At half-time during the match on Tuesday evening against Bolton Wanderers, Justine Blomeley from Sport England presented a cheque for £78,488 to Andrew Kelly, Chairman of Rochdale AFC Football in the Community Trust, for an improving participation and health project.

NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group who are supporting the project with a donation of £25,000 were also represented through Dr Chris Duffy, who selected Bastian Hery as the Man of the Match.

The project is intended to increase male and female participation in sporting activities for two age groups - 18 to 39s and 40 to 55s - focusing in the wards of Spotland & Falinge, Milkstone & Deeplish, and Smallbridge & Firgrove.

The aim is to attract participants in these wards by offering football, basketball and volleyball sessions, then provide pathways to help in reducing health inequalities, focusing on diet and nutrition, smoking and alcohol.

Participants will be offered the opportunity to undertake coaching, sports leader, sports volunteer or officiating awards. They will also be offered the opportunity to train as health trainers.

It is hoped that the three year programme will go some way in assisting the people of Rochdale to live healthier lifestyles.

Sport England Rochdale