Blackburn Rovers Community Trust provided Eissa with a sense of belonging

“I feel I belong here, and I belong in Blackburn.”

Emotional and strong words from Eissa as he explained how crucial of a role Blackburn Rovers Community Trust has played in both his and his family’s life.

Ten years ago, Eissa arrived in England from Myanmar and had to claim Asylum, after taking the brave decision to leave his homeland due to being dangerous for him and his family.

Eissa and his family were alone in new surroundings, with little to no support, living in the Blackburn with Darwen area.

However, he started to lay the foundations for a new beginning when he attended a DARE session for advice, and he met Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s Community Inclusion Manager, Ilyas Patel.

Ilyas introduced Eissa to various projects suitable for him at the Community Trust, including the Community Ambassadors programme and Men in Sheds.

 Eissa said: “Blackburn Rovers Community Trust really helped me when I first moved here.”

“I met new people, and I was able to socialise too. My English at the time wasn’t very good at all, but by attending various sessions, my communication skills improved.

“I moved to England from Myanmar, and it wasn’t safe. Initially I wasn’t allowed to work when I first moved to England, so I used to volunteer and help out with the DARE project.

“I volunteered on various programmes, and it helped me stay busy but also support the local community too.

“To this day I still volunteer, and I thoroughly enjoy it.”

Eissa’s journey with Blackburn Rovers continued, and soon enough, once he was allowed to work, he worked as a matchday steward at Ewood Park.

Now a full-time taxi driver, Eissa’s journey has been a difficult one, but he is now settled in the area with his family, and he is enjoying life.

He continued: “I always feel so welcome when I come to Blackburn Rovers. I now have a full-time job too.

“I was a very reserved person, I never spoke to people, but Blackburn Rovers Community Trust has helped me feel so much.

“I was a bit scared to talk but I am not anymore, I feel very confident, and the Men in Sheds group helped me with that as we would do things together. I don’t feel like a stranger from another country, I feel like I belong to Blackburn.”

Eissa volunteers to help Blackburn Rovers Community Trust on a consistent basis.