Blackburn Rovers will be recognised and celebrated in Parliament for their outstanding community work having been named North West Checkatrade Community Club of the Year as part of the 2018 EFL Awards.
Following the exceptional work of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, the Club will be joined alongside five other EFL regional winners at the House of Commons on Monday 12th March to receive their awards with EFL Chairman Ian Lenagan, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch and Communities Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth all confirmed to speak at the event.
Rovers will then be put forward alongside the five other regional winners for the 2018 Checkatrade Community Club of the Year Award, which will be announced at the EFL Awards on Sunday 15th April in central London.
Blackburn Rovers Community Trust impressed the judges with their Social Inclusion Football League, a joint venture between the Club and social care provider Creative Support. The league is hosted at the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre at Ewood Park and is designed to support people with needs in mental health, substance misuse, social isolation and homelessness.
It is the second time in three years that the Community Trust has been praised for their work at this level, having also received the same accolade in 2015, showing the consistency of the charity’s work over a sustained period.
The delighted Blackburn Rovers Community Trust CEO, Gary Robinson, said:
“We are immensely proud to have been named as the Checkatrade Community Club of the Year for the North West region once again and are excited at the opportunity that it presents to tell so many more people about the vital work that we undertake.
“I would like to congratulate our staff, our stakeholders and all of our participants for this award – it has been a real team effort, and it proves the power of Blackburn Rovers as a vehicle for positive change, knowing how much it means to people.
“We strive to better ourselves every year, and generating our highest annual income in 2017 for the period the club has played in the EFL has allowed us to reinvest more than £1.2m in our local community over the past 12 months, for the benefit of tens of thousands of people. This furthers the fantastic work that we have been undertaking for the past five years or more to build up some exceptional programmes that are enjoyed by so many people.
“Football and sport are a fantastic unifying force, and our work across our four key themes of education, health, social inclusion and sports participation has been a great way of uniting people from all backgrounds across Blackburn with Darwen and our surrounding boroughs for many years. We can really see many elements of our work making a key difference to the lives of local people and we are proud that our continued growth means that we can also back Blackburn Rovers and its supporters to an increasingly notable effect.”
Commending the Community Trust’s efforts, Blackburn Rovers chief executive Steve Waggott added: “I am absolutely delighted to see the fantastic work of our Community Trust has resulted in Blackburn Rovers winning the North West Checkatrade Community Club of the Year Award against some other extremely strong community focused clubs.
“It is always pleasing to receive external recognition for all the tremendous effort and application Blackburn Rovers Community Trust generates into the community we serve.
“One of our key strategic objectives is to continually promote the Blackburn Rovers brand in a positive way. This is something we aim to keep building on as our Community Trust goes from strength to strength.”
Explaining how the award was made, EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “EFL Clubs are based in the heart of communities up and down the country, often in some of the most disadvantaged areas. It’s important that we recognise the Clubs that have gone that extra mile to make a real difference to the community they represent which is why the announcement of the Checkatrade Community Club of the Year regional winners is a fitting tribute to the excellent and innovative work that takes place.
“I’m proud to say that all Clubs, not just the winners, are at the forefront of helping to tackle some of the biggest issues in society by using the power of the Club badge.
“In 2018 we celebrate 10 years of the EFL Trust and in the past decade our Clubs have played an instrumental part in transforming their local community, from helping to reduce crime, improving health and inspiring education. Hundreds of thousands of people have been, and will continue to be, positively influenced by the work undertaken in this area 7 days a week, 365 days a year.”
The EFL received strong submissions from a wide range of Clubs with the panel marking the applications on social impact and their showcase projects.
The six regional winners were selected by an independent judging panel including, The Times’ Chief Football Writer, Henry Winter, Team Leader for Faith Engagement, Department for Communities and Local Government, Hilary Patel, Director of CSR at The PFA, John Hudson, Sky Sports’ Michael Weightman and the EFL Trust Director of Operations, Mike Evans.
For more information regarding the 2018 EFL Awards, please visit www.efl.com, or to learn more about the work of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, please head to www.brfctrust.co.uk.