Blackburn Rovers have donated an array of used and surplus kit to Al Dana Sports Club in Idlib, Syria.

The project in partnership with the Ummah Welfare Trust saw 163 items of clothing make the 2,800 miles plus voyage to the Middle East.

After being approached to offer his input, Blackburn Rovers Community Trust trustee Uwais Patel suggested that the scheme’s destination ought to be the hardship nation of Syria, in a bid to provide a poverty-stricken community with some essential clothing.

The bulk of the donation came from surplus stock previously presented by the club to the Community Trust for it to distribute to worthy causes such as this. 

Some of the items included were retro Rovers shirts dating back to the 1996/97 season, previous U23 strips and training attire.

Subsequently, Patel contacted  Ummah Welfare Trust to seek the charity’s assistance with carrying out the programme.

Delving into the project further, Patel said: “Previously our spare kit was just stored away, so we decided we wanted to give something back.

“We needed to show that our duty of care isn’t just to Blackburn Rovers supporters. We’re so much more than just a football club, we care about our local community and many others.

“Football is about putting smiles on people’s faces and whilst this isn’t necessarily football related, we’ve definitely managed to do so.

“Rather than simply disposing our kit, we’ve now made a commitment that we’ll continue to donate any spare items to suffering countries.”

UWT, which was formed in 2001 with the aim of alleviating worldwide poverty, has sent clothing and aid to Syria for three years, and with the bonus of being based locally, Patel explained that it was a natural fit for all parties.

“We were always going to work with a nearby charity, they ticked all the boxes,” said Patel.

“It was massively important that we kept everything in the local community, everything should stay in Blackburn.”

Whilst the scheme has involved a period of intense planning and preparation, the response shown from both the Syrian recipients and the wider community has made it all worthwhile.

Patel added: “We’ve had a really positive response, particularly from the Muslim community. Since we got the confirmation earlier this month, the kids have been delighted with the kit.

“It’s a cause that’s very close to my heart. It’s devastating to seeing them [people in poverty] suffering daily.

"I’m proud to have made even a small contribution, especially because it’s come with Rovers – the club I’ve supported since I was a child.

“Our aim now is to continue to strengthen our relationship with Ummah Welfare Trust and other local charities.

“The UWT has a strong connection with Myanmar [formerly known as Burma], that’s likely to be the next destination for this initiative.”

A spokesman for Al Dana Sports Club said: "We are a town team who play football in north west Syria and we would like to thank Ummah Welfare Trust and Blackburn Rovers for supporting us with these sportswear items."

By Ryan Booth