The excellent work of Rochdale AFC Community Trust was officially recognised this last week, as the charity were announced as winners in the Community Initiative of the Season category at the 2022 Armstrong Projects North West Football Awards.
It is the largest and most prestigious football awards ceremony in the North West, which sees over 500 guests come together to celebrate the regions brightest and best in the game, paying tribute to and recognising those who have achieved on and off the field.
Rochdale AFC Community Trust were finalists in the hotly contested Community Initiative of the season category, where they beat of competition from Liverpool Foundation, Everton in the Community, Wigan Athletic Community Trust, Preston North End Community & Education Trust and Burnley FC in the Community.
Dale’s entry focused on ‘The One Stop Bus’ – a project which saw an end-of-life school bus donated by Transport For Greater Manchester transformed into a food pantry and learning space at the Crown Oil Arena, serving the community throughout the week and enhancing the matchday experience.
With support from Action Together, Premier League Fans Fund, and Arnold Clark as well as volunteers, club and community staff, volunteers and the players of Rochdale AFC, The Bus has helped the charity have a huge impact on a variety of people across the 2021/22 season.
“We are absolutely delighted to win this award,” commented Community Director Ryan Bradley.
“The One Stop Bus is by far the most innovative project we have ever undertaken but with a clear vision, support of a number of partners and a lot of hard work we have a space that really makes a difference to the community of Rochdale.
“We have more plans in store – a new welfare and advice service starts next week as well as a winter food project and we have recently sent parts from the engine to Africa to repair a similar model school bus still in use over there – you could say the bus is now serving communities internationally!”
Rochdale AFC Community Trust were represented at the awards ceremony by trustees and staff from both the club and charity at a star-studded ceremony and were presented their award from Professional Football Association CEO Maheta Molango.
More than 500 guests attended the black-tie event, which was hosted by broadcaster, Eilidh Barbour, at The Point at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, which celebrated and honoured the stars of the 2021/22 season.
Winners were named in eight player categories, as well as in a raft of other honours – including the highly sought-after Moment of the Season, as voted for by fans from around the world.
After an intensely fought season and much deliberation from the judges, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola was awarded the coveted Manager of the Season title, for winning the Premier League title, whilst Anthony Gordon, who helped to keep Everton in the Premier League, won The Athletic Rising Star of the Season, as voted for by the fans. A staggering 108,000 fan votes were received for the Player of the Season categories.
Kevin de Bruyne won Premier League Player of the Season, with the Lionesses being handed the Billy Seymour Impact Award, which recognises those who have made a significant positive impact on football, for their amazing Euro win this summer and the legacy that has followed.
The Lifetime Achievement accolade was awarded jointly to the recently retired Ellen White and Jill Scott MBE for their achievements throughout their careers for clubs and country and their significant contribution to the growth of women’s football.