Adama Traore and Shannie Jennings have been named Wolves’ PFA Community Champions for the 2019/20 season in recognition of their support for Wolves Foundation and the club’s projects in the local community.
Traore received the award for the men’s team and Jennings for Wolves Women after it was decided they went above and beyond in their support of the club’s charity as part of the programme of activities delivered last season.
Both players are now looking forward and aiming for success with their respective teams for the new campaign, but with such a short turnaround between seasons due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they do so on the back of just receiving this recognition for their efforts over the previous 12 months.
Flying winger Traore, also the holder of the Foundation’s Community Player of the Year award, is always very much engaged with the charity’s activities and adds real value to the programme sand the participants that he meets.
Among the highlights from his impact were a 90-minute session he spent telling his story and answering questions from 16 and 17-year-olds enrolled on the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, and supporting three brothers in Wolves Academy in how to deal with barriers to their football centred around their faith.
On another occasion, after receiving a letter from a junior supporter asking him to play football and meet his new pet dog in the school holidays, Traore invited young Reid to the Compton Park training ground for a personal coaching session followed by a tour of the facility.
Jennings is regarded as a tough tackling midfielder for the Wolves Women team, and away from the pitch has become known as a really positive role model for girls football participants.
She has attended the Foundation’s Wildcats sessions where she works with young players and gives insight into her experiences in football as well as providing support and guidance to older players as well.
Jennings is also always a willing participant in club events such as the Fan Park on a matchday, or kit launches, where she is always an engaging presence and happy to chat at length to supporters.
Her dedication to the community is also reflected in her ‘day job’, working as a Project Manager for the NHS, and during the Covid-19 pandemic she has been redeployed to initially distribute PPE to protect staff and patients in hospitals and care homes, and then manage the swabbing team for Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust.
“Receiving this PFA award was very unexpected and it was a really nice surprise,” says Jennings.
“To be honest, I don’t really need the recognition as the activities I have been involved in just feel normal and I enjoy showing my support.
“Getting involved in projects with Wolves and the Foundation is great and I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to promote women’s football.
“I think the sport is growing all the time and becoming more and more of a presence so it is important that we continue to get the message out there as much as we can.
“In terms of my job with the NHS, it has certainly been a very challenging and demanding few months which has been both physically and mentally draining.
“It has been a tough time, but it is fantastic how people have come together to show their support of the work of the NHS, and it is rewarding to feel that we have managed to do something positive in such a difficult situation to help people during the pandemic.”
Both players are now looking forward to the football that lies ahead, with Traore returning on Sunday to West Ham and the scene of his first Wolves goal, and Jennings hopefully soon free of the injury which has delayed her contribution to Wolves Women’s big kick-off.
Head of Wolves Foundation Will Clowes added: “We would all like to congratulate Adama and Shannie on behalf of Wolves Foundation and the PFA, and I think the fact that both don’t really feel they deserve the recognition is testament to the attitude they have to supporting their local community.
“They have an enormously positive impact on our participants when they get involved in Foundation activities, and represent themselves and Wolves with real distinction, but to them it just feels normal and they enjoy interacting with supporters.
“We are very fortunate at the Foundation to call on some great support from both male and female Wolves players, and Adama and Shannie are a reflection of the club’s strong desire positively impact on the lives of people out in the community.”