Our closer look into the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust Impact Report continues today by focussing on a remarkable individual who has arguably experienced more success across a range of the charity's activities than anyone else.
We are serialising a pick of the case studies from the recently released document to showcase the breadth of the work they undertake on behalf of our local area, with today's focus being on female football star Jade Elliott.
In the document reviewing the pick of last year's most impressive achievements, it reflects on how far she has come thanks to the opportunities presented to her by an organisation that helped more than 42,000 participants in the previous calendar year, many with their own success stories to tell...
Jade Elliott has arguably had a more remarkable 2016 than anyone else connected with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust.
Her name first came to our attention in 2014 as a shy 14-year-old when she started taking part in our Premier League Kicks programme at Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre, offering her a way of keeping up with her passion for football away from school and club action.
Little did she (or we) realise that two years down the line, she would literally be making headlines for all the right reasons as a pioneer for female participation in one of our mostly male-dominated programmes, as well as using her new-found con dence to encourage countless others to do exactly as she had done before - taking a head first leap into the multitude of exciting projects that the Community Trust offers.
From Kicks, she became a BTEC in Sport student on our two-year Level 3 course in time for the 2015/16 academic year, where she became the only female player to see out the season in the EFL Trust Futsal League (shaking off unwelcome jibes from male players at other clubs along the way). Her inspiring tale saw her become the star of a full page spread in the Lancashire Evening Post and receive TV fame via new local channel That’s Lancashire – both of whom were enthralled by her story.
Such has been her positive experience with the Community Trust, Jade became a passionate cheerleader for our programmes, from being interviewed at Blackburn Rovers home matches about National Citizen Service through to performing freestyle displays at the stadium and helping to recruit half a dozen fellow females to this year’s BTEC programme as the ‘poster girl’ for our current posters and leaflets – enough for an all-girl futsal team.
Aside from joining our NCS delivery group as a team leader, she has also become a role model for young people as the driving force behind the Blackburn Youth Board; the benefits of which will become apparent in 2017 as she and other like-minded youngsters showcase how their skills and ideas can benefit the town.
“Jade is an absolute star and is such a willing and determined young person to work with,” says Chris McGrail, head of BTEC and NCS. “She inspires others to follow in her brave footsteps and it has been a pleasure to witness her transformation into an outgoing leader of so many young people.”
When looking at people who have really made an impact in 2016, teenager Jade is right at the top of our list.