A major new chapter for Wigan children’s charity

Rosie Cooper MP with AppleCast chief executive Neil Farnworth and trustee Christine Jones at the opening of the Ecocentre
Rosie Cooper MP with AppleCast chief executive Neil Farnworth and trustee Christine Jones at the opening of the Ecocentre

A charity which helps disabled children and adults through fishing-related activities has opened a new eco-centre and respite lodges.

Wigan Council leader David Molyneux and West Lancs MP Rosie Cooper were among the VIP guests to see this major moment for Newburgh-based AppleCast.

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The charity supports excluded young people and adults with special educational needs or disabilities, and began in 2006 when Cast North West was founded by Neil Farnworth.

A merger with like-minded charity Red Apple Trust followed in December 2016 to form AppleCast.

As the charity expanded it was evident that young people were showing an interest in developing their knowledge and to learn new skills, to which CAST developed an education package which embedded literacy and numeracy, centred around the sport of angling.

Ms Cooper said: “I met with Neil a few months back to learn about the work of AppleCast and the plans they have to develop and expand their offering and education to those disadvantaged or not otherwise in education, employment or training.

“It is a remarkable facility and the expansion now to include this eco-centre continues to grow the opportunities the users have available to them in building self-esteem and upskilling themselves. 200 kids a week come here and learn skills which they can take out into the world with them.

Also attending was Christine Jones, whose late husband Eric was a founder of Red Apple Trust. She said: “It is with great pride that I’m here today to see the official opening of the AppleCast Eco-centre in memory of Eric, recognising the work he did to create the beginnings of what we see here now. Neil and his team have realised Eric’s dream and much more and I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”