Blackburn United Girls Football team were the winners of the BAE Systems supported Youth Leadership Award at the 2017 Fusion Awards.

Winners of the annual awards were announced at a glittering ceremony on Saturday May 13 at King George’s Hall, Blackburn.
Blackburn United Girls have been making huge strides in encouraging more young people to get involved in sport. 
The football team was established in the summer of 2014 when a group of girls approached Afira Mulla to enquire about football for Asian girls. 
Since then the group has helped to address many stigmas and myths about Asian girls, breakdown cultural barriers and introduce young women to sport and fitness.
It has also provided confidence and leadership skills and helped develop the young women’s social and personal skills. 
The group is run by volunteers and among other achievements three girls have qualified as Level 1 referees. 

The girl’s team made history for the club by becoming the first girls’ team to play a competitive match. They also hosted the clubs Annual Presentation Evening in front of over 300 people.

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The Girls are pictures with Emma Cornwall, Head of Manufacturing Capability at BAE Systems and ITV host Sam Ali Khan.

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Speaking on stage, Blackburn United Girls said, "We would like to thank everyone for recognising us as young leaders. The club has given us the opportunity to further ourselves as coaches, referees, young leaders and ambassadors for young Muslim girls in sports. 
"We are setting new boundaries in Muslim communities to allow young Muslim women like ourselves to experience sport and progress further in what still is a man's world."

A statement form BAE Systems read, "Our business has always celebrated people who are not afraid to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries to tackle challenges whether they face our business or our community.

"The Fusion Awards shares these values and the Youth Leadership Award which we sponsor throws a spotlight on those young people who making a positive difference in their communities by pushing their own boundaries.

"We are proud to be supporting the awards and look forward to reading the inspiring stories of what young people are doing to make life better for the places we live, work and play."