International Women’s Day provides the perfect platform to welcome a lady who has recently arrived to play a pivotal role in the planned growth of our award-winning Community Trust.
Jess Clegg is a name who will hopefully become very familiar to local businesses, community organisations and charity volunteers, as she has joined the successful organisation as our new events and fundraising officer, tasked with the remit of creating exciting new opportunities for even more people and companies to work in partnership with the Blackburn Rovers' official charity.
On a day when the #PressForProgress hashtag is accompanying the social media content about the international day to promote the role of women, it’s a phrase that Jess can easily hijack as she looks to help the Community Trust to capitalise on being named as the north west’s best performing charitable organisation within the EFL this week.
“I’m here to try and raise the profile of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust within the local business community, among our fans and with the local residents by running a number of events and fundraising opportunities,” explained the new recruit from the sports development team at Preston City Council.
“I’ve worked in sports development for a number of years and I’ve organised numerous mass participation sporting events, celebration evenings and various different things like that, so I felt that this would be a good challenge.
“I’ve been a Blackburn fan since day one, I live locally and I play football for Blackburn Community Sports Club at Lammack in their ladies first team, so I thought it would be good to tie everything together. I knew all about the Community Trust before I came and I’d been in touch with them last year to try and help recruit players for our team last year, so I was familiar with the great things that they do.”
Knowing the surroundings has helped Jess to hit the ground running in her first couple of weeks as an Ewood Park employee, ensuring that she has made rapid progress in getting plans in place to facilitate the kind of participation and fundraising opportunities that she has been brought in to create. She continued:
“We’ve already got some events in the pipeline that I’ll be heavily involved in organising and promoting. There will be things like fun runs coming up and various challenges throughout the summer that the local community can get involved in, and I’m also here to help support the football club on successful events that they host, such as the Winter Wonderland and the Eco-Schools Festival. It’s going to be exciting to work with an interesting variety of organisations and people.
“Despite only being here for a short period of time, I’m already familiar with the wide number of projects that we’re running and I’ve been able to identify numerous opportunities for sponsorship for companies that want to get involved in them, as well as looking at ways in which companies can sponsor various one-off or regular events that we’re in the process of planning.
“We are open to ideas for events, so if anybody has any really exciting ideas that they want to put forward, I’m really happy for them to get in touch with me. Hopefully I can meet up with them to see how we can make things work and raise money to help the Community Trust support as many people as possible.”
Asking individuals or organisations to part with their cash in a challenging economic climate means that the new opportunity will require plenty of hard work from the keen footballer, but she is keen to maximise the boost that has come with this week’s news that the EFL’s North West Checkatrade Community Club of the Year accolade is coming to Ewood Park.
“It's brilliant timing that we’ve won the award just as I’m arriving and it’s a real credit to the staff that work here,” she explained. “They’re a fantastic team and I can already see the potential for success with the staff that we have.
“It’s no surprise to me that the Community Trust has won this award and I’m proud to be working with these people. I may have only been here a few days, but I’m already making sure that I’m telling everyone that I meet that we’re the EFL’s Checkatrade Community Club of the Year for the north west!”
Knowing grassroots women’s sports is an added bonus for the new face of fundraising at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, and on International Women’s Day, it was an opportune time to highlight the prevalence of opportunities for females across so much of the work undertaken by both the club and its official charity. She concluded:
“I’ve heard a lot about the girls’ development centres, the line dancing group that meets here each week and the netball leagues that take place at the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre, so there’s clearly a lot going on here for girls.
“The club’s women’s team are obviously successful at the minute as well, so there’s plenty happening around the club and Community Trust to provide opportunities for women.”
If you or your organisation would like to partner with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust to create an event, fundraising opportunity or sponsorship arrangement, please email Jess via firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the countless possibilities on offer with our charity.