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Special surprises for community heroes as Club Doncaster Foundation get involved in the EFL Community Weekend campaign

20 January 2024

Four participants from a number of Foundation led projects were celebrated as ‘Community Heroes’ at the Doncaster Rovers v Newport game last weekend. 

Anna McWade, Owen Pawson, Oliver Adams and Dylan Rousso spent the afternoon at the Eco-Power Stadium, where they enjoyed a meal in hospitality prior to the game. 

All four community heroes were invited pitch side for the start of the warm up, where they were involved in a full squad photo with the Rovers players, before being photographed pitch side in the style of a new player signing for the club.

Community heroes then got to watch the games from the stands, while taking part in a special presentation during half time proceedings, with each hero receiving a 23/24 signed Rovers shirt, presented by former Rovers striker, Chris Brown.

The ‘Community Heroes’ come as a result of the first ever EFL Community Weekend, with clubs across the EFL, highlighting and rewarding the tireless work of staff and volunteers from Club Community Organisations (CCOs).

Anna has been an attendee of the community based Fit Rovers project since 2023 and as a new resident within Doncaster, utilised the opportunity of the course to engage with other local women and babies to create a new friendship group. She has since become a valuable member and supports future courses as well as accessing other Foundation provision.

Volunteering her time, she has supported countless mothers and babies in their Fit Rovers Families journey and played an integral role in the organisation and delivery of the highly successful celebration event last year at the Savoy Cinema in Doncaster.

She has since gone on to become a vital member of the Fit Rovers Committee, working alongside health and wellbeing staff to shape and create future provision for new and regular participants.

Both Owen and Oliver were also chosen due to their commitment within Club Doncaster Sports College and the student council. Last December, both students were involved in organising the donation of Christmas hampers and individual presents to those in need within the local community. 

Along with other members of the student council, they collected and wrapped items for the hampers, delivering the hampers and presents, in person, to both the ‘Dunelm delivery joy appeal’ and Benton House nursing home. The students demonstrated great attitude in giving back to the local community.

Dylan has been involved in the Sporting Futures programme recently, which gives participants an insight into different careers in and around a football club. Each week, he’s pushed himself out of his comfort zone, doing a range of jobs and task, helping to develop his social and life skills. 

He’s received a lot of extremely positive feedback from each department he’s worked with and taken the lead on all the activities that have been delivered to the group. 

As a result of the development of his skills, he confidently planned and delivered a fun sessions with children attending the HAF holiday camps at the beginning of the year. He’s now been offered voluntary and casual work with the Foundation, due to his commitment to coaching.

Owen, spoke of his day and being chosen as a community hero: "Last Saturday was a really good experience for me and my guest. I got to talk to people about what I've done for the community, including helping children and the elderly during christmas time.

Being a Community Hero is an honour as it shows that my efforts have been noticed around the community of Doncaster and I'm looking to do plenty more in the coming future."

CEO John Davis, said: “The EFL Community Heroes weekend gives us an opportunity to shine a light on the phenomenal efforts and contributions made by our team of volunteers and supporters across Doncaster. 

“Without the efforts of Anna, Owen, Oliver and Dylan, our programmes couldn’t operate as they do and we’re delighted they got centre stage on Saturday.”

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Special surprises for community heroes as Club Doncaster Foundation get involved in the EFL Community Weekend campaign