A team from Darwen Vale High School were narrowly defeated when they represented Blackburn Rovers Community Trust in the Premier League Enterprise Challenge regional play-offs at Liverpool Football Club.
The team, who earned the right to represent Rovers after winning the club heat at Ewood Park last December, went up against five other clubs in a bid to reach the national final in London later in the year. All six of the teams had to pitch ideas to address diversity in their fan base. The Vale team’s plan focused on having a multi-cultural stand at Ewood Park. Their ideas included re-naming the Family Stand as the Community Stand to encourage more people to feel part of the club.They also suggested bringing a multi-faith prayer room into the former media room so people can pray when matches are on, and also offering halal and kosher food to fans.
Rovers’ Premier League Enterprise co-ordinator Liam Bedford believes the panel of judges liked the ideas.
He said: “The kids worked so hard and they are completely legitimate, especially with the low attendances. This would encourage the club to be a hub for the community.”
“It has been a fantastic day and experience for all of the students. They have worked so hard on this project for a good eight weeks now and they came so close to advancing to the next round. Their idea was well thought out and they came up against five other schools, all with excellent ideas of their own, and it was a tight call for the judges to make.
“We are proud of how far they have come and I am sure they will take a lot away from the experience of planning and pitching a business proposal.”
The five students representing Rovers pitched their idea a panel of judges including Premier League director of communications Emma Wilkinson and Sam Shave from Sport Relief, who officially support the Enterprise Challenge.
Vale teacher Neil Meile praised the students for their efforts.
He said: “They put hours of work and preparation into their idea and presentation, all in their own time after school. We are all really proud of how well they’ve done and how much they have developed as confident young people from this challenge.”
“The students came up with their own idea of transforming the family into a community stand to attract people form all faiths in the area. In both rounds this idea was different to other schools and put them in with a huge chance winning the regional play-off.
“The students were well rehearsed and ready for the presentation which was delivered in front of five judges, and five other schools. They were un-phased and gave the presentation in a truly remarkable professional manner. They were outstanding in every aspect of the challenge. Unfortunately they narrowly missed out on winning the play off and advancing to the next stage, but have learnt so much and had a fantastic experience from taking part.”