Bulldogs and partners on an inspiring community vision to benefit local residents of all ages.

This ambitious project is regenerating the amateur Rugby League club’s home by transforming the donated shell of a former NHS building into an impressive new base.

The headquarters will host new facilities – including a gym, café and area for community drop-in information and advice sessions – benefitting people in one of the borough’s most deprived areas. 

Fitton Hill Bulldogs was re-established in 2000 by the father and son team of John and David Hughes. Since then they have obtained a 25-year lease on a nine-acre site off Rosary Road, renovated the playing pitch and grown their ranks to field three rugby league and five football teams for sports-mad youngsters.

Since joining forces on this project, dozens of Oldham College learners have already enjoyed exciting opportunities to test their skills in a real-world environment.

T Level plumbing students have been on-site refitting and installing bathroom and toilet units, for example – and construction learners spent weeks removing fire damage from walls and fittings, and clearing the site.

Digital T Level and Level 3 learners are now developing a website for the Fitton Hill project leaders while finance and professional students compile a Business Plan and documents to support future funding bids.

Alun Francis, Oldham College Principal & Chief Executive, said: “This is an inspiring project that is giving fantastic value and experience to everyone involved.”

“It’s providing great work experience for our learners, but is also giving them life lessons about being a good citizen and the rewards you get from pitching in to making a difference to your local community.

“This epitomises what Oldham College is all about: preparing learners for the world of work, giving them positive values and role models, and giving something back to our borough.

“Working with Fitton Hill Bulldogs is an excellent experience and we’re hoping more local businesses, individuals or groups will come on board and help with donations of professional help, materials or labour.”

Completion of this project will see the new club headquarters hosting a range of drop-in sessions and activities for elderly and disabled residents – plus the neighbouring New Bridge Academy secondary school which serves SEND learners from the age of 11 to 19. This will also mean further work experience opportunities for Oldham College learners in Health and Social Care, Early Years, Hair and Beauty, and Performing Arts.

David Hughes, Fitton Hill Bulldogs’ Vice Chairman, said: “We’re really proud of what has already been achieved through several years’ of effort by the club and local people.”

“It’s been fantastic having Oldham College learners here to help out in so many different ways. They’ve all worked incredibly hard and their commitment and enthusiasm has had a big impact on the trustees and everyone involved.

“The premises are getting ready for the next stage of works, but there is still much to be done and we’d be delighted to talk to any local people, groups or businesses who think they could help out in any way, big or small.

“When communities and organisations come together like this, it is amazing what you can achieve. We’re proud to be helping people that enjoy sports, but also to offer important new opportunities to young people and adults from Fitton Hill and the surrounding areas as a vibrant new community hub.”

Anyone interested in learning about opportunities to get involved in the Fitton Hill Bulldogs project should contact: David Hughes by email to [email protected] or calling 07757 919529 or Marilyn Fisher, Treasurer, at [email protected] or 07786 762022.

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