Blackburn Rovers Community Trust continues to go from strength to strength and it's unparalleled success this season was officially recognised at the 10th annual Football League Awards, where it was named North West Community Club of the Year.
The category recognises the community schemes that best demonstrated success at engaging with the local community in the 2014 calendar year, with Rovers one of five regional winners, whilst also shortlisted for the national award.
Blackburn Rovers Community Trust is fully committed to offering all members of the local community access to the highest quality programme of grassroots sports, education, inclusion and awareness projects to encourage off-field participation, success and enjoyment.
At all times, the Trust is keen to use the profile and brand of Blackburn Rovers Football Club to greatest effect, committed to developing a comprehensive and diverse range of community initiatives and partnership-working practices to open up new avenues of life chances and make a positive difference to the lives of the people of Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire.
The power of football to engage, enthuse and motivate people, irrespective of age, gender and ethnicity, is now recognised on many stages. As a vehicle through which community cohesion and narrowing the gap in health, education, aspirations and opportunity can be addressed, the local draw of Blackburn Rovers and the unrivalled power of the brand name to bring additional credibility, cannot be underestimated.
In 2014, the community scheme delivered 35 projects and engaged with a record number of more than 19,000 participants, a 14% increase from 2013.
The Trust invested over £600,000 into the local community last year, via its programmes and projects, which range from sport and health sessions for children and adults; education courses for young adults; BME health and sports sessions; disability football, dance and social activities for the elderly; drug rehabilitation and mental health recovery programmes and estate-based projects to reduce anti-social behaviour.
Personnel has increased, with the community arm of the club now employing 18 members of staff and working with over 30 volunteers, and the Trust provides over 15,500 hours of contact time per year with local people, which equates to over 41 hours a day, for every day of the year.
Last year, the Trust also invested in additional facilities and now boasts six classrooms, three indoor pitches, a dance studio and a state-of-the-art business facility in the Enterprise Centre, all purpose-built for community use.
Rovers’ Head of Community, Gary Robinson, said: “A lot of hard work went into winning the North West Community Club of the Year award and it is a very proud achievement.
“We have been working tirelessly in the community to re-engage with local people and use the BRFC brand to inspire positive change and create opportunities.
“We engaged with almost 20,000 people last year – a record high for the Trust – and we hope to widen the net further going forward, because we care passionately about the greater Blackburn area.”