On 5th April 2023, Wolves head coach Julen Lopetegui visited the Wolves Foundation ahead of their upcoming Foundation Focus Fixture at Molineux. During the visit, Lopetegui and his first-team coach, Edu Rubio, met with staff and participants of Wolves Foundation’s Premier League Kicks programme, including Foundation ambassador Mark Rhodes and tried the VR experience Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES. The visit was part of a community feature that will air on Sunday morning’s Match of the Day repeat show on the BBC.
One of the unique opportunities given to the 12 to 18-year-old participants of the Premier League Kicks programme was a virtual reality workshop with VR Education provider Round Midnight. The workshop featured Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES VR, which offers players a range of virtual decisions that show them the consequences of getting involved in knife and gang crime. Lopetegui even tried out the technology himself.
Stuart Lane, Director and Founder and Round Midnight said “Julen really good into it, and was pretty vocal when he was wearing the headset” Stuart added “It was great to see him support the work that Round Midnight are doing with the Wolves Foundation and we cant wait to see it on Match of the Day.
Luke Shearing, community and cohesion manager at Wolves Foundation, said that Lopetegui and Rubio showed a great interest in what they do within Premier League Kicks and other projects across the wider Foundation. Shearing added that one of the key aims of the club’s official charity is to help create safer, stronger communities for everyone, and that the Foundation uses the power of football to reach vulnerable or socially isolated children who could be at risk of getting involved in crime.
The visit was also an opportunity to present the ‘One of Our Own’ award as part of the Premier League supports campaign to 14-year-old Taye, who regularly attends Premier League Kicks, is a member of the Foundation’s ‘Action Pack’ youth voice group, and a part of the matchday ball crew. Lopetegui presented Taye with a commemorative frame and scarf to mark the occasion.
Lopetegui praised the Foundation’s work and said that football has a positive intention and that the club works in a very good way to help a lot of people, especially children. He added that the Foundation’s programmes, including the Premier League Kicks and Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES VR, are fantastic and that they will do everything they can to highlight this and encourage everyone to give their support to the Foundation so they can continue their vital work.
The community feature that includes the Wolves Foundation visit will air on Match of the Day this Sunday, 9th April, from 8.25 am on BBC One, and will be available to watch on iPlayer all week.