Rovers defender Elliott Ward believes Blackburn Youth Zone has a significant role to play in the town and was left impressed with the facilities on show when he called in on Thursday evening.
The 32-year-old visited the Youth Zone to open the brand new GAME Room, which has been set up by the local store, and he also participated in a 30-minute game of football on the 4G pitch on the roof of the building.
It is another fine example of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s strong relationship with the Youth Zone, after the pair went into partnership in August this year.
The evening began with Simon, a regular participant at the Youth Zone, reading a short passage to officially open the GAME Room, before Ward was challenged to a game of FIFA by 12-year-old Reece.
It was all too fitting that the game was a Lancashire derby between Blackburn Rovers and Burnley, with Ward of course playing as Rovers, and he ensured the bragging rights went to Ewood Park with a 3-1 victory.
The centre back then went upstairs and donned the gloves; opting to be a goalkeeper for half an hour in a small-sided game on the 4G pitch, before concluding his evening by visiting the onsite gym.
Speaking after his visit to Blackburn Youth Zone, Ward said: “I enjoyed playing FIFA and winning as Blackburn Rovers.
“It was a pleasure to open the GAME Room and it gives the local children somewhere to hang out. It is only 50p to come along and the facilities are quality.
“It is another way for the young people to connect with Blackburn Rovers and with the town. They can do all sorts of different things here and there's even a gym. There aren't too many gym memberships around for 50p!
“I am not surprised it's so busy. Facilities have really developed a lot since I was younger and 4G pitches weren't around.
“I remember we used to use benches as goals so the facilities on offer at places like Blackburn Youth Zone has brought the game forward for the youth of today.
“I would have loved to have paid 50p to come to a social club and I'm very impressed with the facilities.”
To find out more information about the Blackburn Youth Zone and how to get involved, please click here.